A small-sized enterprise aiming at increasing energy efficiency and the increased usage of renewable energies.
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The Story of Click4Climate
Graz Energy Agency (GEA) is a small-sized enterprise aiming at increasing energy efficiency and the increased usage of renewable energies. The basic target is the efficient provision of energy services. The main shareholders of Graz Energy Agency are the municipality of Graz and the local electricity supplier Energie Graz. The main activities of GEA encompass consulting services, research and studies and user motivation. The main topics cover:
• energy efficiency concepts
• the accompaniment of refurbishment projects
• energy consulting
• efficient mobility
• behavioural change.
GEA has 15 employees. The main geographic scope lies within Styria and Graz. Besides local projects GEA has long and broad experience with international projects in various funding programmes.
Graz Energy Agency performs user motivation and behaviour change campaigns since many years. A range of national and international projects can be reported. Among these is the “energy neighbourhood”, in which private households were searching for energy saving potentials in a competition. A lot of success stories can be told of those. But the other side of the medal is, that these campaigns need a lot of effort and are thereby expensive, while they reach only a limited number of users and while also the sustainability is not as high as an investment measure on a building, taking into account that people tend to fall back to old routines, if they are not permanently reminded of new routines. The accomplished projects such as energy neighbourhood showed that an e-learning platform would be helpful in order to raise awareness, activate participants and provide concrete suggestions for a behavioural change.
This was the reason to think about new ways of user motivation and behaviour change, also introducing modern media channels like internet platforms. The initiating situation was to provide user motivation to potentially approx. 6.000 computer working stations in the municipality of Graz (including connected organisations). This led to the creation of Click for Climate, a behaviour change platform for predominantly computer working stations.
Business model canvas
There are numerous applications for this platform: in its original state it is most suitable for office buildings that are used on private or public premises, e.g. administrations of municipalities, banks, large companies. The initial idea of the platform was elaborated in cooperation with the municipality of Graz, which saw the need to develop an online-learning platform for its many employees. Further applications, that would require adaptions of content and systematics, would be schools or real estate management companies that could offer the platform to their (commercial) tenants. Finally also for private tenants the platform could be fitted, but this is the perspective furthest away. One of the main advantages of the platform is that in contrast to a campaign the platform can be used by the client on long-term without producing high effort. The main challenge of the gaming-character will be to keep the so-called “level-ups” achievable, but not too easy and to create new challenges for advanced users/players.
Customer segment: Initially the concept was foreseen for municipalities and other public administrations, so the first activities in acquisition were to seek other municipalities than Graz to establish Click4Climate. After a while it became obvious, that the platform could also be a good tool for private office facilities for applying user motivation with acceptable effort and still optionally customized content and appearance, but the platform would need a slight rework for this purpose. Further the platform was discussed to be useful also for supporting utilities in their ambition to offer user motivation services to their clients (private or commercial).
Value proposition: The platform should feature
• Know-how-transfer to users • Motivation to change your own behaviour while working with the platform
• Keep a certain attention level for making the users return to the platform for as long as possible
For the first item on the list there was plenty of experience and material available in Graz Energy Agency. On the other hand for the other 2 items the know-how was there only partly or not at all. The new word to be introduced was gamification: the platform has to motivate the users in terms of achievements, comparison with others and fun. Therefore, IT specialists were brought on board in order to technically implement gamification items as well as to technically implement the characteristics of the user motivation platform. Optional upgrades to the use of the platform are the organisation of competitions within the organisation, e.g. between different departments, houses or sites. Those competitions are highly recommended, if not already included in the package of the first year, as it raises the attention level tremendously.
The platform offers various features. Firstly, information, tips and guidelines for energy efficiency are provided. Besides, the platform is conceptualized with at a certain gaming character, as levels have to be reached in order to access the upcoming topic fields. Additionally, the tool provides funny facts and numbers covering the topic of energy efficiency, energy consumption etc. Within the core-feature, the so called energy saving check concrete guidance is provided how to implement certain measures. When finishing on topic field (e.g. computer, printer etc.) a personal training plan is generated, offering concrete activities on how to improve the energy efficiency behaviour.
Channels: For reaching out to the potential municipal clients the Austrian Association of Municipalities, to which GEA hast a long lasting relationship, could be won to spread information about the platform throughout Austria. Further the platform instantly could be tested in the European H2020-project save@work.
Relation: the traditional customer relationship management of GEA is based on individual and personal communication via e-mail, telephone and meetings. Although this is effective, it could be discussed whether it is time-effective on the large scale.
Revenues: Similar to the costs there is a base price for implementation of the platform, ranging from €490-1500 per client and a frequent fee of €1 per user per year. The value proposition of Click4Climate.
Resources: The necessary resources besides to working time are the provision of a data server and know-how and experience in motivational communication and keeping the content of the platform up-to-date.
Activities: The own activities to provide the platform are initially the development of the gameplay and interdependencies, keeping the platform running, feeding it with actual and fresh content. Besides communication activities are necessary to keep the users/client attentive through setting up energy-teams, providing a hotline and monitoring the activities of the teams.
Partners: Partners for providing the service were identified quickly: web-designers were necessary to program the platform.
Costs: the costs can be distinguished into base costs and use-frequency-related costs. Server, basic development of the platform and its general maintenance are clearly base costs, while update of content, working on and with the energy teams, maintenance of the individual parts of the platform are dependent on the number of clients.
Customer value canvas
Customer jobs: The customers of Click4Climate, which can further be defined as energy commissioners aim at reaching the climate protection targets of their organization. Besides, customers are responsible for the facility management and deal with the implementation of EE measures, ranging from low up to high investment measures. It must be taken into account, that not all users are enthusiastic about behaviour change programs, but on the other hand through mailings and newsletters it is easier to reach all co-workers in an organisation to inform about the platform instead of working through change agents and other contact people. The systematic also makes constellations possible, where the platform is provided as an additional feature to rental agreements – a relatively cheap way to build up an USP over other offers – for reporting the use of the platform e.g. in a sustainability report.
Pain and pain relievers: Most energy commissioners do not have sufficient time to cover topics like behavioural change. Their focus lies on technical and facility related matters. For the successful implementation of a campaign there is mostly no time. Especially in big organizations, it is difficult to access individual users and influence them in their personal behaviour. Click4Climate offers a ready to use campaign, which provides direct feedback from the users and features on how to report about the results.
Gain and gain creators: The gains and gain creators, which are created by Click4Climate are the implementation of a tool, which takes over most of the work of a campaign by its contents. Those range from guidelines to the documentation of the results and the campaign.
Products/Services: The ready to use campaign offers various features of an individual tool. The interface and the measures of each single user are adapted individually. Besides, specific companies can choose from a catalogue of topics. The outcomes of the campaign are useable for the requirements of the Austrian EE law, which is of importance especially for large companies.
The platform was originally foreseen as an e-learning-platform. But without a mandatory usage of such a platform it would not be effective, so to achieve commitment and participation gamification elements were necessary to be integrated.
For making the tool as flexible as possible and to represent the effective costs and when they occur the pricing has been adjusted from onetime payment to having a base-price and a price of 1€ per year and user. This is a WIN-WIN for both sides: the risk on the provider’s side is dramatically reduced and the initial price, if the client is not sure whether the product is the right one for him, is not that high any more.
Within GEA, there is one person mainly in charge of the tool. She is the face to the customer, in charge of marketing and support and implementation. Stretching is therefore not very distinct. The main partners are the programming specialists. In regard to scaling/conceptualizing, the tool was designed for employees working at computers in municipalities. However, there is the option to adopt the tool to make it usable for companies (SMEs, industry), as well as for tenants. So far, the tool was sold to 9 organisations, which include municipalities as well as private companies, which around 3500 employees using the tool. The plan is to further sell the tool to 20 organizations and firms.
When the tool is presented to potential customers, the head of department is the decisive contact point, as he/she decides about implementing the tool or not. In order to convince the head of department more than a tool is necessary (e.g. additional material, accompanying campaign etc.). Besides, the main problem is that the top arguments for the tool are soft facts (e.g. education of employees, image, climate protection, team building). There are no hard facts such as impact on health, productivity etc. More orchestrating is currently necessary to reach more clients.
Feedback can be provided by the end user to the customer and to GEA via a feedback form, which is implemented within the tool. It is mainly meant for the customers, but GEA is shown the feedback as well. The usability of the tool is mainly represented by the number of end users.
The product/service paradigm
The whole offer tends to be service-orientated, while the competing market still counts on information-campaigns. Also the client’s side, that often tends to buy whole products, prefers in this case the service-orientated approach.
The godfather of Click4Climate, which is the municipality of Graz, the tool is seen as a service. The tool is mostly implemented with an accompanying campaign. For end users (employees) as well as customers (municipalities, companies) the same can be mentioned.
The suppliers of the tool, which are the programmers, deliver the tool as a product. Competitors, mainly firms offering energy relevant apps, are to be positioned in the middle, whereas the apps are rather product than service.
Marketing and communication is mainly made online (homepage, newsletter, presentations) and consequently a lot service orientated.