25.07.2020

Speculative Models for the Present

X:

Y:

P[05]Electric Cloud

Location

London [UK]

Year

2016 - 2017

Team

Tomás Clavijo
Jose do Nascimento Neto
Anna Ance Rusova
Clementine Song
Tida Urramporn

Output

Business model
Strategic road map

Looking at the

Energy market

Through the lense of

Semiotics
Strategic foresight
Scenario planning
Data modeling

In the context of

Smart device adoption
Energy market decentralisation
Prosumerism

To generate

Human-centered energy services
Responsible consumption patterns

UAL provided me and my fellow students the opportunity to work on an innovation brief for EDF Energy.

Over the course of the project, we use scenario planning to inform a potential strategic repositioning of the company and developed a clear vision of where and why it should move, an an access point to approach the transition.

Among other competing groups, we pitched the proposal at an EDF hosted event on June 2016. After negotiations, EDF made a final decision to acquire the intellectual property of our work.

C[01]Context

Strategic reports at the time [2015] were making special emphasis on how the combined disruption of data technologies and decentralised sustainable energy production and storage systems would favour a progressive switch to ‘prosumerism’ in the energy market.

This is not necessarily in your best interest when you are the biggest central producer/provider in Europe.

On top of this, the ‘Big Four’ electric companies in the UK were losing their market share in favor of new actors that were perceived as more sustainable and trustworthy.

It is harder to rely exclusively on sustainable energy when you operate at this scale.

C[02]The Brief

EDF provided a brief with a set of apparently unconnected problems concerning their public image and their perception among customers. Among them:

[1]

Lack of an emotional attachment of customers with their brand.

[2]

Lack of interaction with clients apart from billing, payment and technical failure.

[3]

Lack of visibility as electricity is not tangible, not visible and taken for granted.

C[03]Our Insightful Lecture

[1]
Electricity services are a representation of the physical infrastructure that enables its production and delivery.

EDF services, billing and communications are a representation of the electric grid, not its users.

[2]
Electricity is a network of buildings and at this moment the household is its basic unit.

People just happen to be linked to their household through ownership or other contractual agreement.

[3]
A household is not representative of nuclear family anymore, and maybe it never was.

Alternative family structures emerge as flat sharing becomes the faster growing occupational model in England.

c[04]An Alternative Visualisation Model

Sensing infrastructures and data modeling technologies hold the potential to create an alternative visualisation model of the energy network, one where individuals [and not buildings] are the basic unit.

What other basic service was developed entirely around the household till two decades ago?

The telephone.

C[04]From energy as commodity to energy as value

To develop the full potential of this transition, a semiotic switch from energy as a commodity to energy as value, must occur. This implies the perception of energy, not as a perishable good but as a strategic personal asset, and the conceptualisation of a world where prosumers can buy, sell, share, save, store, invest in and generate social and capital value from energy.

Under this new semiotic regime, energy companies would develop a parallel role, not necessarily as producer/provider, but as managers and traders in energy exchange networks.

In a decentralized production scenario, the question is not who is providing the energy but who is managing the exchange platform.

Electric Cloud provided a strategy for EDF to adopt an ambivalent strategic position that would help them thrive in both a centralised or decentralised scenario.