Host Introduction

Elenia is the second largest electricity distribution system operator in Finland providing services to 432,000 customers and operating 75,500 kilometres of electricity networks in more than 100 municipalities. Elenia sees to the functionality of the network, builds the network and connections, meters the customers’ electricity consumption and delivers the energy measurement information to electricity suppliers. Elenia renews the ageing electricity network into a weatherproof network and develops smart grid solutions.

Elenia’s vision is to be the most responsible reformer of energy services and markets. Sustainability is the basis of Elenia’s operations and Elenia wants to renew the industry as a pioneer. Elenia enables new technology and service solutions, such as an entirely new electricity metering system, and is constantly aiming to better serve their customers.

The Background

Since 2014, each distribution system operator (like Elenia) has bi-annually prepared a network development plan to be reviewed by the Finnish Energy Authority. It contains both location-based and more general information, and concerns e.g. the improvement of security of supply. Due to a recent regulatory change, distribution system operators are also obligated to hear the electricity network users in regards to their plan. Both the plans as well as the results of the hearing are also to be published afterwards.

Despite its origin as an external obligation, Elenia sees establishing a way to share plans and hear network users as an opportunity to interact with and engage customers in a new way. It is seen as an opportunity to learn, build transparency and trust, take social responsibility and to increase customer satisfaction and sense of being heard.

Currently, as a network operator, there is typically very little interaction between Elenia and the customer. By solving the challenge the company wants to be a forerunner and even set a new standard for the industry which is going through a change caused not just by regulation but also by market restructuring.

The Challenge

Through this challenge contest, Elenia wants to explore ways to enable customer engagement with a digital, interactive solution. Its primary goal is to enable sharing electricity network development plans and gathering feedback in an efficient and understandable way that strengthens the customer relationship and builds customer insight.

As the outcomes of this contest, we are looking to see solution concepts and demos of digital solutions that help engage customers by

  • offering an understandable and engaging way to present the electricity network development plans (currently available in a technical, location-based format)
  • gathering feedback from customers to support electricity network planning
  • handling feedback and other customer input automatically and categorizing them to enable efficient analyses

In the longer run the solution(s) should also be scalable to serve other customer engagement and service needs at Elenia, as we see great potential in better engaging the customer. While solving the challenge might require taking into account a wider group of stakeholders, the scope of this challenge contest is limited to focusing on serving customers who connect to the electricity network as electricity providers or consumers.

We believe a good solution would answer the following questions: 

  • What is the best way to visualize or present the currently location-based network development plan in the future?
  • What is a relevant level of detail for a customer when it comes to viewing and commenting on network development plans?
  • How to collect and summarize feedback so that it is easy for Elenia to use, yet the customer feels heard and is more satisfied?
  • How to make sure the added workload for Elenians and so the cost-benefit ratio stays reasonable?
  • How to attract and engage customers to join and use the solution?

The participating teams we are looking for are able to design and create successful customer engagement solutions for Elenia’s needs, understand the location-based network development plans’ potential and work with Elenia to build and possibly scale the solution. We also value the team’s understanding of and ability to study and meet customer preferences for communications and engagement.

Available resources

To help the teams during the challenge, the host has reserved some key people (mentors) and resources to support your work. The following resources can be shared with the teams to help their work:

  • Introduction to network information system (NIS) data and interface
  • Customer information and statistics
  • Current network development plan (public version), based on current guidelines (which will still be reviewed by the Finnish Energy Authority before the next plan is due in spring 2022)


Please note that some of the available resources are only available in Finnish, and so the participating teams need to have at least one Finnish-speaking member.

Timeline

  • Applications close – 4th of October 2021 16:00
  • Applicants informed about the selections – 8th of October 2021
  • Briefing session (mandatory for most team members) – 13th October 2021 14:30-16
  • Co-creation Days (mandatory for all team members) – 25th and 26th of October
  • Proof-of-concept phase kickoff (for best team(s) chosen by jury) – TBD, wk ~45

The Co-creation Days will be organized as a live event (Helsinki region) if possible due to covid guidelines. Remote participation will also be made possible, mainly by providing access to the main sessions and some online mentoring.

Who can apply

Apply with a team of 2-3 people, ideally combining diverse skills and backgrounds in the team. The team must represent a company or other such entity that can drive the design and implementation of their solution during and after the Challenge. All applications will be reviewed and all applicants will be informed after the deadline. 6-8 teams will be selected to join the challenge. You may only apply by submitting the Industryhack web form.


Please note that some of the available resources are only available in Finnish, and so the participating teams need to have at least one Finnish-speaking member.

Expected commitment for selected teams

During the challenge, the teams will develop and conceptualise their suggested solutions together with Host’s mentors. The teams are expected, in minimum, to work full-time on the challenge during the kickoff event (0,5 days) and co-creation days (2 days of teamwork and meetings in total), and invest an estimated 0,5-1 days of their time in between.

After the co-creation days, the best team(s) chosen by the jury are expected to work on their proof-of-concept (POC) project, building and testing the POC together with the host. The project will have a budget of 20-40 000 €. More detailed scope and cost of the project are designed during the co-creation days and in the POC project’s kickoff. The POC project is expected to coincide with and support the next hearing of Elenia’s network development plan during spring 2022.

The challenge will be organised under Industryhack Terms of Participation v20210902. The poc project’s agreement will be made with Industryhack’s poc agreement template, in accordance with the spirit of the terms mentioned above. The template will be shared with the winning team(s).

TERMS oF PARTICIPATION

Team selection criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on team composition, initial approach and contribution to the combination of selected teams. The following criteria will be used to identify 6-8 teams with best potential to succeed in co-creating and proposing an interesting solution.

  • Depth and variety of skills and experience relevant to the challenge
  • Team’s motivation and ability to work together
  • Team’s motivation and ability to partner with the host
  • Team’s preliminary ideas or selected approach for solving the challenge
    Correct understanding of the challenge
  • Participating teams will be chosen so that the approaches and team compositions complement each other and represent a variety of viewpoints to the challenge

Rewards

Each team that is selected to the co-creation days will be paid a reward of 1500 € for taking part in the challenge. Rewards are paid against invoice after the team has presented their solution at the end of co-creation days and provided their materials and feedback after the challenge. The POC project will have a mutually agreed budget of 20-40 000 € paid by the host.

Cover photo by Natalya Letunova on Unsplash

In case you have any questions, feel free to contact Aino Heiska (aino@industryhack.com).