After three weeks of intense research, our team hit a roadblock. We possessed a good understanding of our client’s (ClimaCheck) technology and the potential market in the United States. Yet putting the pieces together in a coherent strategic plan proved challenging.
Then David Rodgers, Senior Energy Specialist at the Global Environment Facility and twenty-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Energy, uttered four words I really needed to hear:
“How Can I Help?”
Mr. Rogers joined us in class last week as part of a roundtable of clean technology industry experts organized by Professor Anna Helm. In addition to David Rodgers, the panel included:
- Bradley Olson, Chairman of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce and counsel specializing in intellectual property at Dickstein Shapiro;
- Douglas L. Faulkner, President and Founder of Leatherstocking LLC, former acting assistant secretary for Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and author of the “clean tech conservative” column; and
- Jan Ahlen, a government relations representative for National Farmers Union.
After a series of presentations on macro trends within the clean tech industry, each of the Sweden CAP teams had the opportunity for a break out session with the panelists. Since our client (ClimaCheck) is targeting the commercial refrigeration market, David’s familiarity with the HVAC industry proved very valuable. David led an engaging brainstorming session that helps us cement our market segmentation analysis, and provided a great idea for our market entry strategy.
Following our meeting with Mr. Rodgers, we met with Bradley Olson and Douglas Faulkner. In this session, Mr. Olson emphasized the importance of addressing intellectual property issues in our client reports – a point we would have likely overlooked otherwise. At the same time, Mr. Faulkner helped us appreciate the need to develop different value propositions for each one of our target markets.
In our final breakout session, we met with Jan Ahlen. Jan’s expertise lay in rural communities, which I imagine was immensely helpful for the other two Sweden CAP teams focusing on the U.S. biogas markets. Nonetheless, we had an insightful discussion about the limits of the value chain in the commercial refrigeration market.
At the end of the event, what impressed me most was how approachable each panel member proved to be. David Rodgers even offered to help us with any follow up questions we might have.
By the time he reads this post, he’ll have an email from me in his inbox.