Utilities Digital Solutions Europe

VIDEO: Making innovation in water stick – Innovation Forum keynote speaker, Lars Sudmann

Tuesday, 17 October 2023

Ahead of the Aquatech Innovation Forum conference on November 6th, innovation guru Lars Sudmann speaks to Aquatech Online about the title of his book, Innovation that sticks.

Innovation that sticks

How do you make innovation within organisations stick?
How do you make sure innovation is incentivised?
How do you create innovative mindsets within teams?

These are some of the questions Lars Sudmann will be addressing during his keynote address at the Aquatech Innovation Forum on November 6th.

Based in Belgium, the advisor, speaker and executive trainer on leadership, strategy and innovation pent half of his career working in various roles in the corporate world, including at Procter & Gamble, before leaving to look at innovation and leadership from the outside.

Leading a Strategy and Transformation Council, he’s also a guest lecturer at the RWTH Aachen Business School and author of a book called ‘Innovation that sticks’.


Creating an incentive system for water

Discussing one of the potential stumbling blocks when it comes to innovation, he says that an internal incentive system is fundamental to success.

Speaking to Aquatech Online, he says: “One thing that is absolutely key is the incentive system. And what do I mean by that? That sounds theoretical but everybody who works in an organisation knows it. Is it [innovation] rewarded? Do you actually get something from being innovative? Everybody says if you have the great breakthrough innovation in there, then people get rewarded and promoted. That's true but if you look at what does true innovation look like, it requires a portfolio approach.”

Sudmann adds that doing an experiment and knowing in advance it’s going to work is not an experiment that really works for innovation.

“In your overall approach, whoever wants to bring something forward, there will be things that work and there will be things that don't work. And people very often, depending on what is rewarded, want to stick with the stuff that works. But that's not how innovation works. And that's the biggest stumbling block that I see. The best organisations actually reward great successes but also the process.”

Exploring innovation in water

The Aquatech Innovation Forum is design to explore innovation in water that goes beyond the hardwater and technological innovations. Through engaging and entertaining discussions it explores how innovation also comes in the forms of an innovative mindset.

Speakers include heads of innovations at leading water utilities, founders, entrepreneurs, investors and consultants all looking to actively play their part in accelerating the adoption of water technology innovations.

So what is Sudmann hoping to bring to a water industry event?

“I've worked with the water industry in the past and I really look forward to working with leaders in the water industry again….I want to explore together with the participants…with their organisations, with their teams, to bring in full innovation into the water, into the field of water, into the area of water.”

- Lars Sudmann will deliver the opening keynote address in the Aquatech Innovation Forum, taking place on November 6th to help kickstart Aquatech Amsterdam. For more information and to buy a limited ticket, please click here.