34 minutes | Oct 2, 2019
Episode 8 - The future of the water industry with Mel Karam
Today’s episode of our Innovation: An Endless Pursuit podcast, is a special one, as it’s the last one of our series. Over the past weeks, we have journeyed through many different innovation challenges that the water industry faces and explored how companies can respond to them. In today’s episode, Chris speaks with Bristol Water’s CEO, Mel Karam. They shift focus and zoom out a little, to look at the industry, rather than company-specific, challenges. Mel and Chris talk about how the industry is evolving and discuss where it can look for further progress. Their conversation touches on a range of topics, including the complexities of competition in the water industry, how utilities businesses can live out their social purpose and, as in our previous episodes, Mel’s punt on which of today’s innovations are likely to flop. We hope you enjoy listening to this episode and look forward to hearing what you think of it. We’re always looking for help and collaboration on our Quest and if you have any comments or thoughts we’d love to hear from you at innovation@Bristolwater.co.uk. Today's guest: Mel Karam Mel Karam is the CEO at Bristol Water. He joined the company in April 2017, from the KPMG Global Infrastructure team, where he was a Partner and Global Head of Asset Management. He is an engineer with a First Class Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and graduated with an MBA distinction from London Business School. Mel has a long history of working in senior executive positions in UK infrastructure and utilities, including British Gas, National Grid, Scottish & Southern Energy, SGN and Thames Water. He has advised infrastructure and utility executive teams and investors around the world, on M&A activities, as well as operational excellence. Mel is skilled in investment management, asset management, commercial and business development, project management and strategic leadership.
34 minutes | Sep 25, 2019
Bonus Episode - Digitisation and Sustainability
Today’s episode is a bonus, brought as a collaboration between Bristol Water, Anglian Water and Essex and Suffolk Water. It was recorded at Innovate East, a collaborative event put on to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing the water industry. This episode explores digitalisation and sustainability – these are two topics of great importance and influence in today’s world. The digital world is driven by the giant technological strides achieved by developments such as the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, robotics etc. It is all about the pursuit of efficiencies. Sustainability issues are driven by climate change and environmental degredation leading to the need to preserve resources and prioritise environmental governance. We discuss whether these two topics can ever come together and whether emerging digital technologies can help water companies deliver on their sustainability goals. We hope you enjoy listening to this episode and look forward to hearing what you think of it.
43 minutes | Sep 18, 2019
Episode 7 - Health of innovation in the water industry with Piers Clark
In today’s episode, we take a step back to look at innovation in the industry as a whole and explore how the water industry innovates, what challenges the industry is currently facing and which areas can be improved. To explore these topics, Chris is joined by the founder and chairman of Isle Utilities, Piers Clark. Their conversation explores great visions around how we can rise to the challenge of today and how the industry might make bold leaps forwards – perhaps through harvesting water from the air! We hope you enjoy listening to this episode and look forward to hearing what you think of it. We’re always looking for help and collaboration on our Quest and if you have any comments or thoughts we’d love to hear from you at innovation@Bristolwater.co.uk . Today's guest: Piers Clark Before joining Isle Utilities, Piers Clark, was the Managing Director for the private equity fund Global Water Development (GWDP), a Blackstone portfolio company. In 2006, Piers helped establish an innovative funding mechanism for technology companies, the Technology Approval Group (TAG). TAG bridges the gap between venture capital investors and the water company end-users and has resulted in over $1bn being invested in water-related cleantech companies. From 2010-2014, Piers was the Commercial Director at Thames Water, and prior to this, he was also the Managing Director of Mouchel. Currently, Piers is also a board director for Modern Water plc and OzoInnovations.
33 minutes | Sep 4, 2019
Episode 6 - Customer Service Excellence with Ben Newby and Iain McGuffog
In today’s episode of Innovation: An Endless Pursuit, we look at customer service excellence and how companies can deliver social value to the communities that they serve. Social value goes beyond the normal corporate social responsibility activities of many corporations. It’s about how companies founded on the delivery of a service for a social good make a difference to their communities. In the case of Bristol Water, we were founded in 1846 with the purpose of providing clean drinking water to all, not just the wealthy few. Achieving this original goal had a dramatic effect on the city of Bristol, ridding the city of waterborne diseases and helping to dramatically increase our productive and economic growth. In this episode Chris is joined by two of our leaders here at Bristol Water, Ben Newby and Iain McGuffog, to look at how we’re continuing to build on our social mission and where the next innovations in customer service excellence and social responsibility are going to come from. We hope you enjoy listening to this episode and look forward to hearing what you think of it. We’re always looking for help and collaboration on our Quest and if you have any comments or thoughts we’d love to hear from you at innovation@Bristolwater.co.uk . Today's guests: Ben Newby Ben is the Chief Customer Officer here at Bristol Water and focuses on ensuring we continue to provide a leading customer experience to those we serve. He looks after all customer aspects of our activities, including our contact centers, our communications teams and our recreation business. Prior to his current role at Bristol Water, Ben was the Director of Business Improvement and IT, driving transformational change across Bristol Water. When he’s not working on how to deliver a better experience for our customers, he can be found making the most of the countryside around Bristol and taking to the Bristol Channel in his sailing boat. Iain McGuffog Iain is the Director of Strategy & Regulation at Bristol Water, and has worked in the water sector since 2002. As part of his role at Bristol Water, he is responsible for water quality, ensuring we provide the best possible product to our customers. He has been responsible for helping Bristol Water produce the “Bristol Water…Clearly” long-term ambition and the “Bristol Water For All” Social Contract. Being a veteran of four water industry price reviews, his track record covers working with others on a wide range of environmental, economics, customer and regulatory topics – often all in the same conversation. As someone whose role covers both big ideas and regulatory detail, he strongly believes in recycling, mostly ideas, and connecting seemingly random topics together. You can follow him on Twitter @mcguffog_iain.
53 minutes | Aug 21, 2019
Episode 5 - Water Supply Networks with Frank Van Der Kleij and Ivan Stoianov
In today’s episode of Innovation: An Endless Pursuit we look at one of the most critical pieces of the water puzzle, our network assets - the pipes that keep the water flowing from our reservoirs to our customers taps. When you look at the challenges facing the water industry, some of the biggest are found in how we manage our network assets: keeping customers supplied with fresh drinking water, reducing leakages and preventing disruption when we have to make repairs. This is no small job when you think there’s over 4,250 miles of pipe that carry water across the Bristol area. Some of which dates back to the 1800s! To maintain our network we must continually repair, upgrade and evolve our network. Replacing old, outdated pipework with the latest innovations in network technology. This is an ongoing cycle of activity and one that we’re always looking for innovative ways to improve. Identifying and responding to how our network is running – either during incidents or in normal operation - is an area that we have developed some really exciting innovations in helping us to keep customers on supply when there are problems and reduce the stress on our pipes when there aren’t. In this episode Chris meets with two leading experts in this area, Ivan Stoianov and Frank Van Der Kleij, to discuss the size of the challenge when it comes to maintaining our networks and learn how industry and university collaborations are helping us to address the challenges of network management. We hope you enjoy listening to this episode and look forward to hearing what you think of it. We’re always looking for help and collaboration on our Quest and if you have any comments or thoughts we’d love to hear from you at innovation@Bristolwater.co.uk. Today's guests: Frank Van Der Kleij Frank is the head of Asset Risk and Planning at Bristol Water and has responsibility for Network Asset performance through risk management, development of interventions and delivery assurance for our investment program. He has an MSc in Rural Engineering from Cranfield University, a chartered Environmentalist and a committee member for the Institute of Water in the South West. He has over 20 years’ experience in Water Management and has provided consultancy services on several Non Revenue Water projects in Central and South-East Asia. Ivan Stoianov Ivan is a Senior Lecturer in Water Systems Engineering and a holder of a prestigious five-year EPSRC Fellowship. Ivan founded and leads a cross-disciplinary research group InfraSense Labs which has a current research portfolio in excess of £2.5 million. He is also the co-founder of Inflowmatix Ltd which allows utility companies to continuously diagnose the fluid dynamics in their networks in order to reduce bursts, operating costs and uncertainty in hydraulic modelling. In addition to his academic work Ivan was called as an expert witness for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. He has been asked to investigate the sufficiency of water supply and water pressure for the provision of water to the London Fire Brigade to allow them to effectively fight the fire in Grenfell Tower on 14th of June, 2017.
40 minutes | Aug 7, 2019
Episode 4 - Water Treatment with Natalie Fee and Rob Luckwell
In today’s episode of Innovation: An Endless Pursuit we look at a hugely important, yet often underestimated topic, of importance of water treatment. The quality of water in the UK has been some of the best globally for a number of decades, so people just don’t think about it too much. But ensuring that we provide the best water to our customers is no small feat and it’s our innovations in water treatment that enable us to maintain this high standard. Innovation in Water Treatment isn’t just about doing what we do better though, it is constantly changing. Our team of experienced water scientists are always on the lookout for things that could impact our water quality and are constantly assessing these to determine where we need to focus our next innovations. One of the biggest emerging topics at the moment is plastic pollution. Our love of plastic and its indestructible nature has led to its discovery in some of the most unexpected places on earth: at the bottom of the ocean, within Arctic Ice, even inside animals! It’s an area of increasing importance for the water industry – particularly when considering micro-plastics that can enter water ways – and is leading some to ask questions like “should we begin to regulate for this”. In this episode Chris speaks with two separate experts to look at both the innovations that we have seen in water treatment and the potential threat that plastic poses to our water supply. The first half of today’s episode looks at innovation in water treatment with Rob Luckwell, Water Quality Scientist here at Bristol Water. In the second half, Chris talks with Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, and discusses the scale of the plastic problem and what we can do to reduce the impact on our water environrments. We hope you enjoy listening to this episode and look forward to hearing what you think of it. About today’s guests: Natalie Fee: Natalie is an award-winning environmentalist, author, speaker and founder of City to Sea, a UK-based organisation running campaigns to stop plastic pollution at source. In 2018 Natalie was listed as one of the UK’s ‘50 New Radicals’ by The Observer / Nesta and in the same year the University of the West of England awarded her the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in recognition of her campaign work. She won the Sheila McKechnie Award for Environmental Justice in 2017 for City to Sea's #SwitchtheStick campaign and is proud to have been named Bristol 24/7’s Woman of the Year for 2018. Her book, How to Save the World for Free is due out October 2019. She can be found on Instagram as nataliefee_ and on Twitter as nataliefee Rob Luckwell: After 15 years on the job, Rob is an expert in treatment process operation and optimisation; he has a passion for customer engagement and educating on the value of water. In fact, one of his recent accolades, in 2019 Rob was awarded an outstanding business advocate award by the Lord Mayor of Bristol for services to local communities.
48 minutes | Jul 24, 2019
Episode 3 - Pursuing Efficiency with Technology with Dillan Hackett, Dan Atkins and Nick Rutherford
In today’s episode of Innovation An Endless Pursuit we look at the pursuit of efficiencies and how we can use the technology innovations that are happening across our industry and out in the wider market to provide a faster, cheaper, more efficient service. This episode dives into the hype of the 4th industrial revolution and asks what benefits it might bring. If you’re not familiar with it, the 4th industrial revolution is characterised by the interconnectivity of advanced technology, particularly where we cross the boundaries of cyber and physical and biological. In this episode Chris is joined by three experts at the cutting edge of their respective fields to talk about how the innovations of the 4th industrial revolution like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Robotics are helping both Bristol Water and others in the industry provide more efficient service for their customers. We hope you enjoy listening to this episode and look forward to hearing what you think of it. We’re always looking for help and collaboration on our Quest and if you have any comments or thoughts we’d love to hear from you at innovation@Bristolwater.co.uk. About today’s guests: Dillan Hackett is the Founder of Hackett Consulting Services (HCS), a bespoke Intelligent Automation Consultancy start up. Dillan is self taught in Software Robotics, or RPA, and before beginning his own company, worked for Symphony Ventures, a globally renowned RPA consultancy. It was there that he saw a gap in the market for RPA adoption for mid sized enterprises, using fast implementation models and by fostering self-sufficiency for clients; so in 2018 he launched HCS, with the help of Bristol Water’s business incubator ‘The Workshop’. Since then HCS has used The Workshop to help grow its employee and client base. HCS has recently been recognised as a Silver Partner of the RPA Vendor UiPath. Dan Atkins is the founder and CEO of Sonix Software, a software company based in Cardiff. Prior to Sonix Dan spent 10 years at Microsoft and a number of years consulting for financial institutions. His first project was actually readying the Bank of Ireland for Y2K if you remember that scare. He founded Sonix 4 years ago to concentrate on Gap software: filling technology needs where standard products don’t fit. Today Sonix employ 8 developers and Dan spends his time running the Research Team or training their upcoming chatbot, Theodora. Sonix are also a new member of the Bristol Water incubator. Nick is a forward thinking technology leader, a Teaching Associate at Warwick Business School and the founder of the Bristol Technology Showcase - creating a new discussion forum for the implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution and emerging technologies. Nick has been providing Technology Transformation services within the utilities industry prior to which, he spent 18 years in the automotive industry. Nick also leads a cross industry IT leadership group within the English Water Market looking at digital innovation for the largest water market in the world. We look forward to hearing what you think of this episode. If you have any comments we’d love to hear from you at Innovation@BristolWater.co.uk.
49 minutes | Jul 5, 2019
Episode 2 - Resources and the Environment: Supply and Demand with Chad Staddon and Patric Bulmer
In today’s episode we focus on Resources and the Environment – exploring the challenge of ensuring we continue to supply enough water for our ever-growing demand. Water is a precious and over-used resource and in this conversation we wrestle with the challenge of how to effectively balance supply and demand for our water. To give you a sense of the scale of the challenge, according to some sources, for each of us to just get into work each day required over 33,000 gallons of water. Multiply that by everyone who works in Bristol, the South West or the wider UK and that becomes a huge number to fathom. In today’s episode Chris is joined by two industry experts, Patric Bulmer and Chad Staddon to explore how we can solve this challenge and the innovations that are emerging to help us both increase the supply and reduce the demand that we as a society place on our water system. We hope you enjoy listening to this episode and look forward to hearing what you think of it. We’re always looking for help and collaboration on our Quest and if you have any comments or thoughts we’d love to hear from you at innovation@Bristolwater.co.uk. About today’s guests: Patric is Head of Water Resources and Environment at Bristol Water and has responsibility for the company's overall environmental performance including long and short-term water resource planning and energy management. Patric is a Chartered Environmentalist and a Fellow of the Institution of Environmental Sciences, with 28 years' experience in the water industry. Chad is Professor of Resource Economics and Policy in the Department for Geography & Environmental Management at the University of the West of England and Director of the International Water Security Network (www.watersecurity.org). Chad’s research revolves around the social, political and economic issues related to the promotion of sustainable, equitable and resilient water services. His current projects focus on the historical geography of urban water systems around the world, water-energy trade-offs in unconventional oil and gas operations, and economic policy for resilient urban water services. He is author of over 75 published works, has given more than 150 lectures around the world and is frequently called on to contribute to water policy at national and global scales We look forward to hearing what you think of this episode. If you have any comments we’d love to hear from you at Innovation@BristolWater.co.uk.