Excited about HPC’s Market Innovation Forum

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HPC Market Innovation ForumLast week, I had the pleasure of attending the Home Performance Coalition‘s, “Market Innovation Forum” in San Francisco. There was some interesting blue sky discussion, but also some new tactical approaches along with the commitments to make them happen. HPC will report out on the ideas discussed, but I’m jumping the gun and highlighting some of the talk that captured my attention.

  • A lot of focus on the reality that many contractors need business support, from learning ways to improve marketing, sales, pricing, operational efficiency, and hiring and training, to financing to support growth and help managing cash flow. The dream: “Business in a Box
  • Very tactical: forming contractor peer groups, non-competing businesses that share the secret sauce that makes them successful. Smart business owners in the HVAC world have know this for years, and now we’ll make it happen here, too. (Contractors, if you’re not in a peer group, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to accelerate your business through the learning curve to sustainable profits.)
  • We talked about technology from several angles, technology which allows us to tackle some of the challenges we’ve had for decades, but now with better tools. We can re-explore pay for performance with ways to overcome problems attempting to implement it in the past. Smart thermostats are not only paving the way for smart homes, but also generating data that can help us deliver quality and maybe accelerate making the health-home performance connection. We can even improve marketing and sales as we move out of the horse and buggy stage and introduce the industry to this new-fangled interwebs thing, apply behavioral economics to motivate, and where people can’t take on an $80,000 project help nudge them deeper over time.
  • Speaking of data, the group highlighted many ways to accelerate valuation of efficiency in a variety of practical rather than pie-in-the-sky ways (and here’s a shout out to Elevate Energy who are certainly at the vanguard of making that happen rather than just talking about it). Appraisers and the real estate industry should be strong allies here.
  • And so should others, especially if we can increase our relevance and decrease our arrogance. Success with partnerships will increase as we improve the relevance-to-arrogance ratio as we engage.
  • We’ll likely see new market structures including aggregators to help monetize a lot more than energy. And people made commitments to better highlight the areas we’re already having success.
  • The conversation included some interesting context about emerging trends and an insightful vignette on the differences between politicians and bureaucrats.
  • The focus was tight, but HPC captured topics for future conversations.

I know others will be sharing their insights, and HPC will provide a more-detailed summary and a focal point for growing the conversation, but I wanted to share my excitement right now. It’s not always that I walk directly out of an industry event–and I mean directly–for some roll-up-the-sleeves follow-up conversation, but that’s exactly what happened here. The Home Performance Coalition is exploring a series of related forums on policy, programs, financing, health connections, and cycling through different types of markets again. For those who want to be actively engaged, this type of small group meeting is intense, but it’s a great complement to the larger conference settings. I look forward to this work invigorating our conversations at the regional event in New York in February, the National Conference in Austin in April, and in our collective work between the gatherings.

What a great way to move into 2016!

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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+

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