Project Goal and Structure
The principal goal of the LotM project is to investigate the potential for a change in infrastructure operation away from supply of unmanaged demand and towards resource-efficient service delivery. Innovatively, this will be done for multiple infrastructure streams; through a range of possible alternative configurations we have termed “Multi-Utility Service Companies”, or MUSCos. The service focus along with the consideration of multiple infrastructure streams will enable us to look for potential substitutions between infrastructure streams for delivery of the same service (or combination of services). Since MUSCos, as we have defined them, based on a business model profiting from efficient service delivery, do not yet exist, we have designed our research strategy to learn and build knowledge from real partial examples. This is in order to avoid a purely speculative or utopian project, which might be of theoretical interest, but would not have relevance in terms of applicability.The project is thus structured along the following 4 work packages.
- WP1: “standardizing services” concentrated on the end-user interface and deals with technical and economic issues towards standardized service contracts.
- WP2: “Creative interventions” looks at the governance landscape and in particular at regulations, incentives, motivation, drivers, constraints.
- WP3: Integrates the gained insights in a socio-technical model and identifies barriers and opportunities of service-based provision
- WP4: “Musco Charter” ensures the engagement and communication with stakeholders, experts and the public, and the development of a “MUSCo charter.”
WP1: Standardising Services
WP1 is concerned with the interface between the end user and infrastructure supply, and therefore focuses on the demand for generic services. The objectives here are
- to survey relevant (efficient & cost-effective) technologies (and alternative modes of operation of existing technologies) which are not currently being implemented as broadly as they could;
- to identify the services which these technologies would help fulfil (these services may be different for different categories of end-users), and thus the most promising combination of infrastructures, technologies, services and end-users for the project (and future MUSCos) to focus on;
- to develop quantifiable measures for service-based agreements, so their delivery can be monitored;
- to consider the pros and cons of different service-based relationships at the end-user level;
and to contribute this knowledge to the socio-technical model (WP3) and overall project conclusions, including the “MUSCo charter”.
WP2: Creative Intervention
WP2 focuses on the governance aspects of infrastructure operation and service delivery: the existing configuration of actors and the potential for new configurations and relationships. In order to achieve this, the objectives are:
- to identify the most important actors in service provision and their relationships;
- to investigate examples of successful (and failed) attempts to modify the status quo towards more efficient service delivery integrating the end user;
- to synthesize the information gained for the purpose of the model (WP3) and overall project conclusions, including the “MUSCo charter”.
WP3: Socio-technical Model
WP3 will design and build an integrated socio-technical model enabling us to test the conditions for MUSCo emergence and success. The objectives of the modelling component are:
- to develop the model based on inputs from WP1-2, tracking both environmental and economic outcomes;
- to validate the model, using examples from WP1-2 as test cases;
to develop and test scenarios of possible or promising changes for the emergence of new actors (MUSCos) or configurations.
WP4: The “MUSCo Charter”
WP4 ensures the engagement and communication with stakeholders, experts and the public, including the assessment of the conclusions of each WP and the project as a whole, and the development of a “MUSCo charter.” The MUSCo charter will be a document encapsulating the findings of the project, which will consist of guidelines and practical steps to move away from the status quo towards more efficient, sustainable, service-based infrastructure operation.