Are you S.L.I.P.P.E.R.Y enough ?

Are you using SLIPPERY techniques effectively?

Energy Managers are always trying to change behaviour. In the world of business, methods to make new behaviours easy to adopt can be tested against the acronym S.L.I.P.P.E.R.Y.

I believe these same techniques may also help you in trying to promote energy behaviour change.

So I will first introduce the idea in a rapid overview and then explain how you can use this to structure your approaches to encourage energy behaviour change in your work places.

Finally, (if you make it that far, it is a longish post) I will conclude with a simple case study to illustrate how kWIQly (we hope) offer very SLIPPERY support for our clients

What is a SLIPPERY technique?

Low to no initial cost
Installs easily
Proves value fast
Plays well with others
Easy to use
Return on Investment is obvious
Your customers can’t live without it

Michael Skok who works for North Bridge runs workshops at Harvard Business School Startup Secrets and his brother David from Matrix Partners co-operate to explain this in the business context more thoroughly here

Note from kWIQly - David was helpful when we were beginning to define our business process and we really appreciate the lectures Michael has put together)

However, although these are clearly intended in terms of delivering a product or service I think it is fairly obviously relevant when you are trying to "sell" (or install?) a new idea or behaviour.

What does this mean to the energy manager ?

As you will see, with the early issues the energy manager has a headstart, but remember the story of the hare and tortoise. You need to tick all the slippery boxes, or your efforts will be less effective.


Do watch this - seventeen minutes well spent !

So here, the energy manager starts with a natural advantage when dealing with non-technical people. People simply "get", energy savings.

Obviously, I am not talking about more technical aspects of building controls here, rather the straightforward ideas of switching things off diligently, setting time-clocks and thermostats appropriately, closing windows and so on.

They get it because they are brought up to at least understand "waste not want not", "save the pennies and the pounds save themselves" and so on.

However, you need to bring this into personal context. If you run a chain of pubs in the UK at the moment for example, energy costs may be the difference between profit and loss, (and more personally) having a job or not ! - there is also the environmental context to consider.

Low to no Initial cost

Again an easy win, in theory. Yes, it requires a small effort (a tiny one), but also an attentiveness just as they are rushing out after work, and during the working day.

Technology and devices, means people are more and more stuck in their seats. So maybe you can "sell" against the friction of doing nothing, by emphasizing that by getting up and switching a light off, or walking up the stairs to save a lift (elevator) from shuttling down to serve them is a triple win. Exercise, a quick break from work, and good for the planet. It's also great for peer approval - being energy conscious is cool.

Installs easily

We come equipped at birth - by the time you can reach a light switch you can turn it off. It may be worth mentioning to staff they can teach this at home with their kids too ! Maybe making a game of it for little rewards (this also re-enforces motivation - see below)

Proves value quickly

See how I avoided the pun there? (kWIQly - Powerful Intelligence fast - sorry for spoon-feeding)

The most simple measures like flipping a light switch make sense instantly - infinite ROI and zero payback

But many non-technical types do not understand that lowering a thermostat overnight can have a benefit (they get all tied up "with how the weather effects saving potential"), and worse many people do not know that fluorescents no payback in microseconds if you switch them off.

Plays well with others

This is not really an issue - you dont leave your colleagues in the dark, and they do not override the boiler-house control systems (hopefully - you can manage the tougher stuff :)

Easy to Use

Just like the "installs easily", your staff are in control of their own bodies, but you also need to be thinking about motivators (energy dashboards - are they simple to the average member of staff), leader-boards, are they fair, transparent, simple.

ROI Obvious

Here management buy-in can make a huge difference. Environmental rewards are soon overlooked. So why not run a series of competitions (best perfromance improvement wins night out on the town - or whatever floats their boats) HA - when I typed that google autocorrect fixed it to "water floats their boats" - well I guess so ! - perhaps a river cruise is the answer!

Your customers can’t live without it

Get your senior management or financial team to show some simple graphics that compare energy costs to the P&L, (their buy-in is crucial and you will be doing yourself a favour too ! and then perhaps conclude with the video I included above (or something similar) that explains how serious global warming is.


Being Slippery is not necessarily hard - but it is something you can plan for - and have more effect. So below and very concisely I will explain how this applies to kWIQly


Heres what we can do with the sea of energy data you may be getting from smart meters, but not have the time to use (or even glance through)


We extract data from your automatic meter reading (AMR or smart meter) sources, add relevant weather data and interpret problems using pattern recognition.

Google is complex behind the scenes too, but it succeeds because you put a word in and it searches for you. Simple!

What we offer is a bit like that. We know the word "waste" - so we can just get on with the work behind the scenes. We send you notifications of as many top wasting sites as you want to see at a frequency you choose. If we don't add value - you don't pay (this is rather different from the metering companies who have to install expensive infrastructure etc.)

Low to no initial cost

No initial cost, no lock-in, no reason not to try.

Installs easily

There is no install. If your utility or some other service can show you graphs of data, we can pull out the data for you (in the cloud) and get on with the work - We do need a authority and contact details from you - as a one off set up, and things like opening hours, addresses etc we can upload from your data or "scrape it" from your public facing websites.

Proves value fast

As soon as we sign an NDA to protect your security, and you give us a green light, we can get started. It sometimes takes us a few days to set up, but after that. You get to see the fires as soon as they start ! With energy waste savings always relate to response time. The sooner we help you flag a problem, the sooner you know you can address it - and you dont need to read 100's of charts before you know where to start !

Plays well with others

We can accept data from any AMR provider, so you are free to switch utilities, we can build on top of existing providers of visualisation tools (we are effectively finding the ones to look at)

Easy to use

If it is routine (and if you choose) we can handle follow up with template emails so we can send messages to people who need to act (in your name and wording) and with very simple, to understand actions. We can then track that action has been taken, send reminders etc. Alternatively, we can send items for action to you.

Return on Investment is obvious

Since this is a "pay as you go" offering, you only use as much or as little as makes sense to you. This makes it massively more relevant to you than the original data collations service, there you pay for all meters, not the important ones only. We can do this as we are not tethered to the data acquisition technology.

If you want one site per week to focus on out of 1000 - that's fine. But as you find the first pays, you may want more, or more frequently, or for us to search for more compel problems. or handle your standard reporting (degree-day reports etc).

Your customers can’t live without it

This is for you to judge - it remains to be seen...

Our job is to make your routine, time consuming tasks (that clearly pay-back but are sometimes horridly complex) simply go away. To make dealing with priorities delightful.

You probably want more freedom to focus on real structural problems or getting more SLIPPERY with your staff. If so we can help, and help make you look good ! (as if you didn't:)

Clicking is even easier than flipping a light switch, so if you want us to make contact - you know what to do :)

Thanks for reading (and please share if you think this might be interesting to colleagues)


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