Process

Collaborative Process Summary

Mission: For professionals working in the Smart Grid sector, SGiX is a collaborative community offering an on-line platform, collaboration tools, and curated information that analytically address Smart Grid 2.0 business cases. Initially, we focus on the electric Smart Grid.

Use of Web 2.0 Applications: We are proud to be part of the Web 2.0 business evolution caused by the move to the Internet as a platform: a new approach for businesses to innovate by harnessing network effects and the collective intelligence of users to build applications that literally get better the more people use them.

Business Case Drafts: To initiate the community collaboration process, we present our own "best" draft business cases in a dialog format. This business-case-specific online dialog facilitates a review and commentary on the business case by the Smart Grid community. Relevant background information on which the business case is based is provided in on-site archives or through links. Additional business analysis tools are provided to facilitate business plan development for new entrepreneurial opportunities.

Dynamic Content: Content on our site changes constantly as we and our members debate, improve, consume, and synthesize our work on Smart Grid business cases, i.e., our content is never "fixed", as we continue to create and update, even on non-dialog web-site pages.

Individuals Participate Differently: We fully realize that not all members of the community who visit SGiX will actively create content on-site – in fact a successful business case evaluation might involve, say, 10 – 20 active contributors (e.g., “creators”, “critics”), with other members of the community falling into the “asker”, “responder”, “offeror”, “collector”, “joiner”, and “spectator” categories – this mix, in our view, will make for a successful group collaboration effort.

How Do We Identify Business Cases To Work On?

Over the past several years, SGiX has been involved in assessments of the Smart Grid market and business opportunities within this market, including discussions with venture capitalists and private equity investors. As a result of this process, SGiX has identified a set of Smart Grid 2.0 business opportunities for which there is wide support, but which have not yet been converted in viable business cases. Some of the opportunities involve existing businesses and some present entrepreneurial opportunities.

We have chosen five of these business opportunities to launch our "BizCase" collaborative work. Our goal is to create feasible business cases on-line by curating existing information, and leveraging the expertise and innovation potential of the Smart Grid community. To support the development of the new entrepreneurial opportunities, we also provide specialized tools and templates on-site.

Process

Our process is designed to support a collaborative assessment of individual Smart Grid 2.0 business cases, each one catalyzed by a first draft business case assessment presented by SGiX – that is the position we start from.

To prepare the first draft business case assessment, SGiX conducts an internal review of key reports, papers and presentations, published and unpublished (where available), and selects a small number of the most relevant of these – the “Best of the Best”.

Instead of presenting an entire business case, SGiX identifies a sub-set of the more problematic issues in the existing business case, and potential “gaps” in our knowledge. We synthesize this information into an initial presentation and commentary and follow the steps listed below.

Process Steps

Section I: Available Free to All Members of the Smart Grid Community

  • For each of the ongoing Smart Grid 2.0 business case assessments, SGiX posts the synthesized sub-set of the problematic issues and "gaps", along with a commentary, on our on-line dialog page, with links to supporting materials in our Archives
    • In the assessment, consideration is given to the technology, cost, product/service, market, business model, financial requirements, “gaps” in our knowledge, and potential scenarios that might close these “gaps” – see business case template
  • Comments are solicited from the Smart Grid community (including invited domain experts) via this dialog/blog format
  • SGiX posts syntheses of the comments at regular intervals, particularly with respect to the "gaps" and scenario analyses that might close the "gaps" – the comment period is then closed when it makes sense, but within a reasonably short time; contributors are acknowledged
  • A full synthesis of the group’s views is then posted as a revised draft business case
  • The community is invited to comment on, and add to, the "gaps", and to suggest additional scenarios; these are prioritized using an on-line voting application; relevant minority views are noted
  • SGiX completes a finalized synthesis, defines (a) project(s), if any, that could execute the scenarios, and solicits project participation, which is open to all members
  • All contributors to the process above are publicly credited

Section II: Available to SGiX Members

  • Assuming project quora, project groups execute Smart Grid 2.0 projects in private on-line work spaces, managed by SGiX – projects will likely involve off-line simulations and analyses that are outsourced to specialists, including the use of power system models to estimate the often hard-to-quantify power system benefits, and the use of risk-adjusted discount rates in financial evaluations
  • Internal business case documents are formatted in SGiX’s standard business case template

We plan to conduct several business case assessments in parallel. An editorial calendar will be posted on-site.

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Our Internal Applications Development Process

SGiX's platform is scalable.

We have drafted a product/services road-map -- as we grow, we expect to expand our dialog facilities, add additional collaborative tools, provide additional on-line applications, offer additional personalization options, improve our private on-line work-places, and roll-out an incentive/rewards program.

In the meantime, we will use our learning experiences and community feedback and suggestions during the early months following our launch to adjust our road-map to better meet the needs of our Smart Grid community.

Since we are re-engineering traditional business processes to take advantage of Internet efficiencies and Web 2.0 advances, we are operating in a high uncertainty environment (as all start-ups do!). We plan to manage this risk by adhering to "lean start-up" principles to maximize our flexibility while still delivering ongoing value.

We strongly encourage suggestions for improving the usefulness of the site for the community in terms of content, applications, and process, including suggestions for other business cases to be evaluated/developed, and ideas for new entrepreneurial opportunities for our community.

Customized Business Case Services

Dr. Geraghty also provides customized consulting services off-line related to the development and analysis of SG-related business cases – see here.