Stretching Your Innovation Dollar Series: An Inside Look at a Water Utility Run Accelerator Program feat. Selwyn Rose (United Utilities)
How can water utilities help move the dial in developing new water technologies and solutions? We’ve all heard of accelerator programmes, but how can they be applied to water utilities? In this episode, we take a deep dive to answer these questions.
In this episode, we chat with Selwyn Rose, Innovation Strategy Manager for United Utilities.
This is the fourth and final episode in a series on Stretching Your Innovation Dollar, where we explore how water utilities can partner with, co-create with and empower innovators both from within their organisations and externally.
Selwyn is part of the team that runs Innovation Lab, a 3-month accelerator program that aims to bring new and groundbreaking water industry technology to market. Selwyn walks us through how the Innovation Lab works and what some of the incredible outcomes have been, not just for United Utilities but for the industry as a whole.
Meet this week’s expert
Innovation Strategy Manager
Selwyn is the Innovation Strategy Manager for United Utilities. Based in the UK, Selwyn is responsible for the development and implementation of United Utilities innovation strategy, governance of their innovation programme and working with senior stakeholders across the organisation to identify strategic business challenges & finding breakthrough technology solutions to invest in.
5:42Our sector, like lots of infrastructure sectors, we work in these long asset planning cycles. So in water, every five years is our big price-controlled, price review sort of investment pattern pace. Five years for me seemed like an insanely long amount of time. At Vodafone, five weeks was a long time, right. You come to water and suddenly it’s five years you’re planning, but we can do stuff now. So let’s crack on.
7:02So probably the biggest thing we’d be recognised for is our flagship programme which is the innovation lab. So our innovation lab is essentially an accelerator programme. We set themes. So we set topic areas that we’re interested in exploring. They’re different every time. We then go out to the marketplace and we scout internationally. We’ve had companies from all over the globe in our programme before.
9:39We were very unsure of how it would be received. This is a water and wastewater company doing something that you would normally expect the Vodafone’s and the Fintech sector and those in the retail sectors to be doing. So it was a leap.
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