‘We converted an old garage and turned it into an innovation workspace, the Hub.’
Tom Flaherty is a partner with Strategy&, part of the PwC network, with over forty years of consulting experience. Most recently, he has led assignments related to standing up innovation programs and capabilities within utilities. Steve Mitnick is Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly and author of the book “Lines Down: How We Pay, Use, Value Grid Electricity Amid the Storm.”
At the recent EEI Annual Convention, PUF's Steve Mitnick and Tom Flaherty of Strategy& sat down with five utility CEOs to discuss how they are encouraging innovation at their companies. Below is an edited transcript of the interview with Warner Baxter.
Warner Baxter is chairman, president and chief executive officer of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. During his more than 20-year tenure at Ameren, Baxter has also served in a variety of leadership roles, including chief financial officer and president of Ameren Missouri. Before joining Ameren in 1995, Baxter served as senior manager in PricewaterhouseCooper's LLP national office in New York City, serving as one of the firm's liaisons with the major accounting standard setting bodies in the United States.
Tom Flaherty of Strategy&: What has your company been doing over the last couple of years to foster innovation?
Ameren's CEO Warner Baxter: While we have been implementing innovative ideas for over one hundred years, our focus on innovation — as a dedicated initiative with co-worker teams analyzing the impact of new technologies on the future of the energy grid — started three years ago. Most importantly, we knew that if we were going to have an innovation technology initiative, it had to be focused on creating value for our customers. It had to be customer-centric.