The Dream Team
We sat down with Brett Holland and James Swope, the dream team behind Lightning Lab Electric.
In their day jobs, Brett is Creative HQ’s Head of Acceleration and James is one of our expert Innovation Consultants but for Lightning Lab Electric, they’re taking on the roles of Programme Director and Programme Manager respectively.
Right now, they’re your main point of contact for any and all questions related to applications.
FOR LIGHTNING LAB ELECTRIC WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
JS: I am most excited to get the teams in the building and start working on giving value to each of them. I am even more excited about what we can accomplish as a cohort and what the ventures who make it can accomplish as companies.
BH: I’m most excited about bringing innovative solutions to an industry that knows it will be changing rapidly. We have turned the corner on getting interest from the electricity sector. Now the combination of curiosity and fear are driving people to be innovative. I want this programme to show the industry what is possible.
WHO SHOULD APPLY FOR LIGHTNING LAB ELECTRIC?
JS: Anyone with an ambitious itch they want to scratch.
BH: If you want to solve a problem in the electricity industry and are willing to try innovative new approaches to doing that, you should apply. So, that includes start-ups who want to take on the world, existing businesses who want a hyper-effective product lab to bring concepts to market, and corporates who want their top people to work like a startup to move the needle on some disruptive ideas.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU DON’T HAVE A TEAM?
JS: A lot of people with talent in different areas don’t have teams. That is ok and it doesn’t mean you can participate in the accelerator. On our website, we have a section where you can explain what skills you have and we can hopefully pair you up with a team that you compliment well.
BH: We are very good at helping you understand what you need for a highly effective team. We can also help you find like-minded people to help you either join a team or fill out the roles you need on your team. Please contact us as soon as possible to let us help you.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR APPLICANTS?
JS: My top tip for applicants is reach out to me or Brett to ask whatever questions come to mind. We want to help you build the best application you can build.
BH: Start the process now. Don’t wait to start. Starting early shows initiative. You can iterate all you want on your application before you finalize it. Also, keep in mind that the application is only a basic first part of the process. After you apply, we will talk to you some more to get to know you, then we will select the teams to that will go to interviews. It is ultimately the interviews in front of our selection panel (made up of industry experts, investors, entrepreneurs and the management team) that will determine who gets into the programme. Finally, let your personality and sense of adventure stand out.
WHAT’S THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE ELECTRIC INDUSTRY?
JS: I want to efficiency improved in all areas of the electricity market, I find electrical vehicle and artificial intelligence solutions being brought forward.
BH: Too many in the New Zealand electricity industry have felt insulated and protected from the world. Stability has been the norm for a long time. But disruption does not respect borders and miles of ocean. I want to see an industry that recognizes and utilizes New Zealand’s abundant resources of agility, curiosity, creativity and social good. If the electricity industry can do that, we can become an exporter of great innovation in this sector and attract even more talent into the industry and to our shores.
IF THERE WAS A SONG TO SUM UP LIGHTNING LAB ELECTRIC WHAT WOULD IT BE?
JS: That is a tough question, I am stuck between two.
Electric Feel by MGMT because it has great vibes and is a solid pun:
The other would be Give It All by Rise Against because it will be a lot of hard work where everyone involved will be giving everything they have.
BH: Thunderstruck by AC/DC. Check out this video of the song being done by two cellists:
Now imagine that the audience are the electricity industry and the cellists are the teams in the lab. That sums it up for me.
Think you’ve got what it takes?