David Ivell didn't enter the IT profession with the aspiration of fixing someone's printer but to make the world a better place. As the founder of tech charity Energise Resources as well as the CIO of Good Energy, he is putting his IT superpowers to good use in solving world-scale problems.
But first, the day job. Recruited early in 2018 to create a new tech function to enable Good Energy to tap a growing market and use technology to innovate, Ivell implemented a four-squad full-stack agile framework. He trained the team in the move from waterfall to agile, while moving agile out into the wider business. The business is now tech-led, with market growth and agile helping grow revenue by over 60% in the course of the year.
His initiatives included creating a data lake around Azure analytics, and developing an API integration layer for a structure that allows new components and market products to be introduced quickly. His team launched an energy management app for customers and re-engineered all digital customer interfaces, increasing the sales conversion rate by 30% in the process.
Radical innovation is a key component of his strategy. The business had been so heavily focused on the now that new tech and market developments came as a surprise. Ivell insists on all tech squads keeping three time horizons front of mind – what can be delivered in six months, then 18 months, then two years. It helps to identify where the energy market may be disrupted or how to invest resources differently; distributed energy grids, blockchain, vehicle to grid, and biological photovoltaics are just some examples. Gains captured in the first time horizon include a proof of concept for robotic process automation that shrinks the existing process for customers who move house from 15 minutes to under one minute.
As for Energise Resources, set up by Ivell last year, it has been joined by 200 like-minded tech leaders eager to donate their skills to environmental, health and social justice causes. Notable engagements during 2018 have included running strategic planning sessions for charities to target their digital opportunities, assisting children forced into armed conflict or displaced from their families, disrupting trophy hunting in Africa, and assisting the diagnosis of cancer neuroblastoma in children.