At our recent event ETS EPIcenter’s CEO, Kimberly Britton joined Zpryme’s Senior Marketing Director, Ricky Murray for a discussion on how Sustainability, Customer Empowerment, Optimization, Resilience, and Electrification(S.C.O.R.E.) are key factors to innovation. Before taking the stage, Kimberly spoke with people at the event about innovation in the utility industry. Below is her list of the top 5 mistakes the industry is making when it comes to innovation and the top 5 elements utilities can implement to bolster their innovation success. Bonus features include best quotes from her pulse survey of the crowd.


Countdown of top 5 mistakes utilities make when trying to innovate according to Kimberly Britton:


5 – Lack of purpose: activity without purpose and focused commitment leads to total disaster.

“Competition without real-world problems to solve or no plans for the exploration of the winning ideas; now what?”

4- Veering outside of the lane but not asking for directions. Many utilities are naturally risk averse and steer away from fresh minds with diverse sets of skills that are willing to take risks.

“Attempting to apply process well-suited to mature technologies to new and unproven technologies leads to analysis paralysis and massive frustration”

3 – Calling innovation “everyone’s job” or designating one person the guru of all things innovative. Innovation has to be defined in meaning, direction, and objective specifically for each organization.

“Often utilities don’t define innovation and then like to say it’s everybody’s job”

2- Only considering the financial return of investment (ROI) as opposed to a holistic evaluation of ROI like learning, leadership development, and organizational cultural development.

“Not taking into account the possible secondary benefits of a technology investment” & “Thinking all innovation is about new technology”

1- Resisting new methods of solving issues: If you don’t address the internal cultural issues of an organization and pursue innovation with the same old mindset you will find frustration and defeat.

“[not creating] a safe environment in which experimentation and occasional failure is encouraged”


5 essential elements to innovation:

  1. Leadership buy-in and support
  2. Clear alignment with organizational strategy
  3. Defined process and funding 
  4. Right team at the table
  5. Right mindset


Ultimately, the key to success is a defined objective and process but more importantly it is the people. Having the right mindset and the right people to take along the journey will ensure reaching objectives and goals successfully.