CAP Sweden’s Team Hexicon: The Beneficial Challenges of Expert Advice

We, Team Hexicon, are comprised of Global MBA candidates of the George Washington School of Business who are working with a Swedish company, Hexicon AB, for a consulting abroad project to determine the optimal entry method for the U.S. offshore wind market. This project has proven particularly challenging as the offshore wind market in the United States is a completely new and untapped market. Our team process and direction has required significant fine-tuning and we would not have been as successful without the in-depth industry knowledge provided to us by our excellent panel of experts. Yet, while always helpful, these experts often brought to the table more challenges for our team than we originally anticipated.

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Here we are discussing our strategy with Paul Hammer,
Managing Partner and Founder of Navigator Capital Group

One of the biggest challenges we faced as a team was the lack of concrete data required to make such high level arguments. The offshore wind energy market is a completely new industry in the United States and to date, there are no completed commercial projects up and running for us to be able to pull realized data from. Consequently, we had to conduct several weeks of in-depth research to start piecing together patterns and eventually formalize our recommendations. Luckily, our class structure was set up perfectly to help us further our understanding of the market and also helped us to appreciate just how realistic our recommendations were. Our class structure provided two days of expert panel round tables where we were able to speak with several industry experts one-on-one to not only bounce ideas off of but help us to understand from an industry perspective what the realistic next steps would be for our company given our outlined recommendations.

This process was extremely critical to our success as the experts often brought up more issues for us to consider than ones they helped us to solve. In one of our first set of round tables, for example, our experts supported our research but felt that our direction needed more fine tuning. The nature of offshore wind in the U.S. is so immensely complicated because of the different state and federal regulations, tariffs and incentives between the various coastal states. Each state also has varying water depths, wind speeds and marine species that also make entering as a foreign market player very challenging. It was with this in mind that our experts recommended that we aim for a licensing agreement rather than our initial concept of a joint partnership.

If our Swedish company partnered with a local agent, there are a lot of external factors that need to be taken into account, and the capital needed to support this type of venture is extremely costly. One of our experts from the U.S. Department of Energy also mentioned that the negotiation process for companies currently looking to partner in offshore wind were extremely lengthy; some lasting as long as 12 years with no achievable consensus in sight. It was with this in mind that we began to explore licensing as an option for Hexicon AB. With licensing, Hexicon would be able to reach a wider market across the U.S. coastline while also being able to realize returns in a much shorter timeframe. This would also allow Hexicon the opportunity to build up U.S. brand recognition in this niche market, which was adamantly encouraged by our experts.

Without the insights of these experienced individuals, we might never have considered licensing. And while this suggestion meant several more weeks of researching and fine-tuning, it also made our consulting recommendation that much more beneficial for our client. Sometimes the best advice is one that challenges preconceived notions. By bringing up more issues for us to consider, rather than just addressing the questions we proposed, these experts allowed us to expand our thinking beyond the basics of what the client asked for and into the realm of real consulting. 

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