INNOVATION is defined by Wikipedia as “the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs.” (Note the words: better, new and unarticulated in this definition!). Utility Horizons believes that the time for looking back to see what was done in the past when confronted with a challenge — the ‘Case History’ mindset so widely embraced in the past — is just that, the past. At this point, we must look forward to go forward.
With so many new challenges coming from all directions, most utilities are understandably looking to the safe havens and comfort zones established in the last century for solving the problems of this new millennium. However, it is quickly becoming clear that entirely new challenges such as electric vehicles, renewables integration, safety and environmental mandates, natural resource constraints and many other twenty-first century issues cannot — and will not — be resolved by ‘business as usual’ solutions. The answers to these and other emerging challenges require inspiration and direction that will only be found by driving Innovation in the here and now!
Utility Horizons is dedicated to exploring and exploiting the interrelationships between Education + Innovation, which together represent the future of the utility industry. As that future evolves, innovation in automation and information technology will necessarily play a much larger role as utilities increasingly face a new and uncertain future. Why necessarily? Mainly, because the traditional resources for dealing with challenges (i.e., people and money) are in very short supply. Years of deferred infrastructure investment and the now rapid pace of utility staff retirements has all but eliminated the possibility of doing things the ‘old fashioned’ way.
Today, automation presents not only a good, economical, comprehensive — and most important, readily available — source of problem-solving tools, in many cases it is the ONLY choice in a resource-constrained world. Don’t wait… INNOVATE!