Blog 4: How much is your time worth?

Time is money, right? We all value our time and don’t like wasting it. However, with some processes we seem to accept the inefficiencies. Research seems to be one of those processes. We want to get our facts straight and in order to move forward, we need to know what is already known. At least if you want to base your decisions on something more solid than 280 character tweets.  

But where to go for scientific information? According to our survey people in desk research are still mainly using Google and Google Scholar in their research and over 40% of the people encounter challenges in finding the information often or all the time. 75% have also experienced the frustrating situation where they have found the information they wanted, “too late”, even though it had been available. This is the challenge we are facing at the moment.

“Good old times” vs current challenges

I am still part of that age group who actually had to go to the library to find information. First, to the huge drawer with cards that were in alphabetical order and then to the bookshelf, shelf, book and eventually, the page. Compared to those times, we have come a long way. But we are far from perfect: According to our survey 50% think the current platforms give too many results. Why can’t we get more targeted results? Why do we still have to look for the needle from the haystack? 

We are living in an era where access to information has never been easier. We are living in an era where sharing information has never been easier. But this has also become a problem: The amount of information is staggering and still growing. How much time would you save, if you wouldn’t have to go through so many irrelevant documents? 

We can all think of the cost savings in our personal work if we would have to spend 30-50% less time finding the relevant information. What would that mean on an organisational level? How about when that happens in internal processes of different stakeholders that are key players in energy transition? 

I am currently collecting wind energy related documents for the Proof of Concept of eWEning star platform. I expect to need 700-1.000 documents. By using keywords in the current platforms, the results are not always what I would expect. And just the same as the people answering our survey (still open) I am astonished how “off” the results can actually be. How can I get results related to medical topics when searching for raw materials used in wind turbines? 

Renewables are the future, let’s act fast

As eWEning star is focusing on documents related to renewable energy, we want to supporting a field which is not only growing every year (11.000.000 jobs in 2018 according to IRENA, 700.000 more than previous year), but is also crucial from climate change perspective. We, as society, should take every measure possible to make sure that energy transition towards renewables happens as fast as possible. As we know, there is no Planet B. 

For sure we can all agree that there is room for improvement when it comes to efficiency in finding information. Artificial intelligence is already supporting this in many ways and different companies have taken different approaches to face this, Scholarcy and just to name a few. How eWEning star wants to differentiate itself, is to build a tool, especially designed for the renewable energy industry. By specialising, the platform will serve the unique needs of the industry and the different stakeholders of it. 

How much time (and money) can you save by finding the information faster? I’m eager to see.

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