Three years ago, just before the great Tohoku Earthquake and disaster, we connected our solar inverter to the grid. It is still noisy, but for power the system does perform. If all years are as good as this third year, when we sold 2702 kWh and consumed the rest, we will reach payback break-even after 11 years, not in 13 years as we initially expected, based on the installer's forecast of harvesting 3477 kWh a year. After that it is all profits for as long as the sun shines, the system works, and TEPCO buys the electricity.
On 2014-02-28, our inverter showeds 13567 kWh harvested, of which roughly
1/3 is own consumption, for which we do not need to pay on average 28 ¥/kWh, daytime rate with "8-Hour Night Service"
2/3 feed into the grid, most near peak time, reimbursed at the subsidized rate of 48 ¥/kWh
One of my paid hobbies has been innovation for the company, as in making new technology work for us to help us complete our jobs for clients, easier, faster, or more reliable. More than a year ago, one of my responsibilities shifted from process innovation to business development. Loving it.
In my free time, I took basic courses in project management, both waterfall and agile, read business books like Tribal Leadership and The Culture Game, all good and valuable, but none of these prompted me to post.
The framework for directed innovation does. It is old enough to be proven in business and criticized in public, yet new enough (to me, anyway) to get excited about innovation insights. (You too, maybe?)
Let's begin with quoting from one of many insightful articles from the company Strategyn, whose logo I borrowed for the image, The New Language of Innovation.
While in 2013, blogging took a back seat to other activities, in the past year, I again presented an updated version of Everyday sustainability, this time at United Nations University in Tokyo. There you have it. If you want to follow the hyperlinks, to sources inside the preso, (slideshare shows only as image) please download the pdf version.
Sustainability for me starts with learning and awareness, and it includes human ingenuity that makes modern life affordable and comfortable for many. As a small example, I labeled switches with the wattage each controls (here 60W) and marked with a red dot the lights to switch off as soon as not needed (incandescents). Changing consumption choices while keeping comfort costs close to nothing and can return a lot.
The lower switch is a timer adjusted to 6 minutes for the fan that exchanges the room air volume about once in this time. Running it longer would just draw more cold air into the home, or warm air in summer, driving up the heating or cooling cost for no gain in comfort.
Today's takeaway: tagging tried and tested tools. If you follow the links to the suppliers, you can see the explanations better than I could do with sharing several screen shots. And if you come back later, you will see the newest version there instead of an aging record here.
The output of the tool on the right worked so well for me, made the draft within hours of reading a bit of the book and downloading the templates.
To people somewhat involved in projects - and who hasn't been - the word alone may bring up personal experiences and a general notion, well, most projects fail. HBR said so in 2003 (source) and ten years later, the situation appears not all that different, in academic research, and it seems to get worse, according to the Project Management Institute, who have solutions on offer and whose newest standard PMBOK5 adds a chapter on project stakeholder [engagement] management [addition mine].
Examining how I could accelerate innovation in the company, I saw the need to learn about professional project management. This is a story in two parts: 1. how, where and what I studied recently, and 2. what tools I picked up along the way work for me.