Water. desalination + reuse

DWR MayJune 2016

Water. Desalination + reuse

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Page 6 of 36

Water Planet's story is a testament to the power of innovation. This quarter's interview with chief executive Eric Hoek (see p10) illustrates what can be achieved when the lab marries up with the boardroom. The resulting 'babies', as Hoek would have it – IntelliFlux and PolyCera – are set to go far. Such gamechangers are emerging right across the industry, as our roundup of the best and brightest ideas from global research in the desalination and water resuse field over the past 12 months shows (see p26). What conditions are necessary for innovation to flourish, and what institutional barriers hold it back? D&WR's UK-based sister title Utility Week has recently conducted research on just this issue, with some of the leading figures in the country's water, energy and gas businesses. Surprisingly, it found that while getting the right level of investment was crucial, culture and governance was even more important: "Despite varying levels of investment across different market segments and organisation types, all participants in this research agreed that investment itself is not a barrier to innovation in their organisation. Far more challenging were issues faced around building strong cultures for innovation and ensuring the benefits of innovation are realised in business as usual," the report said. Collaboration is key to innovation - but one of the hardest elements to achieve, the report found. "The use of benchmarking tools to understand organisational approaches to innovation is sparse. This is despite those who have conducted benchmarking exercises reporting significant benefits as a result. More prefer to take an informal, ad hoc approach to abosorbing such lessons." These findings will ring true for the global desalination and water resuse industries - though they are at an advantage here, because by their very cutting-edge nature they are so close to the lab. The trick is keeping that inquisitiveness, ideas-based spirit alive when the pressures of business come calling. Water Planet's alliances with bigger beasts such as Applied Membranes and Genesys International is one effective way of doing this. As desalination seeks to become the most affordable, effective and sustainable solution for any part of the world in need of fresh water, such combinations of academic brilliance and business nous have never been more important. • D&WR's parent company, Faversham House, is applying its own principle of innovation to the title. Over the summer we'll be working hard on new content and a new look in print and online to reflect the ever-changing needs of the industry. We'll be back in print in September, intorudcing our new look and our new editor, Dr Peter Edwards, In the meantime, keep up with all the news at desalination.biz Ellen Bennett Content Director COMMENT The power of innovation ediTor'scorner | 6 | desalination & Water reuse | May-June 2016

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