While the core values are unalterable, the four pillars of e.quinox are interchangeable. Nevertheless, they cannot be removed altogether, and all e.quinox projects must fulfil them to a certain degree. While some projects can endorse some pillars more fully than others, they can never fully ignore either one of them and need to always deliver at least some aspects of them. In essence, these are guidelines which form the ‘pillars’ upon which every project is built and these are made to ensure projects avoid drifting off course from the general vision of e.quinox.
One of most basic characteristics of e.quinox is its non-profit nature. The organisation aims to tackle real world issue (rural electrification most notably) by developing innovating solutions to help solve these problems. Furthermore, achieving sustainability is of utmost importance both in the operations sense and the environmental sense. It is crucial that projects are long-lasting and do not create any long-term problems. It is also important that environmental concerns are factored into e.quinox projects and the organisation always strives to produce ‘clean energy’ and have minimal environmental impact for large scale projects. It must also be ensured that ‘true value’ is given to the customers using e.quinox schemes, and that all members act professionally and take the needs of the people they are working with very seriously. Finally, following from the open-source nature of the organisation, great importance must be given to ensuring others may learn from what e.quinox has achieved and develops. This would allow the ideas and solutions being developed at e.quinox to benefit a greater number of people.
Student Engineering and Learning
This pillar flows directly from the second core value. As the organisation is student-run, it must ensure its members are given an invaluable experience throughout the project. Ensuring students learn and improve their skill-set while involved with e.quinox is of great importance. Projects should be giving students the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge in real-world scenarios and see the introduction of products all the way through: from the planning stage to the implementation stage. This gives valuable engineering as well as entrepreneurial opportunities for students that cannot be understated. By providing the opportunity of taking on many responsibilities, e.quinox wants to create future leaders that can influence changes in the world. Encouraging students to push on with their ideas and even spin-off into full-fledge businesses is one of e.quinox’s primary goals.
In order to ensure that external entities are inspired by the ideas being pursued by e.quinox and are encouraged to push them forward, projects must be worthwhile from an economical perspective. As previously explained, projects should always aim to be self-sustainable during operations, generating enough income to be run without any external capital dependence. Going forward, projects should also aim to generate a return on investment in order to encourage more people to pick them up and replicate them in a larger scale. As such, smart and effective business models must be put in place in order to also ensure that the products are affordable to the end customers and answers their needs without abusing this position of power. This is why e.quinox is categorised as a ‘social enterprise’ and not a regular charity organisation. Projects must always be well budgeted and planned in order to be executed professionally and timely, so that funds have the greatest possible impact. This is why business plans with strong financial models are required from every project prior to their implementation.
Market Research and R&D
This pillars flows directly from the third core value: the open source nature of e.quinox. The organisation can sometimes be defined as ‘student run R&D-lab’, it aims to use the creative minds of students in order to come up with innovative solutions that can have a real impact on people’s lives. Products should of course be built to a high standard and thoroughly tested before being implemented on the ground. The problem with global issues such as rural electrifications is that they often go unnoticed by large corporations. Rather than seeing this as a crisis, e.quinox sees a challenge and an opportunity to open up a new market: the ‘pre-grid market’. But due to unavailability of general information in this field, e.quinox aims to ‘take the first plunge’ and try to obtain as much data as possible on all of its implementation while also sharing them with the external community. The main goal is to remove the ‘initial barrier to entry’ for entities wishing to setup business relating to this field in order to accelerate the rate of rural electrification.