Brrrm, brrrm (or not as the case may be…)
On Wednesday I was in Bedford at the Low Carbon Vehicle exhibition as part of the work we’re doing with Innovation Scout to identify business opportunities in the low carbon economy. There was a real buzz about the place and some extraordinary vehicles including a hydrogen powered Morgan, and, getting most attention, the £87,000 electric sportscar, the Tesla. According to the nice lady on the stand, they’ve sold 1200 of these worldwide and are moving into profit.
I was working unfortunately and couldn’t get a test drive. We were picking experts’ brains to spot gaps in the market – OK if you’re going to have electric cars, who is going to maintain them? Who provides the breakdown service? Who trains the emergency services in not getting an electric shock when they attend a road traffic accident involving an electric vehicle? While some experts could let this kind of idea flow freely, it was interesting how many found it difficult to think around their area of expertise. The conclusion was that there were dozens of opportunities around any one emerging technology for anyone with entrepreneurial spirit and, importantly, an inquisitive mind. Many of these are essential enabling products and services for the core product (the car).
Yesterday I interviewed Vic Morgan, founder of the Ethical Superstore for the Green Executive (my second book). His view is that if you take an ethical/green stance, you have to overcompensate with commercial attitude. He finds it easier to employ people with a passion for commerce and then interest them in the ethics later rather than the other way around.
Both these insights chime with the first secret of the Three Secrets of Green Business:
“Treat the environmental agenda as an opportunity, not a threat. Grasp it with both hands but, whatever you do, don’t forget you are still running a business.”