In an article for Public Utilities Fortnightly, Navigant explores how REV Connect's Innovation Sprints redefine utility procurement
New York State's REV Connect program, an initiative that connects companies and the state's electric utilities, uses a concept called an Innovation Sprint to create new opportunities to transform the procurement process. By relying on tight deadlines, in combination with the opportunity for face-to-face utility pitch opportunities, Innovation Sprints foster the process of meeting utility needs and delivering value to stakeholders.
In an article for Public Utilities Fortnightly, Dan Bradley, managing director at Navigant, and H. Christine Richards, managing consultant at Navigant, shared why the process works and how it has already helped utilities find innovative solutions.
According to the article, Innovation Sprints are time-bound — lasting about three months — kicking off with a webinar, driving toward a submission deadline, and culminating in a workshop. The sprints focus on timely and specific utility needs for innovative energy partnerships, and leverage feedback from a variety of stakeholders.
“This is a unique environment where utilities can share their evolving ideas with key decisionmakers in a collaborative way. Having your regulator, peer utility, or market representative say early on ‘have you thought about it this way?’ is much more helpful than waiting until a thirty-page proposal gets filed that misses the mark,” said Michelle Bebrin, an associate director at Navigant.
Bradley and Richards added that while deadlines are nothing new, their age-old power can be added to the mix of tools that utilities can use to help drive open innovation and initiate new solutions.
"REV Connect’s Innovation Sprints create a space where participants can focus on specific needs while giving latitude for innovators to put forward different solution sets and refine solutions in an open and collaborative process," the pair said. "This process creates the potential to discover and share value in new ways."