Traditional electric utilities are on the verge of facing massive competition. The barriers to entry have fallen and a large number of new and old companies have entered the power generation business.
Numerous and diverse competitors – non-utilities – have already entered the electricity business. Wind farms are expanding. More than a hundred Silicon Valley startups are developing new power technologies. Many of these have venture capital funding. Several like the Bloom Box fuel cell, have the potential to transform the industry by bringing power generation to the home.
Real estate companies and builders are supplying rooftop solar on new homes. Schools, government buildings, and businesses are deploying their own solar panels. Chevron Energy Solutions, a Chevron subsidiary, is one of the nation’s largest installers of solar energy systems for education institutions
Tie this to consumer and business resistance to higher energy prices and an increasing drive to seek out lower cost alternatives and we will soon see the competitive floodgates open putting the traditional players with big traditional infrastructure investments at risk.
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It is not clear where all of this is going to go. Everything is in the mix – technology, the economy, politics, globalization and societal trends towards “green and clean”. The government plays a big part with its energy policy along with regulation, subsidies and incentives for varies parts of the industry.
The one factor that is common to the longer-term success of each player in this industry is the adaptability of its corporate culture. In this environment it must have a culture characterized by 5 traits:
- Customer understanding and insight
- Competitor awareness and foresight
- Peripheral vision of industry changes and impacts
- Strategic alignment around value for all stakeholders
- Collaborative and empowered workforce
Those players that have these 5 cultural traits embedded in their DNA will be able to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions and challenges in this disruptive industry. Those that don’t will disappear or be acquired.
Could your business survive in a competitive free-for-all like this? Does it have the 5 traits required for success in any industry undergoing major market and technology shifts?