From Selling Products to Solving Problems: Scott Jewett of Element-Y Engineering
After two or three years of engineering high quality products, Scott Jewett, CEO of Element-Y Engineering, was not seeing the success he and his business partners had hoped for. He went to his Vistage peer advisory group and informed them that he would have to close the business. But then they helped him rethink his entire strategy.
“We switched the strategy,” Jewett says, “from selling a product to solving big problems.” The day he was set to close down was the day that they got their first big contract.
“I realized that if my Vistage group didn’t get what my business was that maybe I had to change it a little bit,” Jewett went on to say. Vistage helped him to define his business model in a way that was concise, so that he could walk into a client’s office and tell them precisely what sorts of services they offered.
After several years of continuing to refine their business, Element-Y has had a number of major contracts, including one with the U.S. Army. The Army realized that its tents were severely energy inefficient, and Element-Y came in to redesign the tents, ensuring that they weren’t wasting energy on cooling soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After stumbling across a request for proposal for updating oil wells so that oil didn’t spill into the ocean, theirs was chosen out of a pool of more than 1,200 proposals. Though they thought they were out of their league — up against major research labs and universities — they landed the gig, and business started booming.
Element-Y has since partnered with a hundred billion dollar company and continues to engineer game-changing designs and register exciting new patents. They have been called the “Magellan of innovation,”all because they became as specific as possible when describing what it was that they offered.