This blog post is a follow up to the earlier one I did upon my return from the European Utility Week held last year in Amsterdam. Since then I have also been tracking some of the initiatives run by European Utilities in terms of startup engagement.
European Utilities (most if not all) have seem to got the formula right when it comes to engaging with startups (spotting opportunities). I think a lot of them have realised the importance of looking “outside” when it comes to acquiring new business line or developing something that helps them service their customers better.
Things that utilities in SE Asia and Asia Pacific region can learn?
- Open up– Instead of asking a startup what you can do for us, throw them a certain challenge or a problem statement. You know what to do when they accept the challenge and then go on to overcome that or solve the problem statement.
- Beyond barriers– Helps if a part of the organisation can go beyond barriers, think as if there is no box. Astounding that when utility professionals ( thats because of the available solutions) talk about customer engagement they often limit themselves to residential customers. For most utilities, consistent revenue stream would come from small, large and multi site businesses. If they can engage better with them or offer them suite of add on services, there is nothing like it. Startups are the perfect way to beta test that hypothesis, few top/difficult customers is all you need to get started.
- Embrace– There are some ideas that can only be tested by trying, thinking too much on trying to justify the reason to do it, may not be beneficial. There is so much happening in the utility space that you never know what might as well work out better, there is always an edge if you have that “Ace” card. There are things that every company would do, there are things that you might want to launch as a market leader.
Would love to know your thoughts on the same?
Greetings from Melbourne!
Yesterday I saw a twitter post from ACEEE that kind of spoke about how companies could do more on investing in #EnergyEfficiency. I have engaged in so many offline and online conversations around #EnergyEfficiency, often see that Industries get the last spot!
Without a shadow of doubt the residential, commercial buildings and the “space cooling” markets are extremely relevant as they have direct connect with consumers, utilities (often state run) have it in their interest to manage the demand- supply situation. But spare a thought, globally industries contribute to around 36% of the total energy consumption.
Industrial #EnergyEfficiency becomes more important for emerging or developing economies who are into manufacturing of goods or delivering services that are energy intensive. Take the case of Bangladesh, Industries account for over 40% of the total energy consumption, out of which the Textile sector contributes to more than half of the consumption.
Completely understand that every narrative of selling #EnergyEfficiency is part of a bigger “narrative” which may or may not bear the same relevance for each country. I speak for emerging / developing economies, here is how policy makers and think thanks look to change the narrative on Industrial #EnergyEfficiency and make it work:-
- Industrial #EnergyEfficiency has direct connect with #EnergyProductivity, which is a better macro indicator when it comes to tracking economic output vis-a-vis energy consumed. #EnergyProductivity should become the default indicator for all energy performance assessments and target setting in Industries
- Have an Industrial policy that is forward looking, integrates aspects like Industry40, IIoT. A country may have the best of Energy Efficiency norms, but a policy that supports import of outdated equipments (linked to process) may not get them anywhere.
- Some of the sectors, especially in the Small Businesses (SME segment) (Foundry, Forging etc) have often had problems in taking up new technologies or processes that can help them have transformational change. Open up these challenges under Industry-Startup partnerships, let them solve the problem and deploy solution at scale.
- Foster sectoral-regional collaboration, create mechanisms in which insights could benefit the sector at large. Understand “sharing of Data” is a challenge, there are business models and use cases one could look at and attempt to overcome these challenges.
Emerging/ developing economies rely significantly on manufacturing as against to services. Any form of inefficieny has a direct link to macro socio-economic indicators of that country.
Would love to know your thoughts?