Our Energy Policy: A Case of Energy-Efficient Collaboration with SharedBook

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Company: Our Energy Policy Foundation
Our Energy Policy Foundation is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to enhancing the policymaking process in the energy field. The goal of Our Energy Policy is to provide expert input into the development of U.S. energy policy through a broad-based, nonpartisan, substantive dialogue that can serve as a resource to policymakers, the media, and the American people.

(www.ourenergypolicy.org)

Business Challenge
Our Energy Policy needed a way to build a conversation with more than 300 experts from around the globe around a specific 40-page document. It was looking to create a space where experts in the energy field could view this document and have comprehensive ways of commenting, which would all ultimately be viewed by energy policymakers. In order to make this policymaking process more democratic, it wanted these documents and discussions to be available for the general public to view as well. Along the way, the foundation discovered that this approach could be applied to other documents to achieve its objectives.

Vendor of Choice: SharedBook
SharedBook enables companies and consumers to dynamically produce personalized and customized books and documents with its publishing and annotation platform. Policymakers, nonprofits, educators, and special interest communities can use SharedBook's platform to allow their members or constituents to engage in an online dialogue on bills, rules, research, and other important documents. Starting with highlighted excerpts from the original content, a series of comments and replies can be posted and shared to facilitate a pointed, detailed discussion.

(www.sharedbook.com)


The Problem In-Depth
Our Energy Policy sought a way to develop a collaborative community around one lengthy document. Bill Squadron, president of OurEnergyPolicy.org, describes the situation by saying, "What we needed to do was find a platform where we could place a proposition in front of a large group of knowledgeable participants in the energy field," to democratize the policymaking process.

This group of experts included scientists; energy companies (oil, gas, utilities, coal, ethanol, etc.); energy think tanks; climate change organizations; environmental organizations; energy security; government policymakers; and legislators.

The goal was to allow them to "react to and transfer discussion among themselves-all of which would take place in a very coherent and clear manner and that would ultimately allow us to create a tangible record so it could be distributed in hard copy as well as be made available online," says Squadron.

The hope was ultimately to identify areas of consensus, sharpen points of difference, expose misleading or inaccurate assertions, and stimulate innovative solutions. According to Squadron, Our Energy Policy's goal was to make the whole policymaking process "more democratic and more effective."

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