For water innovation to thrive, we need real leadership, according to Paul O'Callaghan, Founder & CEO of BlueTech Research. He talks to Aquatech Online about his recent PhD.
Is water really slow to innovate?
The water sector is “slow to innovate”. The water sector “is very conservative”. It takes “a long time” to scale water technology innovations.
These common assumptions about the water sector continue to echo but do they still remain true? Where’s the modern evidence to suggest that water, in comparison to other industries, is slow to innovate?
That’s one question that pushed Paul O’Callaghan, founder & CEO of BlueTech Research, to investigate.
With a thesis entitled ‘Dynamics of Water: Insights into the rate of adoption, diffusion and success of innovative water technologies globally’, he obtained a PhD at the end of 2020 as an external candidate at Wageningen University.
"People mean different things when they say the word innovation."
Under the supervision of Cees Buisman, professor of Biological Recycling Technology at Wageningen University & Research and scientific director of Wetsus, O’Callaghan also sought to find out a common language that could be used around innovation.
In an interview with Aquatech Online, O’Callaghan said: “People mean different things when they say that word [innovation],” said O’Callaghan.
“A venture capital investor might mean something different when they say the term disruptive innovation. Whereas a utility, when they say they need innovation, they may need something that will reduce the energy costs and get them to carbon neutrality. If you’re a technology provider, you might have a different perspective as well.”
A summary of the video interview can be found below: