Seattle Clean Energy
Seattle’s Office of Economic Development saw a problem of silos in Seattle’s clean energy ecosystem. This map was an exploration of systems and network mapping as a solution.
What is it?
This map is a data visualization tool which aims to:
- Support local clean energy entrepreneurship
- Visualize relationships between clean energy resource providers (e.g., funding, policies, accelerators)
- Collaboratively share clean energy stories of initiatives, programs, and organizations
How does it work?
This Kumu map is populated by a survey which was co-designed with organizations using the map.
- UX Research
- Mapping facilitation
- Digital mapping
Geographic view (Best viewed on latest desktop browsers)
Relationship view (Best viewed on latest desktop browsers)
Prototypes and hypotheses
An initial prototype was built and used to interview clean energy stakeholders like funders, policy makers and startup accelerators .
From the interviews we learned, our initial hypothesis of siloing being a problem and a map being a solution was partially correct. We also learned the clean energy ecosystem was hard to navigate for startups.
The key insight was stakeholders in clean energy wanted to be part of the mapping process to better understand the ecosystem.
Collaborative mapping & survey design
Our research showed stakeholders wanted to map the system themselves. We held a series of events with stakeholders the first one focusing on resource providers (eg, funders, policy makers, incubators like: Washington State, City of Seattle, Clean Tech Alliance, CoMotion at UW, South Seattle Climate Action Network, Smart Building Center, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council, and others). Stakeholders got to design the map, survey and data points.
Additional events are being planned to focus on businesses.
This initial map was created to help entrepreneurs understand a complex clean energy ecosystem. It also allowed a tool to break down silos between secondary users of the map (resource providers) by showcasing invisible relationships through mapping.
The bigger picture
We found that transitioning clean energy was connected to a larger need to transition of our entire economy from a linear, extractive economy to one that is circular and regenerative.
This double loop transition model (below) is a helpful framework to show the need to networking alternative energy solutions and helping them connect to create communities of practice.
The circular economy’s butterfly diagram (below) is a helpful framework for this shift and one we are using through this process.
We learned that maps were best created by the people who will use them, otherwise complexity was too great to overcome. When users of a map were part of the process, they have more investment and understanding of why the map is created the way it was.
We hope to integrate more systems based thinking to understand root causes at some of the forces working against a just clean renewable energy transition.