Exploring the Energy Transition Fitness Landscapes – opening thoughts on Hydrogen

I am have been struggling with the Hydrogen Story. It is tough to relate to something where the realization may take 40 years to move from ambition to achievement. I get it that delivering Hydrogen is the vital piece of the decarbonizing of the world by 2050, yet it does seem a long, hard road to travel.

Hydrogen is undoubtedly becoming the big agenda ticket within any Energy Transition. It is the promise of being a central pillar for many parts of the world to achieve their targets of zero carbon by mid-century.

Hydrogen seems to holds, it seems, such a promise, but it is nearly all to do. There is so much to validate, prove, and certainly scale. We have some exciting pilots, even some full commercial-scale projects. Still, these are not connected up as we do not yet have a Hydrogen infrastructure, market, or overarching policies to build into a movement that shifts the energy needle. Lots of desire and willingness, but we do need to really make “hydrogen happen.”

I needed to step back and reframe my thinking on Hydrogen and also to help me understand the bigger “beast” of the Energy Transition. There was so much “hype” and future promise I was not getting a real sense of order.

So I sort of came to a screeching halt on researching further. I needed to get back into my ‘comfort’ zone of evaluating all the hype. So I wanted to go back to a comfortable place to ground my thinking. I have been wondering, have we the right focus to this? Are we often missing the real context of the need for the energy transition? Are we building the capabilities, competencies, and capacity to scale Hydrogen? In my view, we lack a specific focus. Opinions are varied, diverse, and in many cases, merely opportunistic. We need to a different level of strategic fitness

Applying Fitness Landscapes to the Energy Transition. Here in this post, I want to briefly introduce some thinking around navigating a complex landscape that the Energy Transition demands. I have taken Hydrogen as my opening exploration to traverse this landscape. Continue reading

Seeing the Energy Transition in Different Horizons and Innovative Ways

The majority of my recent work has been in investigating and building a comprehensive understanding of the #energytransition.

It is, to say at the very least, complex and challenging, but for me, satisfying and rewarding. Let me briefly explain how I am going about this and why. Why am I seeing the energy transition in different horizons and innovative ways?

My research ‘intensity’ (If I can call it that) had to become well structured, and I turned to some of my favorite, perhaps old fashion tools to capture my learning and give me my points of reference.

Included in this structured approach is different tools to capture and translate my progress. I have been building out extensive energy mind maps, constructing a dedicated posting site set up under “innovating4energy- a transition in all our lives” to ‘reflect’ some of my learnings and then to test that translation of my thinking, hopefully for others to relate too. Then building up the content within Microsoft’s One Note. Finally, lots and lots of saved files in an extensive folder on “the energy transition”.

The Energy Transition and building the new Smarter Infrastructure and Systems is a fascinating area within my present focus and future work. Here is why and how I am going about it:

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A new normal is upon us, the paradigm shift that will change the World.

There is a real increasing pressure to totally reinvent my business. The past business paradigm of reaching out, providing value, and making money is still there. Still, it is how we all undergo the changes needed in a radically different set of economic circumstances.

We all are seeing the world in a very different light, in some ways a very harsh one, where the old normals are breaking down. The change in our world is even a little scary, it actually is giving me a little “angst.” I need to put some reorder into my world.

Firstly as many of you know, I have been investing my time in growing my understanding, expertise, and thinking over three “core” topics. My Innovation intent has been central to this for twenty years, but this has ‘funneled down’ into recognizing the value of ecosystems as the business design for innovation to thrive and deliver more significant value creation. In the past two-plus years, the whole Energy Transition has been my vehicle to apply my innovation learning and ecosystem thinking.

We must hold on to much of what we have, but we really will be forced to abandon so much of our accepted norm.

My search or questioning is not about abandoning what I have invested over these years, it is how can I redirect it. To shift its position to actively contribute in new ways, to adapt and adjust to the ‘new normal’ we all must seriously recognize is coming towards us.

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Focusing on moving from disorder in today’s world

To borrow and adapt a phrase from F. Scott Fitzgerald and those over at Cognitive Edge:The test of (complex adaptive) intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

I wanted to go back to one of my favorite frameworks, the Cynefin framework for partly thinking through the “known-unknown-unknowable” in our present world. We are seemingly more in the “unknown or unknowable” at present, perhaps in a world of disorder, in our understanding and actions relating to this coronavirus, a global pandemic.

The Cynefin framework is from Dave Snowden through Cognitive Edge. The positioning of Cognitive Edge is “making sense of complexity in order to act.”

I start by suggesting we need to find ways to navigate ourselves back into some (new) order; to stabilize the chaos we are in. What we first need to do is make sense of what is going on around us, we need to determine what actions to take and the level of action, resource and support each part needs. We need to constantly ask: is it clear, complicated, complex, or chaotic, or even worse, highly confusing. The Cynefin framework significantly helps us to determine what particular parts we are dealing with, in the decisions needed. Continue reading

Working through the current disorder we find ourselves in

In times like these, we need to “unfreeze.” It is a necessary time where we need plenty of adaptive thinking on our needs to start thinking how we are going to emerge out of this “lockdown,” so many of us are in and apply our reasoning to literally “crank starting” the economy engine again.

Even if this is one month, two months, or longer, we need to become creative and innovative. We cannot be held in this “frozen state” for long without looking to become economically productive again. It may be in different ways, in new roles, or in transition until we have a higher “grip” of what we can achieve in a very volatile, challenging world.

If we remain in our present states, then what I suggest as a ‘frozen state’ remains, we default back to what we know, based more on repeating patterns, believing everything is orderly based on efficiency, effectiveness, and doing what is necessary to manage daily. Well it is not, we are in chaotic and unpredictable times.

This, regrettably, is simply not good enough in today’s world as it has changed so radically in these last few months. Continue reading

Seeking out knowledge that feeds our innovations

Knowledge and learning 3The more we embrace change and recognize innovation demands more of our time, the more we must seek out knowledge that ‘feeds’ innovation. And the more we ‘push’ for learning, the greater chance we have of thriving in a challenging world.

The expectation ‘bar’ needs to be raised from those practicing innovation, I feel the constant need is for those working within innovation; they have this real need to raise their game significantly. Innovation needs organizing but it also needs a better understanding of its contributing parts.

Learning and Education should always start with us. Continue reading

Everything is changing faster- can we respond differently in our Innovation work?

Suddenly we are stopped from traveling; we are advised to work from home to keep us safe from this coronavirus and catching it.  We have the choice of “self-imposed” or “company-imposed” time at home.

Time takes on a different meaning; we are cutting out those (unproductive) meetings, the train, car, and flight times, and we have the luxury to do what?

Well, it is offering us that luxury of actually having time to think and reflect. Now that is dangerous as it takes us off our ‘chosen’ treadmill of pursuit.

I was pondering some thoughts around the quest for growth, the demands for change, and the need to become nimble, agile, and more dynamic in what we do. We crowd out our days and never stop to reflect.

So I started to think a little more. Now that can be dangerous, and I am not too sure it gave me answers, just more questions. My starting point was the endless journey of innovation. Continue reading