Innovation + Business Agility

Utilities must be proactive in embracing change and chasing innovation, or risk no longer being relevant and possibly failing to exist. This track will focus on technology, process and cultural changes that increase a business unit’s ability to be agile and implement practices that foster innovation across all levels of their organization.

Meet the Innovation + Business Agility Program Development Team. Learn more about the Customer + Corporate Symposium.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Showcasing Innovation
Juval Bothe, Senior Engineer, Grid Innovation, ENMAX Corporation
Kim Boynton, Senior Analyst, Data Science, Avista Corp.
Nicholas Mullen, Business Continuity Program Manager, Puget Sound Energy
Vamsi Krishna Bande, Advisor Application Analyst, Puget Sound Energy
Come hear three great stories of innovation as we celebrate and learn from the achievements and ideas of your peers! The audience will vote on the top innovation and that team will get to take home a seriously RAD trophy.

ENMAX: Interactive Capacity Planning Creates a Win-Win: ENMAX Power’s customer-centric approach to load and distributed energy resource (DER) integration.
At ENMAX, our business begins with the people who connect to our services – and we’re equally focused on how we can continually improve to address their changing needs. With DER adoption and load development continuing to grow in Alberta, our customers were asking for a more effective way to plan how, and just as importantly, where their projects will connect to our grid. Our Load and Hosting Capacity Maps project took customer input and created interactive online tools to help streamline their project planning. While these tools improved efficiency for our customers, it had additional benefits. As we gained greater insight into their requirements, we were able to adapt our services to make our business more efficient. Making this project a true win-win. Join our presentation as we outline not only the input we received and the solutions created, but how the important feedback we continue to receive from our customers is helping add value to our service.

PSE: Mobile Damage Assessment App Presenter, Nick Mullen, served in the United States Army for 24 years. His work focused on digitizing the battlefield for Joint Operations Centers in Iraq and other conflict zones around the world. In 2013, after retiring from the Army, he applied his mapping expertise to fighting a new enemy: storm systems. As a program manager at Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Nick was tasked with navigating a shifting landscape of technology. New systems spanning Outage Management, Customer Information and GIS Mapping had recently come online. While the systems operated efficiently during day-to-day business, when a storm hit, all bets were off. The Systems did not provide for hundreds of engineers leaving their desks for the field during storms. We needed to get them situational awareness on outages while quickly and efficiently sharing their damage assessments from the field with our operating bases. Join Nick and his co-presenters as they detail how they saved PSE millions of dollars by developing an internal set of dashboards and mobile apps that connected to their existing tools, while also ensuring uninterrupted service to their customers.

Avista: Expanding Our Capabilities with University Partnerships
How does a 130-year-old regulated industry attract and retain data science graduates who are pursued by the likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Tableau, Zillow, and Netflix? By sharing the plethora of data and challenges present in an industry working to address reliability, affordability, and sustainability at a time when those issues are paramount to their generation – and inviting them to help develop the solutions! Avista is engaging universities in a collaborative effort to introduce data analytics, engineering and computer science students to a world of data and innovation in an unexpected industry – utilities. The outcomes from these interactions provide invaluable experience for the students, actionable insights for Avista, and tangible benefits to the communities we serve.

Session sponsored  by:

2:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Tackling Roadblocks to Innovation
Speakers: Conrad Eustis, Principal and Founder, Reascend
Stephen Clemons, Chief Information Officer, Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Utilities are under dramatically new pressure from all angles. Utility customers are asking for more (more information, more control, more options), and utility regulations are increasing (NERC/CIP, EE, DR, EV), while financial regulation is behind on supporting Cloud IT, and we see new competitors in what has traditionally been a regulated monopoly. Multiple big oil companies are now entering our business. These changes, along with our traditional challenges of aging staff and infrastructure, have increased the pace and support required to come up with innovated solutions to tackle all of these issues. So we ask ourselves what are our roadblocks to this necessary innovation, how can we remove those roadblocks, and what solutions are utilities coming up with to remove the roadblocks? Come to our panel discussion and hear what leaders in innovation have done to try to remove the roadblocks and allow the required innovation to happen.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
How to be More Like Amazon and Innovate Faster

Speakers: Stephen Brozovich, Principal Evangelist, Amazon Web Service
How can the Energy Industry be intentional in our evolution as we expand into new lines of business?  In this session, we will learn from Amazon’s Stephen Brozovich how a culture of innovation spurs the trajectory of growth and technology by delivering the right results.  This is your How-To formula to innovate like Amazon!

Session sponsored by:

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
How to Greenlight Your Innovative Project

Speaker: Greg Zeller, Director, Customer Care, Puget Sound Energy
Jason Klotz, Manager, Regulatory and Policy Strategy, Grid Architecture, Integration and System Operations, Portland General Electric
Innovating within your utility can present challenges. During this session we will hear from utilities about their innovation projects and what it takes to turn an idea into a viable project. We will discuss fostering a culture of innovation, working through internal roadblocks, and what it takes to greenlight your innovation project.

Session sponsored by: