By Dean Amhaus, CEO & President
It seems fairly simple—deliver water, treat water. For an estimated 99.99% of the world’s population, that is probably what people think about as far as where water comes from and where it goes.
For those working in the water technology industry, we know that it is far more complex. There are so many aspects involved in the delivery and treatment of water; sensors, membranes, artificial intelligence, batteries, materials, coatings and the list goes on and on.
Many companies, universities and individuals across the globe are working to develop and uncover new and innovative solutions. They are all endeavoring to discover and produce a better product at a more affordable price to deliver and treat water for the citizens of the world.
While I have only been working in the water industry for a decade, the one thing that continues to amaze me is that it seems, every day, there is another great solution to be discovered. And with all the innovation happening across the globe, it is a difficult task to keep up with the advancements and new solutions. R&D teams are challenged with following multitudes of developments with modest teams and limited resources. Over this time, I have heard numerous large water technology corporations say, “We know all of the innovations that are out there!”
But do they?
The Water Council recently compiled some statistics following the completion of our most recent Tech Challenge competition. I was struck by the fact that after three competition rounds, the innovation teams from A. O. Smith, Badger Meter and Zurn had selected 38 companies from 10 different countries as having novel solutions worth further exploration and possible incorporation into their R&D programs.
With these results, it seems that they have uncovered some promising gems.
The individuals from our three sponsor companies have expressed how impressed they are with the quality of the submitting companies and the outreach that has occurred across the world. Their one request, which I take as a welcome challenge, is, “Can you find us more solutions from Asia?”
My response? Yes, we will!
The beauty of the Tech Challenge program is that these new discoveries are now part of the innovation pipelines for A. O. Smith, Badger Meter and Zurn. Expanding their pipelines of potential solutions is a valuable competitive asset.
So, if a water tech company’s R&D team claims to know all the innovations in the world, ask yourself, do they really?
It seems there are a plethora of solutions across the world waiting to be discovered, but the only way to really know is to get engaged. Does it nag you that you may be missing something and that your competitor is getting a competitive advantage? Think about it.
All a company has to do to tap into these gems is join The Water Council’s Tech Challenge program as a Sponsor. You’ll be able to help shape future challenge topics and share the wealth of the innovation pipeline for yourself!
For potential sponsors and applicants alike, our next Tech Challenge is coming up soon and will launch again in the fall. Want to learn more? Contact me and we can help you connect into this proven program!