101 A SPIRIT OF INNOVATION CHAPTER FIVE “We expect our developers to be creative, to look for another way around [a problem],” says Patrick O’Brien, Manager of Research and Development. Rural communities may have been among the last to gain the power of electrification, cell service or broadband, but NISC’s tools now put them ahead of the curve. NISC doesn’t wait for Members to ask them to solve problems. New products are designed to make Members smarter, faster and leaner. “We now are in a position to be proactive, to anticipate what the technology needs are beyond tomorrow and to have thesolutionsbeforeourMembersevenrealizetheyneedthem,” says Jasper Schneider, Vice President, Member and Industry. If you’re a tech company, innovation isn’t a strategy. It’s a necessity. For NISC, the quest for cutting-edge technology fuels a greater mission: NISC’s drive to serve its Members. That contrasts with tech companies that seek dominant market share and maximum revenue. Why does the cooperative model produce a different result? The answer is perhaps best illustrated by the story of a past collaboration between NISC and Google. In 2009, NISC entered into a partnership with the philan- thropic arm of Google, known as Google.org, to provide up-to-date energy usage information to electric Members’ customers. NISC had recently released its Meter Data Management System to help Members handle data from hourly readings provided from Advanced Metering Infra- structure (AMI) or smart meters as part of building a smarter electric grid. Through Google’s PowerMeter software, the idea was to provide a way to share real-time electricity usage with end consumers. Google estimated that energy- and cost-conscious customers would then reduce their usage by 5 to 10 percent. NISC-491-Co-Mo.JPG Orerumqu atquid que quibus maximolum quiatur rem ut doluptiusae vere int harcit hiciam facesse ditiur sus. continued on page 105 When snow and ice bring down utility lines, such as during this storm in Missouri, Members can access NISC’s Outage Management System, enabling dispatchers to pinpoint outages. Armed with precise information and location, the dispatchers can prioritize and allocate resources to handle the issue. Photo courtesy of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative.