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This is our recipe for sparking hundreds of big ideas — in 24 inspiring hours

Opower is a company that’s built on ideas.

We laid our cornerstones seven years ago. One was behavioral science. One was computer science. One was data science. Together, these fields gave our business a foundation — the core elements of our software platform. And we used it to start helping people better manage their home energy use.

We kept building from there — with new ideas to grow our business and new ideas to make our business a great place to work. We got bike-friendly. We launched a blog. We got some office dogs. We reimagined how people can design products. We reinvented demand response. We invited the President of the United States to see our office. We built the world’s biggest energy data warehouse. And we’ve seen some pretty good results so far.

Since 2007, our technology has helped people save enough energy to take a state like New Hampshire or Montana off the grid. And we’ve become the customer engagement platform of choice for more than 95 utilities around the world.

dogs

But it’s worth remembering that our successes start small — as experiments, and what-ifs. Not all of them work. A lot of them never get off the ground. But some of them soar — and they're what powers us forward, year after year. Innovation Day is about kicking that engine into overdrive. A couple times every year, everyone — designers and engineers, energy wonks and executives, new hires and old hands — teams up to turn our best ideas into something real. We get 24 hours. It starts when the gong rings. There are no other limits.

gong

We just wrapped up our eighth Innovation Day last month. At the end of the event, we'd launched a mentorship program, dug deep into experimental data analysis, rooted out inefficient processes, and shipped new code.  A bunch of us had taken an hour to discuss what we could learn from a video exploring unconscious bias. Some Oployees had started pitching and shaping and honing the ideas that could become Opower’s next products. Close readers of this blog might have already scoped out a couple of our deliverables: a website that explores what a kilowatt-hour really is, and a tool that helps non-designers at Opower create beautiful images for social media.

whiteboard

At the end of it all, every team spent a couple hours sharing what they made with the rest of the company. Our cofounders were there — not just at our Virginia HQ, but also by video in our offices around the world. And we were all pretty excited about what we saw.

dan and alex

For us, this is what it's all about: cutting across teams and fields, shutting out the noise, and coming together to build that next big thing that's going to help us achieve Opower's mission — to motivate everyone on earth to save energy. This fall, we made a little more progress toward that goal. And we'll keep innovating until we cross the finish line.

Photo Credit: Kristy Dai and Randall Weekes

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