Case study: Evocative characters for an engaging workshop

EDF Energy: embedding culture change supported by bespoke illustrations

Relatable characters help energy supplier EDF’s staff leaders to lead on data-informed decisions

Background

EDF Energy is aiming for carbon neutrality across its entire business by 2030. This bold move requires bold action, including equipping its staff to lead on data-informed decisions both for and with its five million-plus UK customers. Agency: Missiondrive

The challenge

Recognising the importance of data in good decision making, EDF needed an approach to widening the customer appeal that embraces this potentially alienating form of information and makes it both appealing and intellectually accessible with delivery.

My solution

I was asked to create illustrations and character designs for this EDF interactive workshop which helps train staff leaders in this new vision. The characters I created personify - and in so doing bring to life - the various aspects of data, enabling leaders to identify with those who might have the motivation and/or approaches to working.

EDF Energy training workshop characters

Evocative characters to make the workshop relatable

EDF Energy training workshop illustrations

Engagaing illustration for each workshop chapter relating to skills areas

The brief

EDF believes we are moving towards a ‘data-informed future’. Recognising the role of leadership in changing its data culture, its strategy is to train 50 designated ‘leaders’ who will then feedback to 3,000 members of delivery staff. Via three-hour interactive workshops, it wants these senior staff members to feel that even if they are not necessarily ‘techie’, they all have an important role in coaching delivery staff and shaping the company’s culture with the use of data, in a way that feels ‘different and definitely not corporate’. Good use of data, EDF believes, is how a company best shares information and helps people make informed decisions. Data helps all of us to decide how to engage with a topic, how to behave and how best to engender excitement from influencers.

The approach

EDF realised it needed to do something different if it were to get all its staff on board with its new bold approach to embracing and sharing data. It chose to take an innovative, illustrative approach with a series of quirky and appealing data-loving characters. Inspired by celebrated 20th-century psychologist Raymond Cattell’s 16 Personality Factors or types, my characters feature relatable individuals such as the practical and reliable data custodian or steward; the change-affecting influencer; and the charismatic and inspirational decision-maker. 

The outcome

All characters and supporting workshop illustrations have been designed to bring to life the different aspects of personality exemplified by different ways of embracing data and how best to utilise this when dealing with potentially data-wary staff and customers. Leaders and the delivery staff will all be able to identify with my characters and so better embrace data as a tool for carrying the new vision to customers.

Key benefits of EDF Energy’s illustrative character approach to data

  • Enables EDF Energy to embed culture change
  • Relatable characters engage leaders and delivery staff in using data to carry the new vision to their customers
  • Sits comfortably with, and complements overall EDF activity
  • Enhances the project’s appeal to influencers