In 2014, Enterprise Architects decided to empower organisations who were working to bring about a 100% renewable energy future. We provided our strategy and enterprise architecture services to climate leaders to rebuild and renew their organisations “better, faster, cheaper”.  When the call out was made to the team to see who would be interested to donate their time and skills for a safe climate, we immediately had 12 consultants and managers putting their hands up to contribute, and others joined later.

The effort and enthusiasm that each person brought to the table reminded me what an amazing team we have working at Enterprise Architects and demonstrated the energy that is unleashed when a real opportunity to contribute is presented to people. I am proud to share the results of this project with the architecture community and I’d like to start back at the beginning, with motivation – where all good planning efforts start.

The Problem

Renewable energy has many benefits, but the ability to mitigate risk of climate change is the most urgent driver for adoption. Scientific consensus exists that we are approaching a tipping point where warming will accelerate due to arctic and sub-sea methane release, release of carbon from the world’s oceans and reduction of Polar Albedo (solar reflectiveness at the Poles). Once this tipping point is reached and runaway climate change[1] begins there is no known way to stop it.

The good news is that renewables are on an unstoppable cost trajectory to displace fossil fuels even without a price on carbon pollution, but the question posed by scientists such as James Hanson is “will it be in time to prevent runaway”?        

The Default Future

Unfortunately organisations building momentum for the renewable transformation are not well resourced and while producing great work they often suffer from limited planning processes.

If no changes are made the organisations that are building our renewable future will continue to be less effective than they could be and that ultimately delays our transformation to a clean energy society, making ‘runaway’ more likely. This is where we decided to contribute.

The Possibility

We chose to offer our expertise in strategy and architecture consulting to assist renewable strategists and leaders to build and reinvigorate their organisations.  This in turn helps them focus their limited resources on genuinely strategic capabilities so they can win faster and deeper.

This was a great opportunity to apply architecture thinking to a highly innovative and disruptive industry. Embracing disruption is really at the core of everything we do at Enterprise Architects and at our sister company FromHereOn, so we were very enthusiastic to engage this space.

What Have We Accomplished?

To-date we have worked with three organisations that are actively and strategically contributing to the transformation to a 100% renewable future, including 350.org Perth. 350.org are at the forefront of the movement to renewables and a safe climate globally. They run online campaigns and mass public actions coordinated by a global network that is active in over 188 different countries. Bill McKibben is the co-founder and senior advisor at 350.org and he has been hailed as one of the great luminaries and leading thinkers on climate change and renewables.

We assisted 350.org Perth to establish which levels of the organisation from local to global require capability lifts to address their chosen strategies. Specifically, we developed a value chain, service model and capability model with assessment of strategic significance paired with the capability strengths of 4 levels of the organisation (350 Perth, 350 Australia, 350 International, and partner organisations). We also developed detailed capability requirements for a number of capabilities deemed strategic. This has been used as a high level planning and collaboration tool as they improve the effectiveness of their partnerships from local to global scale.

For other organisations we developed motivation models, capability models and analysed the elements of key capabilities, to drive their change portfolios. These deeper gap analyses have covered People, Process, Information and Tools, allowing us to identify missing or limiting roles, governance tools, processes, information and systems that represent the key levers to improved performance.

There have also been direct benefits for Enterprise Architects. To be able to run these engagements efficiently on donated time we have simplified the strategy and capability workshop tools so that assessments can be run rapidly. The work has really forced us to think about how we can inform strategy in the shortest possible time. We also developed detailed models of capabilities that are critical to non-profits, for example Volunteer Management, Donor Management and Social / Digital Media Management – and these can be reused for other non-profit organisations going forward.

This Is Only The Beginning

I am so appreciative of the commitment that has been given to this project, but there is a lot more to do. We have identified a number of additional organisations that we would be thrilled to assist globally, all doing great work for a safe climate – and we are delighted to be able to use our skills and expertise to further the renewable transformation. Please comment below if you would like to continue the conversation on how we can use enterprise architecture to create a renewable future.

 

[1] Runaway (self-accelerating) global heating and climate change is the planetary tipping point of all the many tipping points combined. – http://www.climateemergencyinstitute.com/runaway.html

REFERENCES
› 1 Fiona Harvey. (2013). 1.5C rise in temperature enough to start permafrost melt, scientists warn.
› 2 Giles Parkinson. (2014). Fossil fuels face $30 trillion losses from climate, renewables.
› 3 Sid Maher. (2015). Carbon reduction ‘is on target’..

Originally posted as 'Powering a Renewable Future with Architecture Thinking' on the Enterprise Architects website.

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