What innovation means to us

Innovation within United Utilities is an essential part of our business. It’s about connecting problems and opportunities to create solutions in line with our objectives. All our work to innovate is strongly linked to our company strategy and objective to grow by look at cutting-edge technologies and enhancing our processes. We do this to provide a great service to our customers by making their experience better, faster, cheaper and ensuring they’re at the heart of everything we do. It’s important that we celebrate our successes but also, reflect on how we can make things better for future ways of working, initiatives and collaborations.

We have an Innovation Model that we work through to enable us to deliver change successfully. We have three key stages that we work through; Strategy, Process and Enablers.

  • Strategy helps us to set our direction within our focus areas of what we plan to achieve. Some of these focus areas are the innovation eco-system and working with our academia team to help us resolve our problems.

  • Process is broken down into 5 key steps to help deliver innovation; Explore, Design, Develop, Deliver and Learn. All stages are key to understand if our innovation ideas will provide benefits and to see if they will work for our business areas.

  • Enablers allow us to collaborate with different people across the business and with external partners. This enables us to deliver successfully and learn from others.

It’s important that we follow our innovation model as it allows us to be consistent in our approach, transparent and monitor how we are driving success within our key strategy areas whilst allowing us to explore new ways of working by collaborating with others. If you’d like to find out more, have a look at our video at the bottom of the page.

At United Utilites, we have a dedicated team who look at how we can innovate across our business sectors. There are several programmes that we run to be able to test new ways of working. This is done by collaborating with our internal and external stakeholders to look at new technologies or new ways of working. Within our business, we receive ideas from our colleagues when they believe something can be improved to enhance a particular service or process. Externally, we have our Innovation Labs that allow us to explore and work with third parties on new and exciting technologies. We review if they are fit for purpose to help us achieve our ambitions, click here to find out more about how the Innovation Lab works. We've also designed a process to make it easier for external stakeholders to share new ideas with us outside of the Innovation Lab, you can click here to find out more. With both ways of working, we want to explore a diverse range of ideas, big or small, to make us better at what we do.

From the work our Innovation Team do, we can see the problems that have now been resolved and that people are working in a more efficient, safe and more cost effective way. We pride ourselves on being leaders in innovation and continue to create this culture with our colleagues and innovation partners.  

Our Innovation Model

Watch the video to discover how we as a team, work through new ways of working and processes by using our Innovation Model.

Video Duration – 3min 42 sec