Julie Lloyd

Moving Beyond Partnerships for Partnerships' Sake

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Sep 282010

Julie is blogging live at this year’s Global Corporate Citizenship Conference, hosted by the U.S. Chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center.  Follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #globalcsrconf.

Today’s opening plenary built upon themes from yesterday afternoon’s session that highlighted successful partnerships.  Panelists from across all sectors really honed in on the strategic roles of the private sector in these partnerships. What should they bring to the table? At what point should business be engaged? And what they can do to help scale and replicate the types of solutions that are working for social entrepreneurs across the world?

In his opening remarks, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Community Affairs, Akhtar Badshah, set the tone for the panel by offering his list of suggestions for businesses looking to engage in development issues.

Be Relevant — Be a part of bringing people together in conversation, and address problems that make sense for your business.  It’s not about giving money anymore, but rather about giving resources, people, expertise and problem-solving capacity. Panelist Gary Fisher explained that Chevron approaches partnerships as a business strategy, as a key to operating in its various environments.

Read the rest of this post at the BCLC Blog.

Microsoft and IBM Programs for Economic Development

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Sep 282010

Julie is blogging live at this year’s Global Corporate Citizenship Conference, hosted by the U.S. Chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center.  Follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #globalcsrconf.

Kicking things off at this year’s Global Corporate Citizenship Conference was a standing-room only panel discussion that shone a spotlight on two successful partnerships that aim to stimulate economic development — in particular focusing on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) — in emerging markets.

Why the focus on increasing economic opportunity? It’s the most effective way to meet Millennium Development Goal #1 — eradicating poverty — said David Fulton of the World Bank in his introductory remarks.

Companies like Microsoft and IBM (both highlighted in the afternoon session) have developed innovative programs that allow them to leverage their core competencies to promote economic development in the communities around the world in which they operate.  Panelists Tim Dubel of Microsoft and Robin Willner of IBM shared some of their key takeaways from running programs at their respective companies.

Bring Your Best

In both IBM’s Corporate Service Corps and Microsoft’s six-year partnership with POETA, the companies utilize their best assets: their people, and their technology.  It’s not about giving what’s left over, what they no longer need or wish to recycle, said Willner – it’s strategic.  And this allows each company to make the most difference for their partners, for their communities and grantees, and for themselves.

“You can’t get CSR credit for giving any less than your best,” Willner said.  IBM’s Corporate Service Corps deploys 10-person teams of “the best of the best” employees to provide advisory services (to the tune of more than $250,000 in volunteer hours) in countries around the world.

Read the rest of the post at the BCLC Blog.

Jul 012010

Yesterday I had the pleasure of “attending” (from the comforts of my desk) Engage CSR 2010: The Growth of Corporate Social Responsibility in a Socially Connected World, hosted by PR Newswire.  Bravo to the organizers for putting together a truly fantastic event!  The content was great, as were the conversations in the ‘exhibit hall’ and ‘networking lounge’ areas.  If you missed out, I highly recommend you check out the archived content, available for the next 90 days.

The conference centered around how companies are using digital media to communicate their corporate social responsibility to their myriad stakeholders.  Several panels looked at social media specifically as an accelerator of social change and its role in positioning brands as socially responsible.  One of the highlights for me, though, was a panel discussion on CSR and sustainability reporting that featured the viewpoints of Mike Wallace of GRI, Michael Muyot of CRD Analytics, Elaine Cohen of Beyond Business, Maggie Kohn of Merck, and Kevin Moss of BT.

Elaine Cohen shared her three keys to successful sustainability reporting, and what I’d like to focus on are the benefits to a company, both internal and external, shared by fellow panelist Maggie Kohn.  Why should a company–large or small–adopt a more rigorous approach to reporting?  What’s in it for them?

Internal Benefits of Reporting

You manage what you measure.  Simply put, if you know the results will be made public and you’ll be held accountable, you’re more likely to focus your attention on those areas.

It is a catalyst for internal evaluation and goal-setting.  There are so many areas that a company can report on, but the key is to focus on those that have the biggest impacts on society and the business.  The reporting process makes it easier to see what these key priorities should be.

It raises internal awareness for corporate responsibility.  For CSR to be truly embedded into a company, it needs the support of all business units.  Everyone needs to be on board with the concept of “creating long-term value for society and shareholders” — and no, these are not mutually exclusive.  Reporting (and the process behind it) can go a long way toward creating broad understanding inside a company.

It fosters a culture of transparency.  The pharmaceutical industry is built on trade secrets, Kohn said, so there was a lot of fear initially when the company began disclosing things like political contributions and payments made to physicians.  But ultimately, the increased transparency has in turn increased things like trust and credibility–which has reversed some of the negative public perceptions of the industry as a whole.

External Benefits of Reporting

It is a launching pad for dialogue. Merck can initiate conversations with stakeholders around the challenges they face.  Reporting provides that starting point.

It increases trust.  What happens after the conversations occur with stakeholders? Relationships develop, and over time, deepen.

It illustrates a company’s good work.  OK, finally–here it is…the public relations rationale for reporting.  Kohn said reports are a comprehensive repository of all the good works that a company is doing throughout the year, and this can be mined regularly by corporate communications for nuggets to share with stakeholders via different channels.

It reduces outside requests for information.  On a very tactical level, reporting reduces the number of surveys and questionnaires that companies must fill out, as the data is readily available on websites and in publications.

The Continuing Evolution

Sustainability/CSR reports have truly evolved since their early iterations, which were basically corporate communications’ literature that shed light only on the good being done.  Today’s reports are scrutinized by a much large variety of stakeholders (including investors, employees, shareholders, consumers and more).  The increasing adoption of GRI standards allow them to be easily compared and contrasted from company to company.  Companies like Merck and BT are now using the reporting process more as a performance management tool–engaging external advisory boards, providing more neutral assessments, and aligning sustainability reports more closely with annual reports.

It is now, as Cohen put it, “a delicate balance of transparency, process and PR.”

8 Best Practices for Strategic Community Investment

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Jun 222010

Ten years ago, corporate community investment was a much different ballgame than it is today.  Companies were judged solely by how much money they gave away.  Today, it’s all about the impact a company is having, and the value being created.

Last week, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) unveiled its new publication, “Strategic Community Investment: A Good Practice Handbook for Companies Doing Business in Emerging Markets,” with a three-day conference in D.C.  The publication is a comprehensive guide to where corporate community investment is heading–away from ad hoc giving, and toward strategic investment–and is well worth a read by practitioners at all levels within an organization.

In its guidebook, IFC defines strategic community investment as:

Voluntary contributions or actions by companies to help communities in their areas of operation address their development priorities, and take advantage of opportunities created by private investment –in ways that are sustainable and support business objectives.

Leading practitioners from around the world had a chance last week to sit down and discuss the publication’s frameworks and findings in the context of the issues they’re facing today–issues like making the business case for CI, effective stakeholder engagement, monitoring and evaluation, and implementation challenges.

What follows is a list of eight best practices that were shared by IFC’s Debra Sequeira, in answer to the question “What are effective companies doing differently?

1.  Have clarity of purpose–Identify key business drivers, prioritize areas where CI can make the biggest contribution to business objectives, and formulate a clear business case.

2.  Build on business competencies and resources–Ask yourself, “what can my company bring to the table besides money?”  Think about the unique contribution that your company can make, the comparative advantages you naturally possess, and support CI programs in areas in which you have the most to offer.

3.  Align internal functions to support CI–Strategic CI cannot be the domain of community relations only.  It needs to involve all internal functions and units in a concerted effort, from human resources to R&D, procurement to security.  This ensures not only business-wide support but business-wide accountability for CI strategy.

4.  Be specific, not generic–Engage in the issues that matter in the local communities in which you do business.  Don’t adhere to a blanket approach that does not take local context into account.  How do you find out what’s unique to the local community? Ask them! Engage local stakeholders to uncover issues, risks and opportunities.

5.  Partner with the community–Effective companies go beyond asking the communities what they want/need (in fact, doing only this typically leads to unsustainable, ad hoc CI).  Instead, engage the local community as a partner.  Assess its assets and strengths, and use these to promote stakeholder-driven action.

6.  Carefully select investment areas–Seek to invest at the intersection of government, community and company interests.  This is where true shared value can be created.

7.  Make good implementation choices–Companies have many choices in implementing their CI strategies.  Should they do it themselves? Set up a foundation? Partner with an NGO?  The choice is strategic in itself, and is based on a number of factors including the time horizon, local context and budget.  The trend today is toward hybrid implementation models that incorporate multi-stakeholder partnerships.  Partners share risks and leverage resources, which leads to better reach and scalability and a greater likelihood of success.

8.  Set goals–Not just goals, but explicit, forward-looking targets–and then be gutsy enough to make them public.

So now the question remains: how do we turn good practices into standard practices?

Three Emerging Trends in Volunteerism

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Jun 212010

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Greater DC Cares’ annual Business & Nonprofit Philanthropy Summit, an event that brings together leaders from the corporate and nonprofit sectors to recognize achievement and impact in the region.  Congratulations to this year’s winners in the nonprofit and business categories!

Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute and the day’s keynote speaker, had the unenviable task of following last year’s keynote (Michelle Obama).  She shared her thoughts on the current state of volunteerism and service in the U.S., recognizing that it’s at a “critical juncture.”

Not coincidentally, I imagine, the Corporation for National & Community Service released its annual Volunteering in America report  earlier in the week, showing the greatest single year increase in the number of people volunteering nationwide since 2003.  The report is intended to help organizations answer a most critical question: how to mobilize more Americans in service to address local needs and problems.

Nunn offered some insights into answering this question, sharing what she considered the three biggest emerging trends in service today.

1.  Connection between service and solutions

Nunn quoted a recent speech by President Obama, in which he said “the need for action always exceeds the limits of government.”  Service, she said, must fill that gap.  And organizations must be held accountable for demonstrating the impact they are having.  From a funder’s perspective, Deloitte’s Emily Rothberg summed it up nicely during an earlier panel on partnerships: “I don’t want to fund a nonprofit,” she said.  “I want to fund a solution.”

2.  Corporate engagement

Nunn cited the increasing sophistication of corporate engagement models that have evolved to include not only employees, but customers as well.  Disney, for example, offered a free ticket to anyone who volunteered for a day of service with a participating organization in its Give a Day, Get a Day campaign.  Starbucks’ I’m In campaign likewise rewarded volunteers with a free cup of coffee.  Interestingly, Nunn said most people didn’t even redeem the reward once they earned it, which points to deeper motives for volunteersim beyond just a free caffeine fix.  “Simply being asked to volunteer was so important,” she said.

3.  The Millenial’s toolkit

Millenials are using an entirely different set of tools and actions (not to mention their overall greater civic-mindedness) to volunteer than any generation before them.  Nunn cited Crop Mob Atlanta, tech-savvy young adults interested in sustainable agriculture who come together as a community to learn, engage, and work, and The Extraordinaries, a startup that has pioneered the idea of microvolunteering–small tasks that can be easily completed via mobile phone.  Millenials want to be involved in change.  They want to lead change.  And they’re organizing in different ways, often outside of traditional institutional structures.

People are the most valuable resource of any organization, and the key question is how to galvanize that human capital to meet the challenges of our time.  Organizations like Greater DC Cares are going a long way toward making Washington, D.C. a model for the rest of the country.

May 282010

Full disclosure: I work at a business school, so I’m naturally inclined to agree that a business degree can contribute immensely toward one’s work as a changemaker.  There have been a lot of recent discussions around the topic, a lot of questions regarding the value of an MBA to one who works in the nonprofit sector or as a social entrepreneur (or both).  Is the MBA the right degree to pursue?  Is it teaching the right material?

It’s obviously a personal decision for each changemaker, a careful weighing of the costs and benefits, but there are several trends to think about.

1.  More sophisticated models

In April, Maryland became the first state to officially recognize the B corporation.  More and more states are adopting the L3C.  Many nonprofits now supplement traditional donations and grants with earned income, creating social enterprises that can provide more sustainable funding.  What does this mean for changemakers? It means there are a lot more options when it comes to setting up your organization.  It used to be fairly straightforward:  have a social purpose, start a nonprofit.  But social entrepreneurs today face tough questions and increasingly complex, interwoven groups of stakeholders.

2.  Talking the talk

Regardless of the type of organization you work in, you will inevitably work in some capacity with the private sector, whether you seek partnerships, grants, or other opportunities to combine resources to tackle a social issue.  The private sector will continue to grow in its role in solving these issues, and partner organizations need to be equipped to talk to them in the language that they understand: business.

3.  Crossing Sectors

These days, graduates most likely won’t stay in a particular job, in a particular sector, for their entire career.  One of the benefits of an MBA, in comparison to a more specific program in nonprofit management, for example, is its ability to be broadly applicable regardless of sector.

At the Smith School, we’ve run a program since 2006 that matches our students with nonprofits across the country for short-term consulting projects.  The students get valuable experiential learning opportunities; the nonprofits get the benefits of outsiders’ business perspectives, which can be very valuable in helping to identify and solve problems in both the short and long terms.  But perhaps the key takeaway for both parties is in seeing the way the lines blur between the sectors.  We encourage our students to reflect not only on the ways their coursework can be applied in the nonprofit sector, but on how their experiences in these projects translate back into business knowledge that can be used in future jobs and job interviews.

I recently attended a conference and heard a presenter make the case that being a social entrepreneur is all about the soft skills–confidence, legitimacy, mindset, etc.  While I agree that these are absolutely essential, I think that a solid understanding of business frameworks is critical to help funnel that energy and create solutions that can sustain themselves.  Especially now, as lines blur, new models emerge, and issues become more and more complex.

An MBA is certainly not the only way to learn these frameworks, but as more and more business schools incorporate ideas of social change into the curriculum and programming, it’s an attractive option.

What do you think?

Social Enterprise Summit – Thursday Recap

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Apr 302010

Greetings from the 2010 Social Enterprise Summit in San Francisco, Calif.!  You’d be hard pressed to find a better place in the U.S. to host a conference on social enterprise than San Francisco, a city that’s pulsing with social entrepreneurial energy and brimming with the spirit of change.

Ah yes, change…it’s been the undercurrent of every conversation here at the first day of sessions and speakers.  How do you get the government to change its policy around social enterprise? How do you keep up with (or better yet harness) changes in technology to further your mission?  How can you change the way you think about the problems so that solutions are easier to find? And finally, is change really as hard as everyone thinks it is, or is it just a matter of thinking about it like a stubborn elephant and an over-analytical rider?

Far and away, the highlight of the day was the morning panel on disruptive philanthropy, featuring a lineup of thinkers from some of the most innovative online platforms operating in the giving space–Universal Giving, The Extraordinaries, DonorsChoose, OpenAction, Change.org, Social Actions and Citizen Effect.

Ironically, the wireless in the ballrooms of the SF Hyatt is nonexistent, which seriously hampered our abilities to converse and share via Twitter.  Here are some of the things I would have Tweeted:

Dan Morrison of @citizeneffect: A donation does not equal philanthropy.  A true philanthropist brings a network together and follows through on long-term impact. #socent10

Ben R. of @change: Money raised thru social media is a pittance. It’s about using the tools to create an amazing user experience and teaching the joy of giving. #socent10

Dan M: If 1-5% of your donor base is given the right tools and opportunity, they’ll go out and raise $5K for you. This is the difference between donating and fundraising. #socent10

@donorchoose: For 67% of online donors, it’s their first time giving.  Again, teaching the joy of giving. $1 donor gets same experience as $1K donor. #socent10

The themes that emerged from the lively discussion can be summarized as the 4 E’s of disruptive philanthropy:

Equality–Organizations have the ability to give every donor access to things that used to be reserved solely for big spenders (exclusive tours, connections with the populations they serve, etc.) via online tools.  The question is, if everyone is getting the same access now, what motivates someone to give a little extra?

Experience–The biggest benefit of social networking is not the tools themselves, panelists said.  “The tools are commodities now,” Ben from Change.org said.  “Everyone has Twitter and Facebook.”  It’s about what you do with the tools to provide a rich, engaging experience for your donors and allow them to connect with your organization.  Later in the day, keynote speaker Chip Heath talked about the need to ‘motivate the elephant’ to drive change, and this depends on creating an emotional connection.

Empowerment–Another benefit of these tools is their ability to turn your followers and supporters into your biggest advocates.  Give them the rich content and the unique user experiences, and empower them to spread the message through their networks.  It may not seem like much when a person ‘shares this’ about your organization or ‘thumbs up’ a status update on Facebook (slacktivism, anyone?) but the net result of these small actions is an increase in awareness and, 10 years down the road, a bigger philanthropic pie, said the panelists.

Elevation–The result of an empowered donor who has been given a unique experience and opportunity to connect with your organization is hopefully that he or she will be elevated to being a true philanthropist–someone who opens networks, builds bridges and maintains a long-term relationship with your organization.

Later in the day, keynote Chip Heath shared some insights from his new book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.  One of the highlights that seemed to result in a lot of “aha!” moments in the room was when Heath talked about the tendency to over-analyze the negatives when trying to find a solution to a large issue.  It’s easiest to bring about change, he said, when instead you focus on the bright spots–the things that are going right–and replicate these wherever possible.

Looking forward to a terrific Day 2 of content here at the Summit!

5 Steps to Achieving Breakthroughs in Sustainability Thinking

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Apr 142010

Last week, the Smith School hosted a ThoughtLeadership@Smith session led by Rob Sheehan entitled “Designing the Mission-Driven Organization” at its Baltimore campus.  Sheehan’s newest book, Mission Impact: Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, advocates a different approach to strategic planning that leads to more innovative, creative thinking–and bigger results.

In thinking through the steps presented that morning, I realized that many of them can be applied to companies struggling with developing sustainability strategies, as well.

1.  Metrics that match your mission

Measuring the right things is so critical to achieving–and demonstrating–results.  So how to do you know what to measure?  Think about the mission statement, so to speak, of your company’s sustainability strategy.  Is it to reduce your carbon footprint?  To green your supply chain?  Ask yourself how you’ll know when you’ve achieved your mission, and these are the types of things you should be measuring.

2.  Everyone knows what those metrics are

If you ask anyone in your organization what those metrics are, they should say the same thing.  Sheehan gave the nonprofit example of M.A.D.D., calling it a “Stepford nonprofit.”  When asked about the organization’s mission and how they’ll know when they’ve achieved it, everyone he interviewed there said exactly the same thing.  Studies have shown that engaging employees is key to successful sustainability strategies–so why not make sure everyone knows where the goal line is?

3.  An Aspirational Vision

You’ve got your sustainability ‘mission statement.’  You know how you’ll measure results against that statement.  So the next step is coming up with a vision statement that will inspire action and creativity.  Sheehan said that most organizations approach vision statements analytically–looking at internal capabilities and the external environment and making conservative forecasts.  But instead of starting at the present, what if you started in the future (ignoring present limitations and constraints) and worked backwards?

Create an ideal future picture–complete carbon neutrality, cost savings of $X, etc.–and then ask “how can we use what we have to bring us here?”  Using the traditional analytical mindset limits you to incremental improvements at best.  Sheehan said the aspirational mindset spurs on creativity, empowerment and gives bigger meaning and context to everyday tasks–again, a way to motivate and engage employees in your sustainability initiatives.

4.   Rethink SMART goals

The ‘A’ in SMART goals usually stands for ‘attainable,’ but instead Sheehan said it should stand for ‘almost impossible.’  Why? Because this can lead to breakthrough thinking.  The results are the types of game-changers (like the oft-cited Interface Carpet example) that can revolutionize entire industries.

This raises an interesting question, though–what happens when you set next-to-impossible goals, and then fail to meet them?  Sheehan argued that the resulting increase in productivity alone is worth setting goals like this, as long as you can measure outcomes along the way.

5.   Change the way you think about failure

Failure should be seen as an opportunity for learning.  Learn, make adjustments, and move on.

Climbing the Engagement Ladder

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Apr 012010

Across all sectors, social media has been heralded as being the great “leveler.”  We’ve witnessed its ability to give a voice to the little guy (or organization) and bring large corporations to their knees.  It has forced issues of transparency and trust to the forefront—to the dismay of some, and the elation of many others.  Nonprofits now have the opportunity to scale their efforts on par with organizations with far greater resources, thanks to tools like Facebook and Twitter.

It’s somewhat surprising then that many kind, benevolent nonprofits are struggling with the types of trust issues normally reserved for larger corporations.  A recent study by Cone, Inc. revealed the difficulties of converting the interest and awareness generated by social media into actions.  It seems that people are reluctant to put their money where their mouths (or Tweets) are, largely out of fear that their money won’t actually go toward helping the cause.  If social media is all about moving people up the ladder of engagement, then the question for nonprofits is how to get that ladder to extend into the offline world, to a place where people feel comfortable supporting with their wallets rather than just their ReTweets or Follow Fridays.

So how can this be done?  The underlying reasons for the disconnect between awareness and action found in the Cone study (each of which accounted for about a quarter or more of respondents) suggest several steps nonprofits should take.

Be transparent—Show potential donors the path that their donation takes, from the moment it leaves their PayPal account to when it reaches the populations you serve.  Kiva was a very public example of this in recent months, with the ultimate consensus being that it’s not wise to obscure your organization’s business model for the sake of marketing.  Ultimately, nonprofits face the same uphill battle as large corporations in gaining—and keeping—the public’s trust.

Promote offline engagement—Give people the opportunity to interact with your organization in person.  Facetime (as opposed to Facebook) with an organization was preferred by almost a third of respondents, so make sure people know how to connect with your cause offline.  This will help your organization build trust, reinforce transparency, and allow people to witness first-hand the impact your organization is having.

Show results—Assuming you can measure your impact (which is an entirely different, but equally important, issue), put this information front and center.  Along the same lines as being transparent with the path of the donation, extend your reporting to what your services did for your populations and what changes you witnessed.  Make full use of the community-building features of new media to connect your potential funders to the communities you serve, letting them serve as your strongest advocates.

Cut through the clutter—Clearly, free tools like Facebook and Twitter make it possible for an unlimited number of nonprofits to have fairly credible social media presences in a short period of time.  About 22 percent of respondents said they were overwhelmed by the sheer number of causes represented in the new media sphere, making it all the more important for organizations to differentiate themselves and find creative ways to use these tools.  It’s also critically important to hone in on your niche—find that narrow subset of supporters most attuned to your cause and figure out the best way to engage them, rather than try to be all things to all Twitterers.

The Future of Energy in 11 Words

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Mar 112010

Dennis Wraase, former CEO and Chairman of Pepco Holdings Inc. (and the first executive-in-residence at the Center), spoke last night on the future of the energy industry.  In his words, it was all about “energy conservation through the eyes of a major energy utility” — which, at first glance, sounds counterintuitive.

The goal is to encourage consumers to use less of the very product that Pepco sells, he said.  So how does this make sense?

Changing the way consumers think about and use energy will allow the entire industry to become more efficient, and will move us that much closer to the 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions (from1990 levels) by 2050 that the industry believes is within reach.

So, without further ado, here is Wraase’s forecast for what that future will look like (and what it will take to get us there):

  1. Leadership–Strong leadership, and consistent policy, at all levels (federal, state and local) is essential.  Right now energy policy changes at the whim of every politician.  Wraase said the industry ‘jumped for joy’ when President Obama brought up the possibility of decoupling, only to have that excitement evaporate when it was made clear that approvals had to be made at the state level.
  2. Collaboration & Innovation–The industry and the government must work together to fund the research and development of new efficient technologies, and new regulatory models.
  3. New role for customers–Customers have to take the lead in better managing energy usage, and this is absolutely key, Wraase said.  But this is a function of better information.  It’s been shown that customers reduce energy usage by as much as 25 percent when they are aware of the rate differences.  Wraase also said that better customer service is a huge part of this–being able to get on the phone with a customer, have him or her turn off an old AC unit in real time and pinpoint the exact energy savings.
  4. New products–Smart appliances, equipped with smart chips that receive price signals and can indicate the best time to defrost a freezer for example, eliminate the need for customers to even be aware of the pricing and usage to some degree.
  5. Electric vehicles–Look no further than yesterday’s Wall Street Journal for news of a 100 mpg electric vehicle that may slay the Prius.  With 5-6 new EV models due out next year from manufacturers like Nissan and more, the idea of 800 million electric vehicles being on the road in 40 years (or 40 percent of total vehicles) doesn’t seem so far off.

The fully digitized system Wraase predicts, in which your car (operating as a mini generator) and entire home is outfitted with smart chips that communicate with each other via your electrical lines, raises some complex security/privacy issues, but nonetheless is an interesting future to contemplate.

So, can you change the world one lightbulb at a time? Wraase certainly thinks so.