A County Council are looking to use smart meter technology to help look after frail and elderly people living on their own. It’s a great example of high performance Idea Creation
The my360plus ‘Idea Creation’ High Performance Behaviour is all about making connections and in particular coming up with bigger ideas that link simpler ones together. It often involves linking ideas from the wider environment to add real value to the task in hand. It is one of the behaviours rated and coached in every individual and team 360 development profile.
The council has responsibility for adult social care, including helping vulnerable elderly people in their communities. As well as the formal care they offer (visits from their care workers), they have realised that there is a wider network of support available, including neighbours willing to help out and charities who support the elderly in various ways. They realised that if they helped coordinate between these different groups, they could ensure more consistent care, and importantly reduce the gaps between visits. They now do this using coordinated SMS messages so that all ‘interested’ parties can keep informed and coordinate between themselves.
In a totally separate initiative, they are also working with the local power distribution company on the roll out of smart meters – electricity meters that report in very fine detail the power usage of households. They are using this data to help focus energy saving initiatives to poorer households with high energy use, thus reducing the overall level of fuel poverty in their area.
So far so good – two solid ideas – level 3 (basic high performance) Idea Creation behaviour, supported, as is often the case, by some wider Information Search.
But then came the level 4 (higher level) overarching idea.
What if you could (with full consent of the individual of course), monitor the electricity usage patterns of an elderly person living on their own, and flag any unusual breaks in that pattern using the text networks they had already established?
So imagine a vulnerable person living on her own with some supportive neighbours who pop in most days and keep an eye on her. She rises early each morning and puts on the electric kettle at around 5am. After a few days, this pattern is spotted by the system, and so if one day this spike in electricity usage isn’t seen at about that time, a text is automatically sent to the neighbour who can pop in and check all is ok. Smart, simple and effective.
There are lots of opportunities to use higher level Idea Creation behaviour, and it is a critical part of the my360plus ‘Think’ cluster, together with Information Search and Flexible Thinking behaviours. The key is to get in the habit of stepping back and making time to link information about apparently different topics to form powerful ideas and solutions. This skill of strategic thinking can form part of your 360 leadership development programme.