Utilities Still Finding Their Stride
Tom Flaherty is a senior advisor to Strategy&, a part of the PwC network, and has consulted for more than forty years to the power and gas sectors on strategy and growth.
No word attracts more interest in today's utilities' environment than innovation. It commands attention, sparks dialogues and inspires action, all in the pursuit of differentiating strategies, positioning, and value.
This collective spotlight on innovation has evolved from an uneasy impression by utilities that ideation was occurring in the sector, but it was not being fronted by utilities. And while openly discussed over the last four years, companies often had little insight into what peers and disruptors were doing and even less about what they were achieving.
Last year's competition celebrated visible individuals driving innovation and created a number of firsts: first industry-focused publication to scan utilities for innovation examples; first industry-wide competition of those ideas and accomplishments, and first introduction of these company innovation initiatives to a broad readership.
Like other innovators, Public Utilities Fortnightly recognized interest was less about a creativity persona and more about the innovation itself. This year's competition moved beyond the individual 'who' of innovation (the architects) to the 'what' of ideation (the ideas).
Concepts to Projects
Nothing limits a utility from being innovative as a mindset complements financial capability. Consequently, innovation comes from all corners, not just the largest utilities.