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STEPPING STONES: Bridging gaps with solutions that are easily within reach

Consider, for a second, the personal computer. People didn’t own computers until they were affordable AND small enough AND friendly enough to easily introduce into our everyday lives. Then we saw a technology revolution...when the tools were easily within reach! The idea here is to seek out tools that are easily within reach. To layout stepping-stones, big and small. The first stepping stone needs to be a friendly first step
! One simple idea that could quickly get the ball rolling would be a design/sustainability framework or a toolkit (similar to IDEO’s HCD Toolkit) that provides a gateway to energy transition, both for municipal users and residential users.

Photo of Andreanna

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STEPPING STONES: 
Bridging the Gaps with Solutions that are Easily Within Reach


How might communities lead the rapid transition to renewable energy?


Solutions will be different based on clarifying what we mean by “communities.”

Are we talking about community on a municipal level or on a residential level? Or both?

On a municipal level, solutions will need to consider factors such as infrastructure, distribution, storage, cost, return on investment, etc.

On a residential level, factors will more likely center around cost, accessibility, and maintenance requirements -- most people want affordable easy-to-access low maintenance solutions. Adhering to these needs/wants will inherently bridge the gaps that currently inhibit an individuals’ residential use of renewable energy.

Consider, for a second, the personal computer. People didn’t own computers until they were affordable AND small enough AND friendly enough to easily introduce into our everyday lives. Then we saw a technology revolution...when the tools were easily within reach.

How do we make renewable energy “tools” also easily within reach?


STEPPING STONE 1: Friendly first step
One simple idea that could quickly get the ball rolling would be a design/sustainability framework or a toolkit (similar to IDEO’s HCD Toolkit) that provides a gateway to this energy transition. There could be versions for multiple users: 
  • Municipalities that are transitioning their large-scale energy utility ecosystems
  • Residential users that are introducing renewable energy into their everyday lives
  • Designers/engineers/companies who make and bring to market new renewable energy technologies.

A good primary construction of this framework would be a website that can expand, grow and change as new technologies enter the arena. This would be a hub of various resources. The website could also be supplemented with other usual avenues: an app, print material, etc.

This idea isn’t very innovative, but it is a basic and essential way to provide various stakeholders with a place to start, to learn and to gain the confidence they need to be in the drivers seat. How can you leap from A to Z without simple stepping stones in between? Any kind of transition requires a friendly first step.


STEPPING STONE 2: Incentives
Transitions require incentives. I’m not sure how this will look exactly, but I believe it will likely delve into government tax incentives and ways for stakeholders to immediately have visible/tangible money savings and energy reduction.


STEPPING STONE 3: Education
We should make energy use less abstract for young citizens. Schools can introduce ways of making energy consumption AND savings as familiar (and as important) as math and science to young kids.

When you look at cultures from our not-so-distant past, there was a strong awareness of life’s give and take. There was a connection between our wellbeing and our consumption of available resources. In today’s world, our culture is taught about consumption from get-go with advertisements, shopping malls, fast food, and a newer-better-more mentality. We have become accomplished consumers!

It is important, now, to revive our long-practiced age-old appreciation and stewardship of resources. Education is the best place to start, within the school and within the home.


The Idea

So, I guess the idea here is to layout our stepping-stones, big and small. Find our own paths and help others as they seek to find their own. We lay down stones for others as we lay them down for ourselves.

As for idea implementation, I think the framework mentioned as “stepping stone 1” would be a great place to start. It is something tangible and can engage contributions and conversation.



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What community does this idea benefit and who are the main players?

This idea benefits communities interested in learning, discussing, exploring and implementing renewable energy.

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

Talking about the steps needed can help us find which steps are best fitted to our own community as we engage in our own renewable energy transformation. There are different and widely varied solutions for each unique circumstance. We need some kind of avenue/toolkit/framework, formatted in a friendly and simple way, where people can go to find solutions -- stepping stones -- that are right for their situation.

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?

Hoping to engage contributions and conversation.

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

  • My post doesn't mention a specific type of energy
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Team (4)

Andreanna's profile
Patrik's profile
Patrik Malmberg

Role added on team:

"Hi Patrik! I'm adding Natalie, Nathan and you as team members to this project idea. I think we could collaborate, combine ideas and elaborate our ideas into something useful and cohesive. :) Take care! Andreanna"

Natalie's profile
Natalie Lake

Role added on team:

"Hi Natalie! I'm adding Patrik, Nathan and you as team members to this project idea. I think we could collaborate, combine ideas and elaborate our ideas into something useful and cohesive. :) Take care! Andreanna"

Nathan's profile
Nathan Lucy

Role added on team:

"Hi Nathan! I'm adding Natalie, Patrik and you as team members to this project idea. I think we could collaborate, combine ideas and elaborate our ideas into something useful and cohesive. :) Take care! Andreanna"

21 comments

Join the conversation:

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Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

Hi Nathan, Patrik and Andreanna!

What if we started piecing together an outline of the guide on a google doc? I've already started putting together some visual design stuff on a google doc. I put up an idea I had for the original incentives visual (following Maslow's Hierarchy of needs.) I also uploaded a small image idea for Andreanna's outline idea and stepping stones.


https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B_g4eIckUiYQc3ZDS3FtMzNwRGs&usp=sharing

Photo of Patrik Malmberg
Team

Do you see this Google Doc as a place where we could work on all the ideas we are involved in? I have uploaded a sketch for the Incentives Guide as I couldn't work in the idea itself.

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

Hi Patrik,

Definitely, feel free to work in this folder for other ideas as well! I can change the title of the Folder to "OpenIDEOs" get it? hahaha. I think we can also open up a comment function so that other users can comment on our ideas/designs etc :)

Photo of Andreanna
Team

Thanks for the work you put into this, Natalie. I appreciate it! Is there a way to create a writing document we can all contribute to, to hash out an outline? It would be wonderful if there were tools like this as part of the OpenIDEO online structure! (hinting there to any OpenIDEO designers, ;) ). This message format is terrific for communication and networking, but we need in-house ways to create together and collaborate as we construct iterations of our collective ideas. :)

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

Hi Andreanna,

On it right now. You can also upload or create any documents you'd like in the folder. As for your messaging idea, you should definitely submit that via feedback! I also have a ton of feedback for OpenIDEO on formatting the OIengine and I think what they want us OpenIDEOers to do is submit the idea via feedback (there is a little guy down in the corner with a bubble asking for feedback.) Good idea, and let me know if you'd like to post anything else in the folder or feel free to upload anything :)

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

No? It still shows everything for me.

Photo of Patrik Malmberg
Team

Did you remove the images? There was a number of images, and I also uploaded one, but now the folder looks empty to me?

Photo of Patrik Malmberg
Team

Odd, I'll try on a computer, this was on a mobile.

Photo of Nathan Lucy
Team

Sorry I went off the grid for a while there (pun intended, haha). Is this idea and team still active?

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