Forging Effective Alignment
Tom Flaherty is a Senior Advisor to Strategy&, part of the PwC network, with over forty years of experience consulting to utilities. Most recently, he has focused on disruptive technologies and innovation models.
Innovation is a relatively new theme for the utility industry, connoting thoughtfulness, creativity, risk-taking and, opportunity. As a heralded archetype of enterprise purpose, it often exists separately from other longstanding processes within the business.
A challenge to innovation is not creating competing or disconnected views of the future industry and market, specifically with development and articulation of the enterprise strategy. As a capability, innovation focuses on what can be, and takes its lead from what lies immediately ahead and what is over the horizon.
It is powered by ideas believed to create advantage to the business strategically or operationally, but with high uncertainty about outcomes.
In contrast, strategy is a practiced discipline providing directional conviction and constructed around business positioning and market accomplishment. But neither strategy or innovation is effective if not directly integrated.
Integration of strategy and innovation comes through common beliefs about the future and clear market positioning of the utility. When strategy and innovation are aligned, clarity exists over market roles, investment priorities and go-to-market models.