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Kicking Off Customer2030: The Future Of Innovation

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Customer2030 Stairs

2030 is far enough into the future to stretch our thinking in the utility industry and beyond. What are the demands, the systems, and the tools we need to have in place to build a clean energy future and develop personalized customer relationships all while maintaining a resilient grid? According to Justin Segall, Chief Strategy Officer of Uplight, “One thing is for sure–technology will look nothing like it does today.”

We designed Customer2030 to facilitate conversations, solve real challenges, and give participants the tools they need to take home. If you weren’t able to come to Customer2030 this year, make your plans for next year, and then check out the highlights in this multi-part blog post. 

Welcome to Colorado, a State Committed to Clean Energy

Governor Jared Polis warmly welcomed everyone to Colorado and talked about how states like Colorado have ambitious goals and are leading the charge to 100% renewable energy. For example, Colorado’s largest utility, Xcel, is retiring coal and replacing it with renewable energy.

Humanity is Getting a Promotion

Blake Morgan, futurist and author, took the stage to discuss how companies are leaving too much on the table in terms of customer experience, and how to use technological innovation to address these gaps. She said, “We think that technology has changed our lives, but our lives are so cumbersome right now. Humanity is getting a promotion thanks to advances in AI. In the future, technology is set to fully change our lives.” 

The Secret Sauce of Amazon

Morgan did extensive research on the Amazon customer experience only to find out….there is no secret sauce. There is something we can learn from the culture at Amazon, according to Morgan, “Jeff Bezos wakes up excited to serve a customer. And everyone else there is the same. Mindset is Amazon’s competitive advantage and it’s absolutely free.” 

She also talks about the importance of this mindset being embedded in the entire culture. “Companies hire a Chief Customer Officer and then think they are done. It’s crazy to think one human being can change an entire company. It takes a village.” This requires training for every level of the organization–from individual contributors to executives. 

Make It Easier for Your Customers (Not Your Company)

Ultimately, utilities (and companies) need to reduce the friction for customers. Morgan concludes, “We make customers lives harder to make it easier on our own business. The best companies make it harder on their own business to make it easier for customers. All the relationships in your lives are good because you invest and nurture them. That’s what you need to do with your customers.”

The Disruption of the Century

Leo Moreno, SVP of AES describes the unique time we are in, “What we’ve seen in the past 10 years in the utility industry is more relevant than what has happened in the previous 100 years. And it’s only just beginning.” He continues, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and if we are successful in this transition, we can improve lives.”

Megatrends Shaping the Future

Leo Moreno lists 4 megatrends for the next century that utilities should look to.

  • Rapid Technology Disruption: Customers adopt technologies faster than companies can adapt, and then policy makers are way behind.
  • Environmental Focus: Replacing all the fossil fuel for renewables
  • Customer Empowerment: Physical assets will have less value and there will be more value on customer experience.
  • Electrification of Everything: As solar and batteries get ultra cheap, there is an incentive to electrify everything.

Look to Alibaba

We expect speakers to discuss Amazon, but instead Moreno advises utilities to look to Alibaba, a platform that became a 400 billion company by enabling innovation to flow through the platform. As more companies look to become software companies, they need partners to help them develop the platform. 

And, the insights keep on coming at Customer2030- check back for more highlights to come!

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