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  • Writer's pictureBerend Olde Rikkert

Customer-centric innovation: How to introduce new services successfully and fast

The energy market is in flux with new entrants starting to sell energy as part of their services. Car manufacturers like Elli and retailers like Coolblue and IKEA have entered the market. New energy-related services like solar PV, EV smart charging, and dynamic tariffs bundled with home batteries, are launched every day. We have seen disruptive players turn challenges into opportunities and become industry leaders through creative innovation.


Happy couple check their home energy insights app

Consider Octopus in the UK which started as a digital attacker and became the leading energy supplier in the country. It is now selling its SaaS platform worldwide following Amazon Web Services’ example. On a smaller scale, consider ANWB. Besides being a leading touring association in the Netherlands, ANWB also entered the energy market with dynamic tariffs, offering prices 85% lower than traditional retailers. This led to rapid customer growth and market leadership within half a year.


Innovation has become a prerequisite capability to delight customers and maintain or expand your position in today's energy market.


Shortening the time to market for successful innovations


But, how can you be sure that your innovations are introduced in a timely manner and, at the same time, are well-received by your customers? Typically, new solutions take a lot of design, development, and piloting time. It requires resources and budget from marketing and IT, which need to be planned and agreed upon in advance - you are already late before you have even started. 


Ensuring innovation success


Look at IKEA’s SPACE10, the company's innovation lab. SPACE10’s approach, despite its closure after achieving substantial milestones, brought significant inspiration and breakthroughs to IKEA. What distinguished them was their approach; they invited customers to share their feedback with designers early on. One of the results was IKEA’s popular augmented reality app that helped customers visualize products in their homes, speeding up purchase decisions.


Introducing NET2GRID Living Lab


Inspired by similar approaches and drawing on our 12 years of experience in the field of energy insights, predictions, and analytics, we realized the importance of swift and real-life-driven customer testing. 


We are introducing NET2GRID Living Lab, which is designed to generate customer insights early on and streamline the piloting process. So, why not try out a “Straw Man Proposal” with customers and gain insight into what works best before arranging approval and allocation for budgets and resources? This is exactly what NET2GRID Living Lab is about. With minimal contacts required, small project budgets, immediate start capability, a 3-6 month duration, and early customer feedback, NET2GRID Living lab is a hub for co-creating propositions and testing prototypes in real environments.


A world built for innovation


From deep dives into customer needs to crafting value propositions and use cases, our established cloud platforms already deliver energy insights. We offer a ready-to-go mobile app, consents and data collection processes, and analytics for monitoring user behavior to support you. It’s a new world for innovation.


Zelfstroom, a market leader in PV rentals, collaborated with NET2GRID Living Lab to explore how data and insights could help in creating innovative customer services. They said: “It was great to see how your data is helping to create a proactive customer service.’’


Interested in learning more? Contact us and we would be happy to schedule a meeting with you!

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