I came up with a tenth reason. In the blog Ten reasons, I cheated; I couldnt think of a tenth and just admitted it. But I have now got one….
Evolving behaviour and evolving services.
So Mobile phones has famously led on to changes in behaviour and opened the door to other approaches to regular problems. I generally call this ‘mStuff’ (because people like putting an ‘m’ to indicate the involvement of mobile phones.
mAgriculture has enhanced and has great potential to enhance agriculture and food production (see a paper derived from our report for Oxfam and HRH Prince Charles ISU unit couple years ago). mHealth has enhanced and has great potential to enhance health services throughout the world. (Yes, we are also involved with that, see our work in Bangladesh on Health information seeking), and of course Mobile Money (which we had quite a significant role in (Video)).
Anyway, after that terrible bit of self promotion let me return to the point. The mobile device (enabling communication on the move), has enabled a whole set of changed behaviour and other services. Changed behaviour – people used to give cash to a bus driver to transfer it to their up country relatives, or take 3 days off work to travel themselves – mobile money has changed the way multi-spatial households operate. Health workers were isolated and had limited backup. Now they can call for advice. Extension agents used to visit farm by farm infrequently. Now farmers can ask advice over the phone, and that changes the way they do their farming. Checking the price at a market before making the half day journey to sell your goods!
The raw behaviours already existed – asking advice, transferring money, engaging in business. But the mobile phone has enabled those behaviours to evolve, and new business services to be created. I am not saying that ecook will be a strong as the mobile phone for reshaping society, but I am saying it could enable modified behaviours and therefore open new services. (and lets me just restate – I am not saying that only cooking behaviour will change, rather that the presence of decentralised cost effective energy storage which is rolled out because it substitutes for an existing cost – is the enabler of new behaviours in farming, health and education – that whole benefit of modern energy that SDG 7 will talk about in a couple of days)
To dream an example, suppose a household has a unit. Initially it is sufficient to cook in the traditional way. However, the household become aware of the units limits and adjust their cooking behaviour to save energy (more use of a lid, insulated pots, changed timing of cooking, wonderbags). The now surplus modern energy in the battery is available for other activities. People have become familiar with the limits of modern energy and the obvious use of the surplus is charging the phone (!) and entertainment. However, they might even see that since their solar is doing such a good job on the cooking, they will explore income generating activities (such as water pumping or grinding) by adding more capacity.