"Innovation" was driving message behind South Pole Group co-founder and Strategy Director Ingo Puhl's keynote speech at the Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) 2017 last week. His talk, entitled "Awesome User Experiences Driving the Energy Transformation", took key lessons from the world's journey from industrial revolution to the digital era.
His speech took the audience through history, showing how quickly innovations have happened from how Henry Ford's car solved the big urban challenges of the 1890s to the ubiquity of the smart phone of today. He argued that innovations like these were transformative not because they were cheap, but because the innovations provided enhanced services.
The message for the clean energy community was clear: as the energy transition takes place globally, companies need to think more about the enhanced user experiences that clean energy technologies and systems can offer. This involves not just focussing on the economic and financial aspects of technologies and projects, but also ensuring that innovations provide value beyond energy services that are inspirational for the users.
Ingo then walked through a variety of current innovations we are seeing today, such as blockchain, and explained the new SolarCoin digital currency. For SolarCoin, a unit of SolarCoin is created whenever the production of a MWh of solar power can be verified. He challenged the audience to imagine what it would be like for users to have digital money show up in their wallet whenever the sun shines. "This in my view, would be an awesome user experience," he proclaimed. At the end of his talk Ingo raised the notion that, through harnessing innovations of today and the future, the sun could put the poor out of poverty.
Read the full recap of the event in the ACEF newsletter.