In the midst of a crisis: We need to play

May 04, 2020

By: Sevgi Can Erensoy for Energy Policy Programme


In the days of pandemic, everyone feels like they are working more than usual. I cannot give a sound psychological explanation, yet I am itching to produce projects, ideas, balcony plants, sadly bad drawings and so on and so forth, and be as connected as possible to find some ease with the feeling of being object of this mess and having no power to impact. Luckily, the Energy Policy Program (EPP) is a pack of restless minds welcoming any spark and ready to turn it into a fire machine.

So, precisely four weeks ago, we started rolling with the idea of using the Scenario Exploration System (SES) to pave the way of renewable energies out of the pandemic, all the while having a good brain massage. For first timers to SES, do go ahead and check this article to get to know about the brilliantly designed board game of the EU Policy Lab for strategy development before continuing with the article.

As Covid-19 unravels its means and scales, we really cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet it is apparent that the virus attacks not only the lungs, but also the economy. And the conventional survival reflex of the economy, which is of full throttling the most capital efficient “business as usual” ways, will be very fatal this time, because the baby Frankenstein, global warming, of this business ecole has been knocking on the door for quite some time. The energy strategists in the industry, multinational corporations, institutions and states need to reinvent themselves to tackle this crisis and the baby Frank. The thing is that they really cannot fail, they shall not fail, they will not fail, please don’t fail.   

So, we decided to support them, and you can join the force.

We are developing a Pandemic & Energy Transition version of the SES to enable a thorough understanding of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the energy transition and support the stakeholders of the transition who are experiencing significantly complex decision making conditions with the harnessed insights and strategies.

The energy landscape is vast and has such as a rich eco-system reaching through any business, society and individual. In the year 2020, energy is very political and proactive with its nature when it comes to confronting everyone with decision making. An individual never has had such power over their consumption choices as they do now. Hence, SES is offering a very substantial education for the citizens of this age: decision making, collective action and critical thinking.

The energy transition empowered with the subsidies, regulations and innovative companies, has been gaining some traction and still has so many fronts not being economically competitive. The response to the pandemic is decisive for the impact and survival of all the incremental and substantial gains. Simply put, the magnitude of impact that Covid-19 has on start-ups, which typically have investment profiles focussed on long term returns, is tsunami-like. Yet these start-ups are the tiny mitochondrias of the transition, and they are the ones giving many innovative products and services and inspiring the big agglomerates to catch up with the spirit of the times. Meanwhile, the medium- and big-scale companies are in the vague of the regulatory framework of the Green Deal and are totally risk averse because of the responsibility of the hard-gained business capacity. For the policy makers, time is ticking much faster than their functional and familiar pace, and meanwhile the public is completely agitated and overwhelmed with the pandemic terror.

Sounds like a battlefield with many fronts, flanks and complexities? We will zen in out. In the world of SES, the time and space are dissected in pieces. 

We have been conducting interviews with many entities across the energy landscape to create well layered and developed scenarios for the game. In parallel, the board game is being implemented on a digital platform to specifically accommodate today’s needs and to prepare the framework for future versions with a broader access and impact. Hence, the EPP will reach across Europe and the globe to connect with experts and young professionals to bring as many perspectives from as many stakeholders of the energy ecosystems possible to play, understand and overcome together. 

The “explorers” get an opportunity to understand the complexities of strategic thinking and long-term planning. The game unfolds in multiple time horizons while interacting with other stakeholders in foreseeable/unforeseeable dynamic conditions, which might put you at the top of the scoreboard when you find yourself totally misaligned with your long-term goals. The game truly brings the participants to a reflective mind-set and fosters co-creative conversation which is exactly what we need to turn the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity for the energy transition. EPP will host CommUnity members who will bring their expertise and true interest to the game. Explorers will simulate many scenarios revealing key solutions and collaborations that the real-life stakeholders have not yet, but possibly can implement.

Each exploration session ends up with a unique story which gives us the chance to experiment with strategy design in a safe and efficient environment. In each session, we aim to bring at least one real world stakeholders on “board” to be in close interaction with you, get exposed to new points of views, inspire ideas, and find solutions in a much quicker way. Through this, we also want to bring you to an eye-level contact with an industry expert in a small group of 10 people, and give you an opportunity to immerse yourselves on a topic for a good two hours and show your capabilities of strategic thinking.

On the other hand, the game has a strong educational component; together we will not only dive deep into stakeholder management, strategy development and role playing, but also increase the awareness on crisis management and give an example to current and future citizens of how to orchestrate cooperation in such times.

Many people around the world are embracing the measures to cope with the pandemic. The game will provide us the space to build up a broader community and give an engagement opportunity to many of us, who are locked-in, to be part of the solution and continue building on the safe and sustainable future that we desire.

If you made this far, I believe that you would like to play with us. The game will be within your reach very soon. Please give us a heads up at sevgi.can.erensoy@cu.innoenergy.com to get your invitation.


Other news