Utility Execs’ Roundtable: The Power of Innovation Part 2

Utility Execs’ Roundtable: The Power of Innovation Part 2

February 7, 2017
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Article first appeared in Fortnightly Magazine

Last month’s Innovation Roundtable collaboration between Strategy& and Public Utilities Fortnightly focused on how executives at five leading companies began the stand-up and execution of their innovation programs.

High expectations for innovation exist across all the companies, even though the path to ultimate program success is still to be fully designed. In only a short time, what originally defined success is continually evolving to match the requirements for market positioning.

The executives now recognize that several challenges to innovation success exist related to the role played by the utility and the time-to-market. Also important is the relationship companies want to have with risk.

And, these leaders know they have to drive innovation beyond being just a concept to becoming part of their companies’ DNA. And developing new business models that they have never considered.

Industrial companies focus on getting to market fast and think in one- or two- year windows. But the utilities industry never had to think about time-to-market and currently tends to consider a three-year plus window comfortable.

Markets move at speeds very different than companies, particularly regulated utilities. If pent-up demand is not met by utilities, someone else will step in to do exactly that. If future customer needs are not defined to enable fulfilling those needs, it will be too late to address the market at a future time.

The executives fully expect that pursuing a market future built on a foundation of innovation and a focus on commercialization will have wide-ranging impacts. Conventional wisdom suggests that the business model will fundamentally change, and it will.

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