Overcoming The Barriers To Innovation In The Water Industry
Dawn Kristof Champney, President of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA), reviews the “Overcoming Challenges to Innovation in the Water Industry” technical session that took place at AWWA’s 2013 Annual Convention and Exhibition in Denver, CO.
The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.
Water Online Radio: What were the highlights of yesterday’s technical session on innovation?
Dawn: That was a great technical session. It was called Overcoming Challenges to Innovation in the Water Industry. It was actually an extension of what WWEMA has been working on this year in trying to tackle the barriers to innovation. We need to embrace, engage and try to bring new technologies to the marketplace to address all of the major challenges that we are facing.
One of the ways we are doing this is that we did a survey of our members and said what can we do to start to overcome them? We decided at this conference that we would have a technical discussion to talk about what the barriers are, how to overcome them and what opportunities there are to help accelerate technologies coming into the market.
The WWEMA survey identified five key barriers. The first one that we identified was the risk adverse nature of the industry. One of the speakers in the technical session said we are all striving to be that number two. Nobody wants to take that first step. Nobody wants to be first out of the gate.
Another one was dealing with procurement procedures and low bid mentality. One of the speakers said do you really want to have your surgery done by the lowest bid surgeon? Come on, you have to be realistic here.
Of course there was then dealing with trade barriers and the restricted procurement requirements that are creeping into our industry. How can we overcome those so that we can truly bring innovation to the marketplace?
There are a lot of challenges that we are trying to overcome. I think there is a lot of energy to tackle them. AWWA does take this on at this year’s conference. As a result of our technical session we have established five committees that will be working for the next year tackling these major barriers and hopefully this time next year we can report to you what we have achieved and how we have pushed the mark forward on trying to foster innovation…
Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.