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