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Energyzers - UPDATED Feb 10th

Our idea envisions a platform aiming to shape the available information on Renewable Energy Community projects and put together interested parties. The goal is to propitiate the disruption of the actual energy model and work towards community-backed and local renewable energy projects.

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
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Objectives

- Connect the pro-RE communities around the world;
- Put together the available sources of information, financing and companies to ease the access of communities to RE projects;
- Raise awareness on renewable energy (RE) projects.

Idea UPDATED February 6th

Information exists, resources are available and people are willing to change the way they use energy -and who manages it-. However, there is a lack of order. We aim to become “the Google for RE projects”.
It is hard for people/communities around the world to access to reliable information and advice to raise curiosity and back their decisions.

The Energyze project aims to create a center of information and resources on renewable energy projects backed by a community of volunteers.

Key players UPDATED February 8th

Communities - “Lightbulbs”.
Particulars and communities of all kinds (neighborhoods, families, schools,...) that are interested into green and or community initiatives.
Networks refer to groups of people that share an interest (schools, professional networks, universities, unions, NGOs, associations, clubs, religious groups, ...) while  Drivers refer to network members that do not have decision power but are key to spread the message (e.g. kids).  

Ambassadors - “Wires”.
They have the willingness and put the fieldwork. Their role is critical since they will be the first contact of potential go-green communities and also the responsible of spreading the word online and offline.
Examples of Ambassador are volunteers in the area (e.g RE cooperative members, AmeriCorps,Peace Corps volunteers, OpenIDEO community, in country social based enterprises e.g WindAid-Peru etc.) These Ambassadors will help the assigned Community step by step through the entire process.

* Please refer to Transferwise ambassador's program for inspiration (https://transferwise.typeform.com/to/cjjq24)

Angels - “Batteries”.
They have the specific knowledge and they commit to be the last step of the value chain towards communities.  

Example of possible Angels are energy consultants, engineers, professionals, technicians, opinion leaders, social innovators or professors to mention some. Retired professionals are also more than welcome to join.
They would volunteer and their driving motivation -among others- will be to be part or a disruptive movement by putting their knowledge to disposition of other human beings who share passion and concerns. Also, online discussion groups of Angels would be created and used as a channel for share information, thoughts and experiences with the other Angels and learn (for instance a Google Group or Facebook Group).

Platform and flow UPDATED February 8th
[Please see Usermap in the images carousel for more detail. Usermap's update: February 8th].

The project will pivot an online platform with an informative and a application function. Also, there will be a private Customer Relationship Management tool [ CRM] for Ambassadors and Angels [read further for more details].

Flow  [Please see Flowchart in the images carousel for more detail]

1 ONLINE - Communities will find case studies, posts, infographics, toolkits and all kind of resources [details are not defined yet].

The information there will give answer to their very first curiosity on “going green” or learning about the benefits of going green as a community.

1 OFFLINE - Offline Ambassadors, that are connected somehow to Networks -or that can access them easily- will detect common necessities to the local Communities and get in touch with the Key members of the Networks (teachers, parents, experts, opinion leaders,...).
Local Ambassador, altogether with Network Key members will held meetings / meetups / discussions where he/she will use tangible toolkits to spread the word and raise curiosity among members [See UX map and Jennie Braunstein's comment for more details on a particular School scenario]. 

2 ONLINE - Once the particulars have some information and interest, they will request the help from Energyzers by filling up the form. Once they fill this form, the data will be plugged into a CRM that will determine who are the most suitable Ambassador based on the criteria / questions in this document

2 OFFLINE - Toolkits -and networking- will allow Community members to get in touch with the local Ambassador that will help them digging further on their curiosities or needs. A new Toolkit is needed here to help Communities to understand their needs and possibilities and define better the project.

3 ONLINE - The Ambassadors that meet the criteria will receive a request from a Community and will accept it or reject it. Once an Ambassador accepts a request, the CRM will make such Community request no longer available to the other Ambassadors.


3 OFFLINE - [Go to Step 4]. 

4 - The Ambassador will work with the Community -online or offline- using his/her knowledge with the objective to make the information as filtered, complete and understandable as possible.

This work is crucial since he/she will be filtering the project while introducing the information to the CRM in order to find most suitable potential Angels.

The information and criteria that Ambassadors will be asked to introduce in the platform -on behalf of his/her assigned Community- for the best-possible matching with Angels are (tentatively) in this document

- Again, once the information is uploaded to the CRM, requests will be sent to the Angels who might accept or reject proposed projects. The particularity in here is that besides the filtering automatization, Angels will be in touch with Ambassadors for a better flow of information and the understanding of the project.

After the acceptance of the Angel, both the Community, the Ambassador and the Angel will begin their conversations. From that point on, different recommendations and methodologies will be followed by the Angels with their assigned Communities. The recommendations will come in a particular basis from the Angels and aliens from Energyzers.

6 - During the process of assessment, Communities, Angels and Ambassadors will receive weekly/bi-weekly communications asking for feedback and thoughts -some sort of follow-up diary. This will be useful to maintain the spark and also to get rough materials for the development of a case study.

7 - Final recommendations report is written by the Angel and sent to the Community and Ambassador. This report will suggest which companies or projects are more suitable to that particular community to join. Also they will give detail on best funding options.

Once the recommendations report by the Angel is written and delivered, both Angel and Ambassadors will be asked to “make them available again” in the CRM so that they can be assigned to new projects again.
At the same time, the Communities will be asked to rate their Ambassadors and Angels [scale and variables need to be defined].


Pain points - Need to dig further UPDATED February 6th (answers to previous questions are answered and included along the updated post).

  • Communication strategy needs to be designed.
  • How can we increase the number of Ambassadors?
  • How can we increase the number and diversity of Angels within our CRM?
  • How do we attract the attention to Communities?
  • CRM technology needs to be defined


In order to gather more information and insights, please fill this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1tLoc7J05F11Uuz_JejQQvxOoWomqBlsVjVdcKjnj8T8/viewform?usp=send_form 

We welcome your feedback. 


About the team
We are an international team (Europe and America working together) eager to hear from the OpenIDEO community, refine upon their valuable insights and make this project happen. 

About the idea
After some interesting information share from the teams participating in the original ideas and comments posted, we decided to combine efforts to come up with a more powerful idea. Long emails, skype calls, interviews, research, meetup and parallel work are also seed of the posted idea.

The original ideas are “P2P Lending for Green Energy” (https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/ideas/using-p2p-micro-finance-for-powering-up-renewable-energy-more-evenly) and “Clean Energy Angels | Sister community...” (https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/ideas/clean-energy-angels) ideas. Also, inspiration from "Cooperative for green energy. A success story.": https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/research/catalan-cooperative-for-green-energy.

Acknowledgements
- Gijsbert Huijink - General Manager at SomEnergia;
- Enric Serrano - Cooperative member at SomEnergia;
- Jean Claude Rodríguez-Ferrera - Puddle co-founder;
- The Great San Francisco Area OpenIDEO Meetup (specially yo Ivett, Argus, Agnes, Christine, Jennie and Em).
- OpenIDEO’s community.
- Steven Mitchell - Mechanical Engineer at The Ocean Cleanup

How does your idea specifically help your community rapidly transition to renewables?

A) Facilitating the access to information to communities: showing them that “going green together” is possible and feasible. Also by showing that many communities around the world have similar concerns and motivations: They are not alone. B)Providing highly-skilled committed advice at no monetary price.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

- Information architecture experts. A proper structuring on the information on the projects and contact is key to make the Energy Angels project scalable. Specially Ambassadors will benefit on a well-structured information since their project filtering role will have a lot to do with crawling the data and find best analogous cases. - Web programmers. Private companies working pro-bono because of shared values (as happens with The Ocean Cleanup project). - Designers and story-tellers to create catching case studies and multimedia materials. - Communication strategists (and management at all levels).

Please indicate which type of energy is most relevant to this post:

  • My post doesn't mention a specific type of energy

This idea emerged from:

  • A Group Brainstorm

53 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Joan Cabré Puig
Team

Since universities might be good places in which to recruit Energyzer Ambassadors through organizing talks and workshops, it would be also interesting to reach agreements with such institutions in order to incentivate students to join the cause. An example of that would come in form of tuition fee discounts or extra course credits (just as if you picked an optative subject) that would be granted once a student proves that his ambassadorship helped a community towards its green goal.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Joan.
Reading your comment I thought of AmeriCorps which is a program of community service for post grads in the USA. (similar to the idea of Peace Corps). Maybe Energizers can engage with AmeriCorps in the US? They currently have an Environmental Stewardship Program in place. http://www.nationalservice.gov/focus-areas/environmental-stewardship Is there a program like this in Spain?

Perhaps Energizers develops into it's own Corps?

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
Team

Definitely both University and Americorps are networks that we are going to need to spread the word, Again, the platform relies on the people and volunteers, so everybody is welcome (Specially those with proven experience and track in the field!)

Thank you Joan and Bettina for the insights

Photo of Kendall Anderson
Team

In regards to the University network, the AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) has a mission to catalyze higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation.
They led a collaborative effort that resulted in development of a standardized self-reporting system called STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System), where universities measure their sustainability progress over time, compare with other universities around the world, and achieve recognition for different levels of accomplishment.

I think the data provided by both websites are helpful resources to reference and potentially collaborate with the sustainable leaders in higher education!

Below is a link that shows a world map of participating universities and their sustainability rankings:
https://stars.aashe.org/institutions/data-displays/dashboard/

And, resources to help broaden perspectives on the future of sustainable campuses and provide tangible examples of implementation.
http://www.aashe.org/resources

Photo of Aaron Dolak
Team

This is a great idea. We had a person from salacity talk at our university:

http://www.solarcity.com/company/team

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Exciting developments! We'd love it if you might upload the last infographic (Clean Angels + P2P) as PDF here as it's quite an implant piece of the puzzle but can't be read easily at such a small size. You can upload it by going to Update Entry and scrolling to the Additional Files section (if you want to be really smart – once you've uploaded it, you can grab the link from the PDF icon which will appear on right of your main post once published – and link to it from anywhere on the text which describes your idea)

Regarding business modelling – perhaps you'd like to explore this further by trying out the Social Business Model Canvas http://www.socialbusinessmodelcanvas.com and seeing what opportunities arise. Even non-profit models need to be thought of in terms of economical sustainability and we think this might help strengthen your thoughts around this.

Go team! Keep up the great work.

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

PS. You might also want to choose a more evocative image for the first image in your gallery – so that when folks view your idea direct from the Refinement page, they're not confronted with a diagram – which feels like it might be more appropriate once they've read more about the idea.. Just a thought...

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
Team

We are working on that. Hope in less than 30h there's new and updated visual materials :)

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Way to go, team!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Loving your awesome visualised updates.

Photo of Andreas Karelas
Team

Great idea Carles! I wonder how we might be able to use this tool with the communities we work with. Any suggestions? Check out our campaign page and let me know at https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/refinement/a-revolving-fund-for-solar-energy

Thanks!
Andreas

Photo of Oriol Segarra
Team

Hi Andreas,

nice idea you are developing! It's great you can fund your solar projects without having to invest huge amounts of money. I think that your idea and ours can fit perfectly; Our goal is to gather together all the resources and community on Renewable energies, and be a place to connect necessities with opportunities. As an example for your platform: imagine a cooperative or a general community in SF wants to install solar panels, but they don't have enough money to finance he project and they don't want to ask traditional fundraising channels, they got into our platform and an ambassador assigns a member of Solarseedfund as an angel because you will be a good match for their necessities. From there, the action happens in your platform and while the solar panels are installed we write a success story on the case.

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
Team

Thanks Andreas.
In line with Oriol's comment, Energyzers will be the driver of traffic for your project -through Angels-.

Hope we can collaborate in the near future!!

Photo of Jennie Braunstein
Team

The below idea is from the San Francisco Open IDEO Meetup Team. Pictures to follow!

Our definition of the idea is a renewable energy ambassador distributes the energyzer platform into pre-existing communications (such as schools) in order to get the word about the platform to people without internet

The process kicks-off when a local ambassador reaches out to a school teacher to educate them about the Energyzer platform and distribute toolkits to their classroom.

Our persona is Paola, a 13 year old student in Le Paz, Bolivia. Paolo goes to school where she learns about renewable energy from a teacher, and is given a printed Energyzer toolkit to take home to her parents, who don't have access to internet.

Her parents are interested in the green information in the toolkit and are excited about the opportunity to start a green initiative in their local community. They reach out to the ambassador, thanks to their contact information provided in the Energyzer toolkit.

From here, the ambassador and local community members work hand in hand to better understand their green initiative idea. Once the ambassador has filtered their idea, they pass along information to the best angel to help catalyze this project.

At this point, the angel does research on this project and pulls on their expertise to come up with expert recommendations on how the community should best proceed with their initiative.

This process relies on a feedback loop that ensures the angel and ambassador are effectively working together to support the local community.

Our key success metric is the connection between the angel and the local community - and their recommendations being actionable next steps that the community can take.

By leveraging pre-existing networks like schools, we're confident that we can forge relationships between the Energyzer platform and users that may otherwise not have had access to the tools or expert advice they need.

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
Team

Thank you San Francisco Meetup Team for such a great job.

[pictures of the UX map are available already]

Photo of Joan Cabré Puig
Team

Hi guys, such a nice progress you have been making on your project.

I will try to address one of your pain points with a couple ideas I have in mind, regarding the Angel filtering criteria.

Once an Ambassador has elaborated a preliminary report of one specific community project, it should be submitted to a sort of internal platform. The preliminary report would be labelled with key words or elements (yeah, something like a hashtag). These key elements would not be randomly chosen characteristics by the Ambassador, but rather a set of predetermined tags that would be associated with Angels (e.g. areas of expertise, physical location, preferred size of a community, availability, etc.).

Therefore, once the project is submitted, an automatic selection of Angels would take place (the number of minimum criteria to be met by an Angel to be eligible for a project is yet to be determined).

I wonder whether it would be useful to create a coordinator position in order to assign Angels with similar "tags" to a project. The primary solution, of course, would be to create a team of angels for a specific project, but ultimately this would be conditional on the amount of pending projects that need an Angel to start their change.

What do you guys think?

Joan

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
Team

We have been discussing this issue. We will use a CRM with detailed variables to facilitate the filtering, very in line with your idea. Thanks!

Keep posted, in some hours we will have a new update ;) and will ask you to help us digging deeper on that.

Photo of Oriol Segarra
Team

Joan i haven't read your comment till now, man you are really into our mindset! Nice to see we didn't come up with something crazy out of our minds! thanks for your collaboration within the project!

Photo of Malachi
Team

Love this idea, and as an organization with a growing network of solar technology users we could probably benefit from programs like yours. What kind of criteria or characteristics are you looking for in the proposed projects or ideas who could be considered? Are there a range of possibilities for both small pilots and projects looking to scale impact?

Can't wait to see where this goes!

Photo of Oriol Segarra
Team

Hi Malachi! Thanks for the kind words! As you say I'm sure your organization can benefit from our platform, in the next 2 days we will be posting a survey to understand better our potential platform users, I invite you to please share among your connections and help us making this happening.

Regarding our platform, in which role do you think your organisation could fit better ? I think you could be a great Mentor to help create, grow and set up projects with the same idea as yours, but for other regions of the world (Africa, South America, Oceania...). What do you think?

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
Team

Thank you Malachi. As Oriol mentions, we are designing some alpha-forms to gather some data that help us with the filtering of possible Mentors and Ambassadors. We will share the link with you.

In the meanwhile, we would like to invite you to answer some of the questions referred as "Pain Points" in the post.

Thank you!

Photo of Laurie Shults
Team

Have you considered partnerships with Universities? A university with a strong sustainability or renewables program could create a practicum course where graduate students received course credit for being Ambassadors? This approach could begin to build important relationships with the possibility that some Ambassadors moving towards an Angel role as they move through their careers. It would also connect the project with a large network, particularly if the involved universities were strong research universities.

Photo of Shuting Zeng
Team

Hello Laurie,

Thanks for this great suggestion. Yes universities will potentially provide a great partnership with Energy Angels. I hope to share this idea on this challenge with you too, which advocates college participation in RE mentorship, etc. And I left a comment below too:

https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/ideas/glocalization-tapping-into-college-campuses-and-local-economies-to-jump-start-innovation

Let me know what you think. Thanks for the great feedback!

Photo of Oriol Segarra
Team

Hi Laure, thanks for the advice it could definitely be a possibility, but maybe in the near future when we have a better idea of the material we can use and offer to our users! Maybe a first partnership with them could be to have peer reviews from researchers, associate professors, PhD students, etc. of our material, as a way of proofing that all the techie stuff is correct.

Thanks for this idea :)

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congratulations on making it to the Renewable Energy Challenge Refinement list, Carles! We’re really excited about Energy Angels, especially because of the community focus and creativity and passion behind the team. We also love the prototyping you’ve been able to do already and can’t wait to see your idea in front of more people as you continue to test and iterate.

Looking ahead to the next 12 days of Refinement our team – along with the 11th Hour Project and the advisory panel – has a few questions that may help move your idea forward. First, we’d like you to dive a bit more into the community aspect. The collaboration element of Energy Angels is powerful, but we’d like to see a bit more information about how you’ll account for the sometimes drastic differences between communities as you connect them. What might the process of managing different issues look like? Maybe you could test a few out in the next week. Do you know of other people in the space who you might be able to have a conversation with in the next couple of days? It could be useful to seek feedback from those people to help form your next iteration.

We can’t wait to see this idea continue to develop. Check out more tips for Refinement on our blog: http://bit.ly/oi-refine and http://ideo.pn/rr-refinetips

Photo of Shuting Zeng
Team

Hi OpenIDEO thanks for the great questions! What I am thinking about now, is to design questions that can successfully match users to mentors. These questions will cover the users' environmental situation, technical/financial affordability, RE coverage in the community, and expectation for RE. It may take decent amount of research to figure out decent questions to ask. We look forward to your advice!

Photo of Oriol Segarra
Team

Thanks for selecting us for this refinement phase! As I commented to the group, my suggestion is to have several interviews with the different key users of our service to create a good concept, adapted to their necessities when challenging themselves with RE or projects in RE. Our platform can be the solution for those who one day think about how cool could be installing a solar panel but never go further that point because of a lack of guidance, filling these gaps with a good path to the goal could be a solution.
We're excited to hear from you with some feedback!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Way to go on the flourishing collaboration, folks!

Photo of Melissa Everett
Team

Some of these networks exist! For example, the states of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have programs that communities can join by pledging in various ways to increase their commitments to clean energy (and other sustainability practices), earn points toward mini-grants, access others who have taken the pledge to share technical assistance (and access knowledgeable staff) etc. See EnergizeCT.com, New York's Climate Smart Communities Program and Sustainable Jersey for very well designed, adaptive, programs that are showing results. Common themes include commitment, incentives, technical assistance, peer to peer support, success models, and a sense of shared possibility. All of these are government programs, and while very useful all of them are professionally run so there is a limit to the grassroots fervor that they encourage - but they are worth looking into for effective structures.

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

Hi Melissa,

Thank you for letting us know about these preexisting groups! We will definitely take a look at their model and see if they might be interested in partnering with us to take this world wide as well. Again, thank you for linking us these program! They will serve as great models for our program :).


Team- If you guys want to check out the links for Melissa's other suggested programs here they are...

NYCSCP- http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/50845.html

Sustainable Jersey- http://www.sustainablejersey.com/

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
Team

Thanks Melissa.

The quintessence of the project is to:
- (A) be a center of resources coming from the open community, and ;
- (B) collapse all the information and possibilities for communities to go green and help to assess how to do them -but not executing them.

The networks you mention are really great potential partners within the pool of assessment that Angels would give. Totally down for that!

The resources the networks you mention offer could indeed be an inspiration for our "learning site". However, we have to decide how to determine the content strategy and up to which extent will be the open community that decides or we will need more professional guidance.
How do you think we should tackle this content strategy approach?

Photo of Luis de Tord
Team

Hi Melissa, Carles and team!

Melissa, I think that the two networks you have mentioned are great examples of the way that this project might look like.

Answering Carles, I would say that as the idea of this project is quite clear, the information strategy should be as clear as posible. Therefore, I would first make a division of the different steps that these types of projects will have; from 'creating a Community' to actually 'installing the generators'going through 'certification' or 'technical documentation'. This strategic division will allow any user to access easily to posible solutions to problems he/she would be facing at each time. Also the community could have better access to information that might create a better understanding of Ambasadors recommendations and guidance.

Inside every separated step, I would also include examples of communities that have passed through different problems and the way they have solved them.

If you agree with this point of view, a list with diferent parts of the process should be made.

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
Team

Agree Luis.
How (through who) would you do it?

Photo of Oriol Segarra
Team

Really happy to see this. Totally Better Together than Never!

CHECK THE INTERACTION OF THE MOCK-UP HERE:
http://invis.io/NA22LVDMC

Photo of Oriol Segarra
Team

The Economist also thinks renewable are happening, the technology is ready and the people have to foster the movement.

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21639020-renewables-are-no-longer-fad-fact-life-supercharged-advances-power?frsc=dg%7Cc

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

Awesome mock-ups and so happy to see all of these collaborations together in one idea!

Photo of Joan Cabré Puig
Team

This is a nice, well-crafted proposal, and entails great potential benefits. However, there are some aspects in which I'd like to dig deeper.

Let's get to the point.

Regarding communities with limited Internet access:

- How can Ambassadors spread the word in an efficient way? Door by door informative cold-calling might be part of the solution, but it would be necessary to create some buzz around the social movement, that is, informative sessions at public places, where the core characteristics are explained (the role of the Ambassador and the Angel, how can they become one, etc.). It is important to gather some people and therefore identify the community, let everyone see everyone so they will know who might be onboard (if my neighbour or a friend of mine is in, I will be extra motivated to go green!). Furthermore, this identification will be necessary for the community to design a leader that becomes the single voice when it comes to speak with the Ambassador (and the Angel later on) to start the change.
Besides, the Ambassador(s) and the Angel(s) might need further involvement with those offline communities, since the word won't be spreading at the same speed as in online communities. Therefore, efforts to recruit Ambassadors should be doubled in these communities. Somehow, it would be also good to facilitate Internet access (in fact, Angels might include this in the development of a community plan in every community in the long run, as the online platform offers some features and a communication flow that creates a gap between offline and online communities.

- When a project is completed, angels should be able to receive some kind of feedback either via online or via the Ambassador. Even if it is a volunteer service, not every single recommendation from an Angel might be the most suitable one (and maybe it is not a competence/lack of skills issue, but just the fact of not being able to interact personally with the community, walk around the neighborhood, whatever!). So a feedback system might help to mitigate that risk and allows to redefine, if necessary, the set of skills that are demanded to future Angels who join.
Moreover, as projects grow and diversify, the experience and feedback from previous projects will generate a more efficient allocation of time and resources available.


I have some more ideas, I will keep you guys updated.

Great initiative, congratulations to everyone. Keep up the pace!

Photo of Oriol Segarra
Team

Hi Joan, I can't agree more with you in the first point. By chance today I watched this TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/alex_laskey_how_behavioral_science_can_lower_your_energy_bill#t-205142

I really think we are the ones to lead the energy change, and it seems clear that if our neighbors do it, we will likely think on do it too.

Regarding your second point; the best scenario would be a closed procedure that all angels have to stick with, each of them in their own particular ways, but all working in the same way when developing a project. Nevertheless a feedback form will help us a lot to improve, and I think is a great idea. THanks for your feedback.

May I ask what is your background and if you work in the energy field?

Cheers,

Oriol

Photo of Joan Cabré Puig
Team

Hi Oriol,

I am a recent Economics graduate (Universitat Pompeu Fabra). Not working in the energy field - actually, I work as an auditor, but hopefully I will switch to a new job soon in the consulting field.

--

Allow me to suggest another feature which it would be interesting to include on your online channel (in fact, you mentioned it in the description of the offline channel): success stories. A set of pictures, videos, interviews with community members, etc. that would show the entire process of transformation from the very beginning (that is, the moment they got in touch with Energy Angels), along with tips and recommendations. Communities in their early transitional stage would be delighted by seeing, in a visual way, how other communities have achieved their goals, thus willing to seriously commit to a change. This, in turn, would foster interaction between communities (via embedding social media instruments, as you guys mentioned).

Success stories are always attractive to people, and using them properly would mean a great deal in word spreading.

Cheers!

Photo of Shuting Zeng
Team

Hi Joan,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful input! They are all great suggestions. Let me try to explain what are the original ideas we have about ambassadors and mentors:

1) Ambassadors: When I asked an OpenIDEOer why he wanted to donate money , he said it is because he had some personal connections with people who can use his donation. Me as an international traveller/student/worker have made many international friends, and hope to keep in touch with my international friends in a more meaningful way besides FB. Once I received an email from a hotel owner in Thailand who asked for my support to fight against flood in Thailand. It came to my mind that what if we can find people with international experience and connections, and engage them to help us find people we can help? So that we don't need to start from scratch, to look for the community leader or develop relationships from zero. Carles gave a very nice name to these natural connectors and partners: they will be Clean Angel Project's ambassadors!

To find these ambassadors, what we are thinking is starting from our personal connections, and reaching out to international volunteer organizations such as Peace Corps and IVHQ. And of course, environmental people who have experience in both developed and developing countries will be able to bring desirable connections!

As for how to recruit and spread the effect, in my experience, many areas, even those less developed, has access to Internet and many of them use FB. For me, I will simply send out a message to my host family and friends in Nepal to tell them about this great Clean Angels service. I will tell them that now I can not only help them in a more efficient and formal way, but also introduce them to more people who can and would like to help them.

Besides web Internet, statistics show that in 8 to 10 years, absolute most of the world will be covered by smartphones. So mobile social app for renewable energy or other charities and mobile payment will be very available. With the technological advancement, I believe it will get easier to develop Clean Angels' network!

2) Mentors: in our preliminary research, free mentorship has existed a while like Oriol points out. It will be great if ambassadors can at the same time be mentors or vice versa, and I believe they will be in most of some cases. Yet separating these two categories may make it easier and less time-consuming for interested volunteers to engage. That is a great question about incentives for mentors to do so.

What I have in mind now is giving some sort of volunteer credit/credential like what Coursera does to class takers. So that these mentors can show how much social charity they have done. What do you think Joan, and Oriol and team?

3) Mentees: it also just came to my mind that mentees can become new mentors after they receive help and successfully build their renewable energy system! I believe they will be very generous to give back the help they get from the Clean Energy Angels too!

4) Feedback is a great suggestion Joan! Besides one way feedback, what do you think if we set up two-way feedback system? Well this is what I have in mind right now:

a. From Mentees to Mentors: rating is a bit harsh. Personal and detailed comments on mentorship however will give a very human and accessible evaluation towards the mentor. We can also ask some technical questions that help us identify what fields this mentor is especially good with, what specific questions/problem he or she solves, how often and quick the mentor responds to mentees' questions, and what is the whole process of this mentorship. This will form a positive competition between mentors, and also help us match mentees to mentors better. We can of course list how many projects a mentor has helped too!

b. From Mentors to Mentees: mentors can give evaluation about mentees' possible project: how long will it take before the mentee's project is mature enough to launch? what other resources it may need? What will be the first second and third steps following the mentee can take? With this information, our platform can then give further help to mentees by directing them to third-party resources, such as green-loaning websites and discounted renewable energy options within the mentee's reach. A mentor can even give a credit/preparation rating to the mentee so that when a P2P funding website such as Puddle.com gets the profile, they also know what they need to do further with the mentee.


Again I appreciate deeply your questions and inspirations! Can't believe how many new thoughts I just came up with by brainstorming with you. We look forward to hearing more from you! Please come check back often to see how we are doing and keep giving us good advice! Thank you!

Photo of Shuting Zeng
Team

And hi Joan again, regarding the social media/visualization aspects, many good ideas are on OpenIDEO platform already! I came up with a green infographic idea before:

https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/ideas/creating-community-s-infographics-as-posters-for-renewable-energy

You will also see the three ideas/research this idea is based on which are all some sort of visual presentation about one's environmental efforts. Let me know what you think!

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

HI Joan,

Sorry not to flood you with information but to speak to the part of the Ambassadors, as ShuTing said, we are looking for people already volunteering in these communities. With volunteerism being such a huge part of millennial culture (I myself and a recently returned Peace Corps volunteer) we think there will be no shortage of volunteer ambassadors. In the case of most long term volunteers, they spend a few months working with the community to assess the communities desires, needs, and then set goals based on this assessment. Often, after working with said volunteer for a few months, the goals change and ambassadors can push for those goals to shift towards renewables.

Renewables are also great compliments to the work that most volunteers are doing. For example
Community Economic Development-renewables generate revenue
Health- During power shortages it is good to have alternative forms of energy and kerosene lamps are huge health hazards
Environment- self explanatory hahaha
Youth- Increase interest in STEM fields and improve youth health etc.)

and so on. I hope this answers your question. Also I think that the feedback is a really great idea! It ensures a certain level of professionalism :). Please let us know if anything is unclear. We will be sure to update the above entry to explain how we recruit ambassadors a bit more. Thank you for the wonderful questions and feedback.

Photo of Joan Cabré Puig
Team

Hi ShuTing and Natalie,

Thank you both for your detailed answers. I am more than happy to contribute to the development of your project.

With respect to Ambassadors: yeah, it will be definitely easier to recruit people who has been/currently is a volunteer. About that, I've been volunteering with All Hands, a natural disaster response organization that deploys teams of volunteers in local communities affected by a recent superstorm/earthquake/flood and focuses on house gutting, demolition and rebuilding (http://www.hands.org/, if you want to check out the projects they have launched so far).
It would be awesome to create a joint venture with them and/or with similar organizations, thus uniting forces to rebuild entire communities (in a greener way!). If you guys are interested, I can speak to the board of directors to let them know about your amazing initiative, and I am pretty sure they would be willing to collaborate.

@ ShuTing:

Your Greenfographics idea is superb, and might be good to integrate it as a subcategory on the Energy Angels web (and, needless to say, on the subsequent app), so communities can check regularly their green performance once they have transitioned to renewables and, of course, share & compare to other communities.

@ Natalie:

Yeah, two-way feedback, if clearly structured, can be a great source of improvement.
Regarding mentors, I agree with all of the features you suggested, my idea was pretty much the same.
Regarding mentees, I've thought of a sort of timeline/schedule with intermediate objectives to be achieved before reaching the final green goal. This timeline would start running once a community has agreed upon a definitive project with the Angel. Both the mentor and the community leader would be checking up regularly the progress of this timeline. The mentor would provide feedback on those objectives that are yet to be achieved and some advice if the community gets stuck at some point. Each community's timeline should be publicly available on the website, in order to increase competition among communities.


I will post more stuff as long as it keeps coming to my mind. Thank you all for your replies.

Cheers!

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

Hi Joan,

That would be great, we would welcome any and all who are interested in becoming ambassadors! That is a really neat initiative and very cool that you are working with them. I think that is a great idea to have communities wanting to pursue projects fill out their greenfographic! It is a very easy way to determine initial energy usage and map improvements down the road :). Thank you for that awesome idea!

I also love the timeline idea. We will for sure discuss this with Oriol and Carles. Your idea for having the community fill out a Greenfographic could be one of the first objectives :). I think it would really help communities to visualize and understand the journey they will partake in as well! Again, thank you so much for all the wonderful feedback, ides, and comments. Please do share any more ideas you have, your ideas are great!

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
Team

Thank you Joan

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Team. I like the idea of having a resource for information as I agree it is hard to access in a meaningful way for many people.
You might find it interesting to read this IDEA proposed during the recycling challenge. The idea incorporates the use of Ambassadors from the local communities and they play a very local role. Cool idea and lots of good conversation in the comments.
https://openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/evaluation/trash-talks-4-of-6-community-leaderboard-recycling-ambassador
Do you plan to recruit ambassadors from local communities? Is it feasible to think that someone will have the time and resources to take this on as a voluntary position? Have you thought about creating a network for ambassadors so that they can develop and share best practices, practical tips, suggest avenues for recruitment etc.? As "community"is so diverse - Schools, Work Institutions, Faith based organizations which can be local, or be part of large networks across geographical regions, Farming Communities, Neighborhood, Town, OpenIDEO, Professions etc. - can ambassadors be recruited within specific types of communities and through their own networks recruit others into this role in other locations?

Excited to watch this initiative build!

Photo of Shuting Zeng
Team

Hello Bettina thank you for all the great questions. Let me try to answer you here:

1) Ambassadors: When I asked an OpenIDEOer why he wanted to donate money , he said it is because he had some personal connections with people who can use his donation. Me as an international traveller/student/worker have made many international friends, and hope to keep in touch with my international friends in a more meaningful way besides FB. Once I received an email from a hotel owner in Thailand who asked for my support to fight against flood in Thailand. It came to my mind that what if we can find people with international experience and connections, and engage them to help us find people we can help? So that we don't need to start from scratch, to look for the community leader or develop relationships from zero. Carles gave a very nice name to these natural connectors and partners: they will be Clean Angel Project's ambassadors!

To find these ambassadors, what we are thinking is starting from our personal connections, and reaching out to international volunteer organizations such as Peace Corps and IVHQ. And of course, environmental people who have experience in both developed and developing countries will be able to bring desirable connections!

As for how to recruit and spread the effect, in my experience, many areas, even those less developed, has access to Internet and many of them use FB. For me, I will simply send out a message to my host family and friends in Nepal to tell them about this great Clean Angels service. I will tell them that now I can not only help them in a more efficient and formal way, but also introduce them to more people who can and would like to help them.

Besides web Internet, statistics show that in 8 to 10 years, absolute most of the world will be covered by smartphones. So mobile social app for renewable energy or other charities and mobile payment will be very available. With the technological advancement, I believe it will get easier to develop Clean Angels' network!


2) Creating a network for ambassadors will be a great idea! how about creating a network between all the users, including ambassadors, mentors and mentees? We plan to set up profiles for each that tell their expertise/project/experience etc., and yes they can totally connect on our platform too.

3) Incentives are such an important question to ask! What I have in mind now is giving some sort of volunteer credit/credential like what Coursera does to class takers. So that these mentors can show how much social charity they have done. What do you think? Also, mentees may turn into mentors after they receive help from the platform. About the time and energy, yes it will probably vary with each volunteer. And maybe we need to ask the mentor that important question about volunteer commitment and list it on their profile.


Besides implementing a social media function to the platform, Joan below advised that we can set up feedback for users. I think that is a great idea and that feedback can also help the users connect with each other too. If you are interested, please read the thread started by Joan below. I look forward to hearing from you! Thanks Bettina!

Photo of Shuting Zeng
Team

Hello again Bettina thanks for the trash talks! I love the idea! Actually I came up with a green infographic idea. It is much less refined and mature than "Trash Talks" yet maybe there will be future potentials? This is the link:
https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/ideas/creating-community-s-infographics-as-posters-for-renewable-energy

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

Hi Bettina,

I answered Joan's concerns about the ambassadors below and I think you might find it relevant as well. As ShuTing said, we are looking for people already volunteering in these communities or with close personal connections. I myself just returned from the Peace Corps and can speak from experience about the current millennial volunteerism culture :). I ended up working with and meeting a ton of volunteers from both my and other organizations (both long term and short.)

In the case of most long term volunteers, they spend a few months working with the community to assess the communities desires, needs, and then set goals based on this assessment. Often, after working with said volunteer for a few months, the goals change and ambassadors can push for those goals to shift towards renewables. In the case of short term volunteers, there is usually infrastructure in place where an organization is continuously working with a community so there still is some sense of long term understanding and a long term relationship with the community. While long term volunteers would be ideal, the type of project might allow for short term volunteers to participate as ambassadors as well :).

Also, what is really great about renewable energies is that RE projects compliment most volunteer's community work. For example
Community Economic Development-renewables generate revenue or save the community money
Health- During power shortages it is good to have alternative forms of energy and kerosene lamps/open fire are huge health hazards
Youth- Increase interest in STEM fields, improve youth health, serve as great Climate Change education tools, can get youth involved in the installation to teach them new skills etc.)
Environment- No explanation needed :)

I hope this answers your question. I think the word will spread as we work with more groups. For example, Peace Corps often works with other volunteer organizations and as I spread the word through my PC network, my friends will spread the word to other volunteer organizations. (Hopefully creating a ripple effect.)

Sorry for inundating you with comments back! Please let us know if anything is unclear. We will be sure to update the above entry to explain how we recruit ambassadors a bit more. Thank you for the wonderful questions and feedback.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Natalie and Shuting.
Very interesting conversation about volunteering. Thanks for the info! I was coming at it from a different angle. I was thinking of a volunteer in this case as someone who has a job and is volunteering in their free time, not as a full time volunteer position such as the peace corp. Some folk volunteer for years with one organization. The other difference in what I was thinking is whether you have considered looking within communities for the volunteer Ambassador, not bringing someone in from the outside, as an add to what you proposed. ( I see the potential for both here.) Communities often have multiple volunteer networks in place. I was thinking about this culture for volunteerism and tapping into it when I mentioned recruiting local volunteers. These networks exist across generations. Local connections might be more influential than interactions with an outsider when moving communities forward towards change. Might there be folk within community networks and across networks of communities who are interested in RE, and might volunteer to move their community forward on projects?

Hi Shuting -
Thanks for the thoughtful response!
Great idea to ask the mentor about their level of commitment and listing it on your platform. Different projects will take different levels of commitment and time. Allowing for this will increase the pool of mentors.
Regarding incentives I am not sure. Definitely something to look at as you speak to potential users/participants. Motivation is always an interesting question.

Isn't Trash Talks great? Happy you find it interesting! I will check out your Infographics Idea as well! There are other ideas on the Recycling Challenge that you both might find relevant as well.

Photo of Shuting Zeng
Team

Dear Bettina thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback again! Yes it is definitely helpful to find a local community ambassador, a community insider who can provide insiders' insight and connections within the community. There must be green communities already especially in the more progressive, developed areas. It is great idea to look into that.


Motivation is always an interesting question :) I was thinking about the other day that what made OpenIDEO so successful with so many smart great people so engaged here? And what if we can also find people like OpenIDEOers for the Clean Angels project? Can I have a tiny user research here: what makes you love contributing here on OpenIDEO, Bettina? LOL. Thanks again and hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

Hi Bettina,

Ideally we would like for local community members to be the ambassadors but initially, I think it might be easier to find ambassadors through volunteering networks. (most of our team has friends working abroad) Some examples of great local ambassadors would be professors at local technical universities. I worked with some great ones building and installing turbines in Peru. However, without living in or working in these communities, it might be hard for us to find these people initially. I think that local volunteers would be able to help in this way as well, they could vouch for the professors' skills and background (sort of like LinkedIn) as a form of recommendation.

Also, I think we would only look for volunteers working within communities not bringing in new volunteers/outsiders. For example, I worked with my community for over two years and they considered me to be a part of the town. We would look for that sort of a relationship in an ambassador. What do you think of all of this hybrid/transitional system?

Photo of Shuting Zeng
Team

So excited yayy! :)