As the Present Now Will Later Be Past*  

change ahead change and improvement betterI don’t watch much TV.  I enjoy some of the cooking shows on the Food Network and of course, watching baseball (even when my team has been traded away).
I do keep an eye on commercials, as strange as that might sound.  They tell a very good story beyond selling a product or service.

The small, community banks have captured my attention.  They’re putting customers first when it comes to banking hours, fees and flexibility.  Their ads are memorable, satirizing locking the door in a customer’s face when the clock strikes five and mocking the old, out-of-step Monday through Friday service days.  The ads take a good shot at runaway fees and amusingly show that customers now have options.  The community banks are meeting local needs by accommodating the routines and habits of consumers.  After all, their customers are their neighbors.

Trying to fit today’s realities into an old mold doesn’t work for the electric grid business either. There is a need to understand and act upon a changing marketplace, as new technologies, grid and bottom-line benefits of distributed resources, and customer participation and expectations are prompting shifting tides.  The solar industry can’t ride on past ways when market penetration is climbing, bumping into business models and rate designs.  Pillar policies need to be looked at with a critical eye.  That doesn’t mean throwing them out, but it does mean a collective, rational review can hopefully accommodate a transformational market.

Credentialing is also balancing on a fault line as two tremors are percolating, both of which provide opportunities for responsive adaptation.  We’re seeing greater buy-in on defined attributes that separate the good from the not-so-good credentials.  And, we’re grappling with the cost vs. quality nexus.  We’ve reported over the last few months on the recently released energy efficiency standardization roadmap and its recommended indicators of quality credentials.  It looks as though the National Network of Business and Industry Associations will be supporting similar attributes of high-value, standards-based, industry credential programs.

A number of industry players are wrestling with how to build quality assessment and credentials without a staggering price tag.  IREC is in this national discussion on ways to set specialty credentialing standards based on less expensive methods to define job-needed knowledge and skills.  IREC is taking a leap forward with this, broaching a clear definition of micro credentials.  We’ve coined the term “Micro Job Task Analysis” to match the articulation of specialty skills – and doing so within short lead times and with lean check books.  We’ll be back with more.

For now the message is clear with both of these industries:  Don’t stand in the doorway. Let’s face changing realities and move forward with what needs to be worked out.

*Bob Dylan, 1964

Image: © kikkerdirk – Fotolia.com

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