A New Way of Working and Living: Local People Employed Part Time With Training, Pensions (and Contracts) Throughout Their Lives…A New Utilities Service

Do you sometimes think that you, as the children in my daughter’s class did, poised before their big leap to secondary school, that they had the right to dream their own future?

and Google,  Facebook and  You Tube could be part of it….

Jathan Sadowski writes about google’s plan to build a supercity to move out of the virtual world into the concrete one and back again.

But the really important things that Google, Facebook and You Tube could do with all their buy in, belief and resources are all the things about everyone, around everyone, where we could move away from concentrated privilege removing the ladder from anyone but the golden ticket holder (and charity for the excluded), to a way of thinking about knowledge and innovation as something that should be shared and distributed to more people, more of the time.

No more charities, no need to patronise, no need to be a ruthless person at work but an evangelist for human rights of the Palestinians or the Rohingya muslims in your spare time. Focus and purpose but democratically achieved. Congruence and realism.

I think the privileged are aware that their lives can be anything but really clever and creative and they want change too.

Premise: Work as it is now leads us all nowhere. We all want to improve it, to restore emotional contracts but to make them proportional to our needs, hopes and aspirations. More part time and flexible jobs with training and contracts for employers and employees.

I think we need more insight and opportunity for flexibility in work and, simultaneously,  I think that the big tech platforms need to think about their next incarnation. They can become more, we can become more, if they scale down to what their ‘customers’ ‘consumers’ aspire to in a human sense.

We’re all talking about energy, the systems we all use, what we pay for as well as our own, how it’s depleted, how we’re ‘burnt out’ or at a ‘low ebb’. This project is about restoring  a sense of purpose optimism and energy  around social and economic growth.

The energy and IT infrastructure, after the products have been sold to us. There’s a space around how to improve them and provide meaningful part time jobs with training and contracts for people throughout their lives. Older, middle aged as well as younger workers can be untied from the gig economy at a stroke and united in a new kind of company that specialises in reading, analysing and improving the services in the community for the consumer.

Someone who could work part time in a role where they’d  be learning and training and developing a service in their local neighbourhood. Here’s a job that would connect the local with the provider, the generations and the professions with the non professionals. A language of community that everyone can speak.

We all want to get the best service from water, gas, electricity, IT and telecoms providers, if it’s possible, you’d also like to ‘do the right thing’ and feel with your gas, electricity, water and broadband that your choice and your money means something useful and sensible to other people, too.

There’s a gap in the market for a local audit and assessment in your home of your gas, electricity, water and broadband, how they are working for you after you’ve connected with a supplier of utilities. This is missing data in the customer service process. The product will never improve until we can move beyond this strange temporary beta place between too much big data and too much small data.

If you could get aftercare and assessment of those utilities by connecting with a person, trained as an ambassador and auditor for service itself so, looking at your energy consumption after three months, looking at the way your meters run, coming in a couple of weeks after you’ve had a new broadband provider to see where the problem areas of broadband are within your home, advice on where best to site your router(s). I think there’s a gap in the customer service support chain that could be filled by a really dynamic approach to looking at these services as part of community wellbeing. The service could be held in community venues with home consultations.

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Often when you buy these global services that have come out of the shared earth, they’re front loaded with promises and with many, many bottlenecks in the customer service and support as soon as you become a customer. When we buy utilities we really haven’t forgotten that we’re depleting other countries and the world and we want to be part of the solution. We connect the quality of our life with the quality in the world around us.

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We’re in a beta strange space just now where we’re bombarded with big data that is just letting price comparison websites that are basically aggregators for advertisers and providers make money. In this heated environment Governments (and civil servants) are under continual pressure to communicate and instead of communicating,  publish numbers, say, of how many people switch gas and electricity providers every quarter:

‘The number of electricity transfers increased by 16 per cent between quarter 2 of 2016 and quarter 2 of 2017, with an estimated 1,243,000 transfers in quarter 2 of 2017, compared with 1,067,000 in the same three months of 2016


The number of gas transfers increased by 20 per cent between quarter 2 of 2016 and quarter 2 of 2017, with an estimated 947,000 transfers in quarter 2 of 2017, compared with 788,000 in the same three months of 2016.”

Really this information means nothing, it’s just too big. It only helps the structured confusion of the aggregator websites, not us!

We need a shared language to talk about this lack of service. Ian Golding writes about the challenges of services on his blog post Customer Experience 2017 Reality Check: Evolution or Revolution?

The journalistic uncovering of ‘stories’ about these gaps and deficits like this recent Guardian publication of the Which survey on broadband, points also to the lack of movement on a much needed after purchase service and a feeling: ‘What is to be done?’

Energy saving, too, instead of a tool to become smarter, more creative and ingenious has become a weapon of mass deception on consumer websites apparently displaying everything but disclosing nothing that the commercial sponsors would fear. I think this is because we’ve all got used to accepting that people can set up a website that aggregates other people’s data and pretend it’s a service but the model doesn’t include really interrogating data for the customer.

The customer has to do that themselves. It needs to change.



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