What’s the secret of today’s high growth companies?

 In News

Neil Gibb

You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf’ is the essence of Neil Gibb’s philosophy.

The author, TEDx speaker and business coach recently stopped by to talk to the team here at Upside Energy, about social innovation in a digital world. Here are some of his insights.

According to Neil, the high growth companies of today have three key characteristics in common:


Many changes in our society are being driven by new thinking and technology. One profound but subtle change is that we are moving away from an economy based on passive consumption and towards one of active participation. Going from a consumer economy, to a social-economic one.

This is seeing a shift in business models. A change that is already evident in companies including Google, Uber and Air B&B – and indeed in our own model here at Upside.


High growth businesses have a clear social mission and come from a position of purpose. They’re not attached to what they do, but why they do it. This allows them to flex, thrive and innovate. Here is an example.

Kodak lost sight of its purpose being to capture and share experiences, not supply camera equipment. In contrast, Instagram has a similar mission and has used the technology available to create something quite remarkable. Had they stuck to their purpose, there’s no reason why that couldn’t have been Kodak.

Tesla is another example. Their mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. There is no mention of cars or batteries.


WeWork was founded in 2010 with a wish to build more than just beautiful, shared office spaces. It wanted to build a ‘community’. The company has since expanded to more than 750 locations across the world and is worth billions. Why? Because we all want to belong.

On an individual level, when we have purpose but no sense of belonging, we get lonely and it’s well documented that there’s an epidemic of loneliness in the UK right now. We want to feel we have a deep connection to something greater than ourselves. Without this, life can become frustrating and feel like toil.

In summary, a strong sense of purpose, active participation and a feeling of belonging can together be a route to happiness, as well as a force for social change and commercial success.

Our mission

Upside Energy is a mission-driven business. We are here for commercial purposes but also to do good for the planet. We want to create a new energy system for a better world and will be pushing forward our thinking on how we go about doing that, following Neil’s talk.

Neil Gibbs: The Participation Revolution: How to Ride the Waves of Change in a Terrifyingly Turbulent World

Distributed energy resourcesDevrim Celal