Thomas Hillig graduated with a PhD in Business Administration. He comes from a consulting background and worked at Alstom Power in the strategy department. He has also worked as a VP Sales and Marketing at Innotech Solar before founding THEnergy in 2013. His main consulting topics are innovation in the energy sector (market entry, go-to-market strategy, communication), digitalization, sustainability, CSR, microgrids, smart grids, energy storage, hydrogen and renewables.
How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?
My key topics are innovation in the energy, sustainability and mobility sectors. I pulled together the various experiences that I made in my career before including:
- Consulting skills
- Onsite power generation at Alstom Power
- Renewables at Innotech Sola
- Market research background for providing market insights
When I founded my consultancy THEnergy, it was a really focussed approach. The main topic was onsite renewable energy microgrids for remote mines: a big cultural gap between miners and renewable energy players but gained incredible interest from many stakeholders such as utilities, oil and gas companies, energy providers, investors, manufacturers and of course mining companies. I wrote more than one hundred articles in the mining and energy press – and as a by-product my social media followership on LinkedIn and Twitter was growing quickly. We talk mainly about people that are interested in innovations to fight against climate change: from utility CEOs to industrial off takers. This interesting mix allowed also very quickly to help companies regarding market entry for other cleantech innovations – not only renewables for mining.
What topic areas are you most passionate about?
I think that climate change is the biggest challenge that we are facing,and it is so important to act now. I am convinced that technology can play a crucial role – even though we probably also need to adapt our behaviour. In the long run, sustainability creates business and economic prosperity. I think it is incredibly thrilling to work as a consultant on these various interfaces.
Market entry is a unique topic where consultants can help a lot. Typically, companies are not very often in situations where they enter new markets or bring new products to the market. It is no surprise that they often do not have the necessary skill set inhouse. I am really passionate about this consulting segment because I see that my work can really make a difference.
Which influencers influence you within those key topics?
Within those topics I would see mainly industry experts and academics as information sources – and as influencers.
Outside of your key topics who else influences you?
Within these key topics, I am influenced by many influencers: from CEOs of leading companies to activists like Greta Thunberg – sometimes it is just by putting a topic on the agenda. It does not always have to be about expert knowledge.
How would you describe your offline influence?
I regularly speak at conferences and write articles and op-eds. I hope that I also have some influence in group discussions, face-to-face conversations and other networking activities. Probably my offline influence is also rather big in my consulting projects when I consult some of the biggest brands regarding innovative solutions such as microgrids, smart grids, hydrogen, energy storage, and renewable energy solutions.
If a brand wanted to work with you, what offline / online activities would you be most interested in?
My day job is still traditional consulting. I am really passionate about helping companies bring cleantech innovations to the market. There are many tools that could make sense – depending on the actual case. Sometimes the issues are more on the strategic or analytical side which would then be more about my traditional consulting work. But sometimes it really is about actions to increase awareness and trust. Here we could discuss whitepapers, video interviews, on-site coverage, or performance analysis of existing references – often ideally combined with social media activities.
What’s your best source of information for getting ahead of a story?
Regarding sources I am still a bit old fashioned. The best sources are still actual industry experts. In order to really understand a topic thoroughly, I have to speak to people and discuss it with them.
What brands have you worked with?
Over the years I have worked with many big brands such as Total, Siemens, Schneider Electric, Voith Hydro, IBM, ABB, Innogy, Uniper, SMA, and Kokam, but also with many smaller start-ups to bring their products to the market. I also do quite a lot of work for investors, to evaluate the economic value of innovations or the future prospects of their investments in innovative companies.
Which non-paid activities would you be keen to take part in if the opportunity raised your profile or delivered value to your audience?
Speaking opportunities at conferences and industry events could be of interest to me – any my audience. In general, exclusive insights that go beyond the ordinary are always very interesting.
What are your passions outside of work?
I like sports. I am a mountain addict: rock climbing, hiking, skiing – more and more backcountry skiing. I try to reduce travelling due to climate change, but I have to admit that I still like it a lot.
What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?
Do not hesitate to send a contact request on LinkedIn or email me at email@example.com.