The Water Tower (TWT), in partnership with global consulting firm Arcadis, hosted a group of international water and wastewater utilities on October 18-19 for one of a series of three workshops to advance innovation initiatives in the water sector. Over 35 participating utilities and partners are contributing over $465,000 in monetary and in-kind support to complete a one-year global research project with the goal of presenting utilities with a roadmap of best practices for successful innovation programs.
A previous study led by the project team revealed that while utilities are seeing positive impacts from innovation programs, many struggle to clearly measure and communicate their value. The Water Tower and fellow research partners hope to change that.
“We’re excited to be part of this team of water leaders investigating what it takes to help innovation programs succeed,” said Melissa Meeker, CEO of The Water Tower. “The project will ultimately guide water utilities in making the business case for innovation to benefit their communities.”
This project, titled “Leveraging Utility Innovation Performance Measures for Program Management and Organizational Transformation (TWTI-21-01)” is TWT’s first collaborative research project. The Arcadis-led project team includes water utility partners from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Brazil as well as Rogue Water and Means Consulting. The team is conducting surveys and workshops on best practices for innovation programs within and outside of the water sector. The project has support from a technical advisory panel of representatives from the American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation, Association of Metropolitan Agencies, Water Research Foundation, and Water Services Association of Australia.
The team’s lead investigator, Jason Carter, P.E. with Arcadis, added: “We believe a project that combines powerful organizational storytelling tactics with performance measurement into field-tested and easy-to-use roadmaps will provide a critical resource for utility innovation leaders.”
The findings of the workshop at The Water Tower, the virtual workshops, and the survey will feed into resources that utilities can use when crafting a narrative to their leadership and staff surrounding the importance of establishing a program for innovation and idea generation to ultimately deliver a high quality of life for their customers.
For more information on events and programs at The Water Tower, visit www.theh2otower.org.
The Water Tower consists of two nonprofit organizations: The Water Tower at Gwinnett, a 501(c)4 – responsible for the development and operations of the campus, and The Water Tower Institute, a 501c3 – responsible for solutions, instruction, and engagement programming. Together, these entities are cultivating an ecosystem of water innovation fueled by imagination, informed by research, and powered by pioneers. The Water Tower brings together public and private sectors of the water industry, side by side with academia and nonprofits, to tackle the industry’s greatest challenges. Learn more at: www.h2otower.org.