Long Run Works' CEO Guy Pattison co-created the Clean + Cool mission to help the UK’s best cleantech and sustainability SMEs grow faster. The mission develops new products and services that provide positive solutions for the environment. Every year the Clean + Cool Mission takes fast moving, visionary cleantech companies to Silicon Valley where they meet potential investors and partners, raise their ambition and become a part of a growing community of cleantech heroes.
The companies that are taken to San Francisco are selected through open competition to showcase the best of the UK, and they are given help to strengthen and develop their story and pitch before the mission. They will then spend a week in the company of other CEOs of pioneering early stage businesses in the global epicentre of technology innovation and investment.
Greenhouse interviewed Guy Pattison to find out what drives the Clean + Cool mission and the challenges that they face.
Tell us about Clean + Cool - what's your mission?
Help UK cleantech SMEs grow faster by being in the right place, at the right time, with the right story.
What drives you?
Growing good ideas. And helping other people grow theirs. It took a while to figure out how, but I found my niche at the intersect of innovation and purpose, where I can use my story making skills to find new ways to champion change. It combines my love of enterprise, technology and a need to do good.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Surviving the leap from a successful career in sports sponsorship to cleantech.
What are the challenges you face?
Right now, top of the list is finding new ways to help scientist, technologist and engineer CEOs overcome some of the human challenges to innovation, such as bringing a vision of the future to life and telling a story that resonates. The first step is proving the problem is real and worth addressing as much as the technical and financial challenges they also face.
What are you working on that's getting you fired up and excited?
We’re planning the next – our sixth – Clean + Cool mission to San Francisco Bay Area this summer. Each entrepreneur mission is different in content, destination and personalities but the energy and buzz you get from spending a week with 16-20 CEOs of the UK’s most promising cleantech companies at the top of their game is unbeatable. It reminds me of the feeling of working with the best winning teams in elite sport. You know it’s a special moment.
I also know this mission will be special because of the anticipation building on the other side of the Atlantic. We spent a week in the US in January, arriving on the day of Trump’s inauguration and there is even more determination from the public and private sector in California to make cleantech a success. The spirit of openness and willingness to cooperate between likeminded people was on another level.
What can we, as individuals, do to make a difference?
Celebrate heroic behaviour. I think the UK needs to do more to celebrate its cleantech heroes and that starts with us in the ‘green community’ recognising the innovators amongst us. We need them to keep taking risks and we should encourage them to do so as often as we can.
How is what you are doing inspiring change in others?
One of the most powerful things that I think Clean + Cool does, through the entrepreneur missions, is give CEOs the opportunity to spend a week away from their desks and day job in San Fransisco, and the time and space to get to know each other. It’s brilliant to watch the energy flow and ideas spark between them as they share their hard won stories of failure and success, open up their networks and find opportunities to help each other.
Can you recommend a life- or game-changing book for our readers?
This is more for those readers on the fringes of the green community, but James Lovelock’s Revenge of Gaia struck me with such powerful clarity that I knew I had to change careers. It was nearly a life-changer for my son too, but after some debate, his middle name is James not Lovelock.
What do you listen to when you're cooking dinner?
Foo Fighters if I’m home alone, Frozen if the kids are helping.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
The story is never done. It made me feel ok with feeling restless and moving between wanting to tinker with the minutiae to make something perfect and moving on to try something big, bold and brand new. It also helped me, for the first time, to see my profession as a craft and my opportunity to make things with long run value as well as short term impact.
Can you leave us with who'd be your Eco Hero?
Currently I have 75! Each of the CEOs that have come away with us as part of Clean + Cool. They make life difficult for themselves by quitting well paid jobs, remortgaging houses and taking massive risks to solve our society’s biggest challenges.
If you are an ambitious cleantech company with an innovation that benefits the environment and would like to apply to the Clean + Cool competition then apply here by April 13th to join the Clean + Cool Mission to San Francisco Bay Area June, 10-17.Greenhouse supports cleantech entrepreneurs and small businesses with PR such as Climate Action with the Sustainable Innovation Forum at COP21 and the launch of the revolutionary Rasa hydrogen car for Riversimple. We’re always interested to hear about new cleantech and innovative projects coming up, so if you’re company looking for PR support do get in touch.