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New Business Models – Working Together on Value Creation

Donate As You Save Energy - DaysE - an innovative social enterprise

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I am a consultant to a social enterprise in Ireland which has big plans and global ambitions. It is called DaysE and our work is linking corporate sponsors into the heart of the community through energy! What we do is to work with companies that are implementing energy saving projects and we support converting those savings into 'energy credits' which have a value to certain utility companies. These utilities agree to pay DaysE for the credits and the companies agree to donate some or all of the value of credits to DaysE and then we use this income to fund other energy projects with worthwhile projects either locally or internationally. This forms a DaysE chain of stakeholders and creates real social impact and a strong narrative that is motivational and engaging.

From the first two weeks of this course I have learnt to map out the model in a new way, using the lens of the 7 different areas of activity and exploring how they might impact our business model.

1) Circular economy - we create a inner loop circular economy through tracking energy use and linking energy projects between commercial and socially impactful activities. The ongoing nature of the savings allow the connections to be continuous where previous wasted energy is now put to use for good causes with feedback on the social impact of this. We hope this positive narrative creates behaviour change.
2) Functional economy - we help the move the mindset from thinking of energy as a product to being a type of currency. Energy is a flow but has been billed as a product for the benefit of the utility supplier. As we move into renewable sources of supply it becomes easier to envisage energy as a flow which is more a part of the functional economy.
3) Bio-based economy - DaysE uses renewable energy when constructing projects and some of these are bio-based such as anaerobic digestion. So this is not a main feature of our model as yet.
4) Collaborative economy - our projects are based on building teams of trusted stakeholders along the whole industry chain from large utilities, commercial energy users, industry suppliers and service companies, consumers, public bodies and agencies and the social enterprise beneficiaries of the donated energy. Unless we can include players all along the chain the model doesn't work properly. This community of partners needs to be based on trust and openness to succeed.
5) Sharing economy - this has a bearing on our model in that we need to engage businesses and consumers as donors to make the model work. We make it easy for the donors to share. We put all the links in the chain together and make sure they work so that it becomes a habit of donors to stay involved giving a portion of their savings to support others.
6) 3D, self production - as yet this doesn't impact our model and we are unsure how it will be part of it. Perhaps as we learn more about 3D and as our network expands this will become part of what we do.
7) The internet of things is certainly a main feature of our offering - this allows very small savings to be quantified and verified. For example, a consumer can be contacted to inform them that they have just saved €3 today and would they like to commit a portion of that to a DaysE approved worthy cause - say 20.50 or 100% of the saving. When this is multiplied across many consumers it really can build impact for the charities we support.

I feel that the this course's business model will represent the DaysE model very well and I would really appreciate your input and suggestions as I work through this over the coming weeks. For more information on DaysE you can go to our website (dayse dot org) and our Facebook page - Daysefund.

We have recently received a national Innovation award from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for our pilot project which proves the concept and we are forging links internationally to bring the model global. We feel that in order to capture the story and to understand the work we need a model that represents our goals better than the traditional business model.

Looking forward to working with you all.

victor

Comments

9 months ago

Hello Victor,

I have visited the website and your value proposition is clear to me. How would you describe the phase your company is in after these 2 years? Do you see the company still as a start-up or is the company already past this phase? Are the fundamentals of your organisation already mature or are the fundamentals changing at a fast rate?

In this journal you talk about big plans and global ambitions. One key aspect of your business model is that the utilities pay for the credits. Is this model just applicable in Ireland or can the same model be used across Europe? Do you know similar project in Europe with the utilities paying for the credits?

Kind regards,
Bas

9 months ago

Hi Bas,
thanks for your comments and I will try to address the issues you raise. We would describe ourselves as a start-up still though we have completed the test or pilot phase and are now working on the next series of projects. The model can be scaled to many different geographies and involve many companies also but that will involve a type of franchise and we haven't really worked out the details of that as yet. We are still also developing the software so that it can be used in many different situations and with different stakeholders also and this will take about six months to complete.

Energy credits - and indeed carbon credits - can be bought and sold elsewhere but there is usually a process of registration and engagement that makes this unsuitable for registering small volumes of energy as the idea was created for very large energy users. What DaysE has done is to find a networking and software solution to streamline the process and so make it worthwhile for everyone. We believe it can be brought to other countries though there will be 'localisation' issues to be addressed in each geography. We are currently trying to establish a credit trading system aimed at community energy in several different European countries though I am not aware of a model such as ours that is currently in existence elsewhere.

I hope this helps,

victor

9 months ago

Hi again Bas,

here is an interesting document I have come across about energy exchanges which you might find useful.
https://ec.europa.eu/energy/intelligent/projects/sites/iee-projects/files/projects/documents/mobilise_energyaware_donate_your_energy_guide_for_implementation_en.pdf

best

victor

9 months ago

Hello Victor,

Thank you for the answers. At first I thought that your company is primarily a facilitator to network between the small donors and the large utilities. Based on your answer it is also possible that your company is primarily a software platform to facilitate the exchange/accounting. On what activity is your focus at the moment or is the effort 50/50? How would you describe your value proposition at the moment?

Localisation of carbon credits is perhaps more difficult to arrange in different countries with different laws. Do you think your platform should just focus on the carbon credits or is it also possible to incorporate other mechanisms to give energy savings to charity. The document about exchanges is interesting indeed. A person donates savings to charity, like with your company, but with another mechanism. I think that an exchange between a small or midsized company (not an utility) and a charity is easier to arrange across the globe. Some companies will have already implemented an exchange, but other companies need perhaps a little help to implement an energy savings scheme. Is the focus on electricity or could you also have a look at fuel (trucks and busses). When you broaden your scope the potential community will extend.

To stay on topic for this chapter in the MOOC I think, based on your website, that the design of your business model enables your value proposition. You have a team with roots in energy and charity, software developers, a website and so on. You want to expand the business globally. I hope the Clover Leaf Model will help you to define your community and value proposition further.

Kind regards,
Bas

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