Making a difference doesn’t always mean changing the entire world – though that certainly is desirable and ideal. Sometimes it can be as simple as the small changes we make in our own lives and encouraging others, who then go on to do the same, and so on, creating a snowball of goodness that just keeps getting bigger and more powerful.
Laurence Kemball-Cook, the Founder and CEO of Pavegen has adopted this philosophy to build a more sustainable world.
In the following interview, Laurence explains how Pavegen is contributing to a better world through its revolutionary idea of generating renewable energy through footsteps. The conversation also highlights his journey, the creative way of implementing the technology, how the company sailed the seas of the pandemic, and how technology is ushering in a new era of a better, sustainable world.
Please brief our audience about Pavegen, its USPs, and how you are achieving your mission to make your technology available to all communities and empowering people for a better world.
Pavegen is creating a more sustainable world using the power of a simple footstep. Our USP’s are strengthening communities using data analysis, showcasing sustainability through experiences, rewarding behaviors through gamification, and promoting wellbeing through sustainability.
We are achieving our mission by working on international projects across the world. Over 200 installations in 37 countries. Using it as a tool for education, building smart cities of the future, integrating our technology into everyday experiences in transport hubs and building partnerships with established and well-recognized brands to build trust.
Shed some light on your offerings and how they impact the industry and your clients?
We offer sustainable technology that can produce a small amount of electricity thanks to our kinetic tiles that uses the impact of footsteps to create 3-5 joules of renewable energy. This energy can be used to contribute towards powering lighting fixtures, screens and monitors, USB charging points, and so on.
The impact on industry and clients is not focused on energy input or output. We focus on the engagement, interaction, experience and education side of things. In addition, we use gamification and experiential marketing as our main tools to promote sustainability.
In the main our technology impacts behavioral change for citizens who want to become more sustainable.
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies has impacted the green tech space and what more could be expected in the future?
Behavior change is key to progress. We need people to put pressure on their governments and the businesses they buy from to get real change. Many businesses do care and do a lot of good things, Patagonia is a great example. A lot of companies will only act if forced too. Let’s vote with our feet and only visit businesses with visible signs of green technology. Pavegen believes in sustainability and reducing CO2 emissions, it is why we exist. We are a global leader in driving change and forcing people to think about the climate issue.
In addition to technology that focuses on drawing attention to sustainability, the continuous development and reduction in cost of renewable energy is a key driver to change. Getting the train to COP26 I will see a number of solar and wind farms, which I don’t just think are beautiful, but wonderful in equal measure. And it isn’t just farms, plenty of private homeowners have solar now, heat-pumps and even, space permitting, wind turbines. It is wonderful to see.
In the future, I see tech playing a role, a bigger role campaigning and drawing attention to the climate issue. From AR to immersive experiences, tech will help us push things forward.
Considering the current pandemic, what initial challenges did Pavegen face, and how did you drive your company to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?
We didn’t furlough any staff. We kept everyone on the payroll, and we continued to work as normal. Well, as normal as we could.
As we couldn’t travel, we couldn’t install Pavegen. Ironically, given the streets were empty, it would have been a great time to install, although not employ the Pavegen technology. However, we felt it was important to find a solution to installing the technology, so it was ready as the world opened up again. We developed the tech so it could be installed remotely. A huge technical advancement in our technology and a massive transition for the business. This has cut our lead-in time dramatically. Meaning we can install all over the world, simultaneously. Something that has transformed the business.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the green tech market?
Capital is king. Without it you can’t run a business. If your tech is truly green you will find investors who are only too willing to support, you. Get your product out there and look for investment to get you off the ground.
How do you envision scaling Pavegen’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
We have been around a while now. We have a bank of data that we are using to refine our audience and build a customer profile so we can be a lot surer of who wants our product and why they want it. We have found the product is used more for the promotion of sustainability than the reduction of energy. This is something we have been slowly transitioning to over the past 12-months and something we’ll continue to do as we head into 2022 and beyond.
About the Leader
Laurence Kemball-Cook set out with a clear mission; to produce clean, off-grid electricity all through the power of a simple footstep. Invented as an original, revolutionary technology, over 750 prototypes were created, and eventually, in 2009 a kinetic floor tile that could generate clean electricity was born.
Inspired by the desire to aid climate change, whilst still at Loughborough University, our founder, Laurence, won a placement with a major European energy company set with the challenge of looking at renewable energy solutions for street lighting.
Around this time, Laurence was regularly using Victoria train station, which has around 75 million visitors rushing through it each year. He realised that there might be potential to harness some of that human kinetic energy and convert it into off-grid electricity.
From there, he developed the first Pavegen prototype in his Brixton bedroom, a rectangular device that contained a single generator. But as an unproven technology, he had nowhere to validate his invention. Laurence made a risky decision to install a Pavegen tile on a building site, without permission. He took some photos, posted them online, and then used social media to push his revolutionary technology looking for investment. It worked.
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