Pivot Partners With CU Denver Students to Power Sustainability Efforts
By Pivot Energy May 8 2020
Pivot Energy is always looking for new and valuable ways to engage with our communities. Workforce development and renewable energy education are at the forefront of Pivot’s strategy as we continue to grow our team and expand into new regions. When the Best for Colorado program advertised the opportunity to partner with University of Colorado (CU) Denver students on a sustainability project, we knew it was the perfect match.
Throughout the duration of the project, Pivot provided the students with a working knowledge of how a solar company works – both operationally and culturally. Along with regular internship opportunities, University partnerships pave the way for students and non-solar professionals to get their foot in the door. Solar is a relatively young industry with policies that vary by state. For these reasons, the industry can often seem intimidating and confusing to the general public. Other companies like Pivot can use student partnerships to expose more people to solar earlier in their careers, thereby making the industry more accessible to future clean energy advocates.
The CU Denver students were able to deliver impactful project results that will inform our subscriber value proposition and future marketing efforts. We encourage other companies and organizations to seek out ways to get involved with your local communities to keep learning and growing!
“As part of the capstone project for our Sustainability Change Leadership course, we had the opportunity to team up with a local, sustainably-focused business to collaborate on a project to enhance that company’s sustainability practices,” said James Wallace, a CU Denver Marketing student. Led by members of Pivot Energy’s Triple Bottom Line (3BL) Committee, the student team focused their project on developing strategies to engage and analyze Pivot’s stakeholders.
As a local B Corporation (B Corp) and leader in sustainable business practices, Pivot was the ideal partner for the students’ project. By attending 3BL Committee meetings, creating stakeholder maps, and discovering value propositions, the students were exposed to how Pivot integrates sustainability into its business model.
“Our goal is to achieve balance between people, planet, and profit. That balance serves as a key component of our company culture; our employees have fully embraced it, and we believe it to be one of the secrets to our success.” – Rick Hunter, Chief Strategist and Founder
For the project, the team focused on one key element that would improve Pivot’s B Impact score. To achieve this, they identified customer engagement, communication, and feedback as an important area that could be developed. They started with initial research and investigated what benefits and value propositions aligned most with their Commercial and Industrial (C&I) community solar subscribers. They surveyed C&I subscribers as their primary method of research and data collection.
The results showed that Pivot’s assumptions about what their subscribers valued were correct. However, the top value proposition varied per subscriber. For some entities, cost savings and economic benefits were the most important, while others are working to meet renewable energy goals or demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices. This data will help Pivot connect more with their subscribers by structuring products and services to meet subscriber needs.
Working with the students was a great experience for the Pivot team! They helped us assess key aspects of our subscribers which will lead to better product design. Additionally, the students benefitted from testing theories learned in real-world situations. They learned how Pivot uses B Corp values in its everyday operations.
Reflecting on his experience, James said “Pivot staff ensured an inclusive and collaborative culture throughout the experience, even in the wake of a global pandemic that forced all of our communication online. This experience gives us hope for our careers that finding a company that demonstrates real ethical practices is possible. Pivot demonstrated that having people and planet working in tandem with profit can benefit a firm exponentially more than one solely focusing on profit.”
If you are interested in finding student partnership opportunities like this in your area, get involved with your B Local chapter!