We started HeatSpring in 2006.  Recently it dawned on us that doing this work is really hard, but there’s nothing we’d rather be doing.  We’re proud of what HeatSpring is, and talked about what it might become over a 100-year horizon.  I wanted to make our direction public, just in case you’re interested in some of the same big questions and want to collaborate down the road.  It’s useful to know what a company is investing in and where they are headed.

Today we’re six years into a one hundred year plan.  So far we’ve learned that long-term, mutually beneficial relationships are what make the work sustainable and enjoyable.  We’ve learned that just about anybody can get into the training business, but you have to actually like it to stick with it.  We’ve learned that change never happens as quickly as you’d like it to, but sustained effort and humility can make just about anything happen.  We’ve also learned that we like capitalism, and the more we can help others find success, the more successful we’ll be.

So what are the big ideas driving us forward into the next 94 years?

  1. We want to make a 10x improvement in Return on Training for companies in the building industry (and beyond).  Common sense application of technology, and a change in the way we think about learning, are going to make that possible.  This means blurring the lines between in-person, online, and experiential learning, plus tying training more directly to valuable core business activities.  Here are some more thoughts about Return on Training.
  2. We don’t want to invent anything cutting edge.  Instead, we want to take all of the cutting-edge ideas being tested at Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and other learning organizations, and apply best practices to simple, everyday problems (like – how can we sell more geothermal systems?).  Doing that requires asking the same basic questions over and over, like how do we get people to learn stuff and prove that it’s working?  We’re going to find out.
  3. We want to vastly expand our impact by helping others do what we do.  Trying to erect barriers around our business is old-school thinking and it doesn’t work.  Being a gigantic training company isn’t our goal – it’s to make a huge impact, build great relationships, and have interesting work to do for as long as we can.  That’s why, starting this fall, we’re going to make our learning management platform (our whole website), available to anyone in the building industry that runs classes and wants to use it.  You can register for this new, free service here.

Does any of this synch up with your long term goals?  If so, send me a note – or post something to our LinkedIn group.  Mutually beneficial collaboration is at the core of what we enjoy, and we’re in this for the long haul.  It would be hugely rewarding to help you accomplish big things.

My son was born in the early HeatSpring days, and recently Duncan commented that he couldn’t believe Luke is five.  Neither can I.  Being a parent and operating a business both require humility, perseverance, and confidence in where you’re headed.  A commitment to these things opens doors to richer and more rewarding relationships.  I hope to have the opportunity to do business with you at some point over the next 94 years.  Thanks to all the employees, instructors, competitors, partners, vendors, and friends for making the last six so much fun.