Forget Best Practice, Think Always Of Learning Next Practice

Often you hear the request made: “Can you give us a best practice snapshot; we would like to get a sense of where we are”.

The trouble with best practice is you are looking at someone else’s practices and these are highly individual, made up of different groups of methodologies, processes, rules, theories, values, and concepts. These together have provided that specific company a level of success that others – mostly competitors – begin to notice.

There is no such thing as what they have it, you need to copy and have the same.

We all get caught up in best practices, you can’t simply pick up and plug and play, as one organization’s initiative is never the same set of conditions or positioning that others can simply copy.

We desire the “one-size fits all” as a comfort blanket, it makes our innovation lives easier. Many consultants love this request, as they do not need to apply the real skills of discernment, subject matter expertise, and the difficult challenge of peeling away a client’s practice to understand how they can rebuild them to become unique, into a leading practice that cannot be copied.

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Innovation has the power to unlock the Energy Transition

The energy shifts undergoing in the energy transitions today are allowing real innovation opportunities when you survey the innovation landscape.

There is complexity in all the energy transitions going on. Still, it is the ones that can see the possibilities and ‘energize’ through new innovative solutions that hold the future in our hands to capitalize upon as fast as we can..

All we can predict is that the pace of innovation and energy transition will speed and then scale up to meet the needs of a world rapidly wanting to decarbonize, and the companies that are the investors in innovation will be the best placed to capitalize on this.

During the next ten to twenty years, we are in a race to transform our energy systems, one that moves from fossil fuel reliant to clean fuels based on renewable energy. Innovation is the catalyst for this. Continue reading

Sharply accelerating clean energy innovation

Today the International Energy Agency (IRA) released a long-awaited update on where innovation needs to be in the energy transition we are undergoing.

At their own admission, it has been three years since they (IEA) released its last Energy Technology Perspective (ETP) report. Although they argue they have been reflecting on the critical technology challenges, it is way overdue.

In this new report, “Energy Technology perspective: Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation” released today, 2nd July 2020, they have developed some improved modeling tools to bring a higher capacity to answer key technology questions in greater detail. This is good news.

IEA will further follow up later this year with a flagship ETP 2020 publication later in the year to keep a tighter and more consistent focus on the role and need of innovation to accelerate clean energy transitions.

They, the IEA are planning an IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit really soon to convene ministers and CEO’s to the aim of driving economic development by this more robust focus on clean, resilient, and inclusive energy systems. Continue reading

Solutions for Energy do need to be end-to-end and highly innovative

It is not just replacing energy sources; it is all about solution renewal end-to-end and that needs innovation
Within the energy transition, we must not lose sight of the final consumer. The final consumer of energy is going to be the ultimate arbitrator.

As we focus on the broader aspects of “energy transition” by re-engineering much of the existing infrastructure to create smart grids, provide storage, solar for individual homes, and the ability to introduce e-mobility across the transport sector we must keep the consumer always in mind. Is the alternative, those new solution more attractive?

As we seek to make a change in any energy supply or solution, we need to continually ask those basic questions innovators should always do. Has what we are offering greater utility and flexibility? Is the alternative more connected, more informative, and helpful? Does it provide better value than the existing solution? Simply, what is in it for me?

These are the connecting points to the end-user. They “feel” the value of the energy transition in benefit; in energy security, increased choices, and greater involvement in handling their own energy costs and local energy design choices, they see the “effect of change.”

The nature of the energy landscape will require the transformation of businesses, the push to find and develop new market dynamics and embrace government policy and regulations in an orderly and planned way. Still, above all, it needs to offer value, appeals, and that “compelling” reason to make a change.

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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