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🔬 "The Search for the Next Breakthrough Technologies & Product Innovations in Water"

Solving Water

Photo by Nathana Rebouças / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Amanda Holloway
Guest: Dave Flinton | Senior Vice President | Xylem
Category: 🔬 Research

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[2:13] “If you go back some years, Xylem operated in some silos, frankly. And so a lot of the innovation was done solely in the business units and the collaboration across the teams could have been stronger. And on top of that, a lot of innovation was done in house. So it was not very holistic, or externally facing, didn't engage with a lot of external firms. And so those are kind of two major changes that we've made over the past […] years. This is an evolution, so it's still a work in progress. […] I think we realized several years ago that we're not going to be able to deliver all the innovation that the industry needs to solve the big water problems of the world if we try to go at it alone.

[4:12] “If you want to bring things to market very quickly, sometimes you have to partner versus try to build that all on your own. The process of building some of this stuff just takes an incredibly long time, especially if it's in adjacent areas that aren't really in your core. […] We can solve bigger problems oftentimes by working with partners. And sometimes we can solve problems in ways that we weren't even thinking about by partnering with a more diverse group of people. […] For instance, we just recently took our first commercial order for a really novel filtration tech analogy in the treatment organization […] that dramatically shrinks the footprint of the treatment process. And so it essentially allows utilities to expand the capacity of their wastewater treatment operations without needing more space. So really incredible […] footprint savings, operational savings.”

[6:57] “One of the big [partnerships] that we've just engaged in is with Esri, […] is the global leader in geospatial information. They have a lot of common customers. About 60% of their customers are utilities. So there's this really big customer synergy between them and us. […] And so we now build a lot of our software solution software applications on the back of Esri technology. So one, it speeds up our development cycle […], but two, our customers are already familiar with using Esri technology. So that integration of our solutions into customer solutions who are using Esri is really incredibly seamless.”

[9:42] “We just recently revamped our Xylem Innovation Labs. It's kind of our early stage, technical incubation team […]. And so we've got a number of strategic themes that we look at based on customer needs and gaps in our portfolio. So for instance, one of the big customer needs is around decarbonisation. Everybody is interested in reducing their carbon footprint, having a more sustainable operations. And so one of the themes in that […] early stage technologies scouting group is around carbon reducing technologies. […] One of the other pillars inside of that early stage technology group is around advanced treatment. If you look at our treatment portfolio, it's fairly limited. […] And so if you think about all of these emerging contaminants, like PFOS, lead, etc, those are going to require more advanced treatment technologies. And so that is […] a gap in Xylem’s overall portfolio.”

[11:18] “The application of digital technologies, obviously, will bring tremendous value to our customers and the industry in terms of efficiency, cost reductions, carbon reduction, etc. And so one [goal] is to continue to digitize our portfolio. […] The second big thing out is how do we bring more breakthrough solutions to market faster? What I mean by breakthrough is technology products, solutions that are completely new to market. They solve problems that customers have in ways that don't exist. And that is one of the big reasons why we have such a large effort at scouting and working with early stage startups and universities to be on the cutting edge of these breakthrough technologies.”

Rating: 💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 21 min | 🗓️ 01/10/2022
✅ Time saved: 19 min