045: Water Innovation Week, The Human Capital-Technology Nexus, and More with Imagine H2O

Nashelley Kaplan-Dailey directs Imagine H2O’s Policy efforts, a suite of initiatives identifying and advancing policies leading to the broader deployment of water innovation. Nashelley joined Imagine H2O from WaterNow Alliance where she was Senior Project Manager working with government, NGO’s and the private sector to design and implement programs and policies supporting sustainable water management at the local level. Nashelley is a member of the California Bar and graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2013. There, she focused on Resource Management and Water Law and was an active member of the Environmental Law Clinic. Before and during law school she worked in various roles, including for the San Diego Mayor’s Office under Jerry Sanders, in environmental compliance, and in litigation support.

Tom Ferguson is the  Vice President of Programming for Imagine H2O, charged with developing the accelerator model as well as building out the policy and leadership capabilities as they scale. Tom comes to Imagine H2O from strategy roles at Project Frog (a San Francisco green buildings company) and Tamar Energy (an AD network developed in London). Prior to business school, he spent three and a half years with ERM, the sustainability consultancy, where he was an engagement manager. Tom holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MA in Politics from Edinburgh University.

Top Takeaways:

“The power of a learning organization comes down to compounding expertise. The more informed and the more diversity of the information that is hitting your employees, the better and more imaginative they are going to be at solving the problems in front of them.”

“The older generation is getting accustomed to using technology, the current and rising generation likes technology and innovation, and the next generation will expect it.”— Clifford Chan, East Bay Municipal Utility District

The culture of your organization is what people in your organization do when no one is watching. It defines the environment in which people work. It’s difficult to build. It requires a relentless drumbeat. The mission statement should be the prism through which all things are run.

Treat your employees like customers. You are selling them a product all the way through. They are buying something from you. They are spending their most valuable commodity with you—their time.

Show Notes:

[8:02] We talk some of the (troubling) statistics related to workforce and succession in the water industry. At its root, succession planning is about saving the aggregated expertise of our retiring water professionals so that we retain that knowledge and wisdom when they leave.

[13:44] Talking points for managers and directors seeking to save and grow their travel/training budget line item.

[16:27] “The power of a learning organization comes down to compounding expertise. The more informed and the more diversity of the information that is hitting your employees, the better and more imaginative they are going to be at solving the problems in front of them.”

[19:44] How does Imagine H2O ensure diversity in their programming?

[23:16] Sometimes you don’t know what’s going to come out of bringing a diverse group of people together, but that’s ok. The key is to create the conditions to have conversations that are differentiated and honest and emergent in the moment because that’s where the excitement happens.

“Let’s see where the rabbit hole goes because that’s how you get to the new stuff.”

[24:10] What are some ways we can ensure we’re sending the right people and they’re bringing back value to the organization?

[29:48] Tom and Nashelley share some examples of organizations that do a good job at cultivating talent from within. Just collecting a pay check is no longer enough. The reason people stay at a job is beyond just the money. It’s about engagement, meaning, adding to their skillset, do they feel fulfilled, etc.

[32:47] We discuss how demonstrating trust in your people is way to retain them.

[35:53] Innovation on a budget. Even a small amount of money can help remove the friction from the deployment of innovation.

[36:43] How do we maximize the human capital and technology nexus?

[41:52] Catch future water nerds while they’re young. Get them interested and aware while they are still in their academic career. Offer opportunities to work in real world situations and not just in academic theory.

[43:24] The culture of your organization is what people in your organization do when no one is watching. It defines the environment in which people work. It’s difficult to build. It requires a relentless drumbeat. The mission statement should be the prism through which all things are run.

[46:20] The technology isn’t the point. The machine of change are the people themselves and we need to be taking care of the people.

[47:30] The importance of the intrapreneur—the innovators within the organization.

[53:15] We talk communication’s role in solving the workforce issue.  It’s important for utilities to put themselves in the shoes of audience they are trying to attract and make those touch points reflect the desires of that audience.

[58:02] Treat your employees like customers. You are selling them a product all the way through. They are buying something from you. They are spending their most valuable commodity with you—their time.

Resources:

The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker

Rogue Water Recap of the 2018 Imagine H2O Summit and Gala Part 1

Rogue Water Recap of the 2018 Imagine H2O Summit and Gala Part 2

From Apple to H2O: One entrepreneur’s quest to digitize water in India’s second-tier cities

Sponsor:

This episode is powered by Imagine H2O. Imagine H2O is a water technology accelerator, so why are we laser focused on NextGen issues? Because innovation is a mindset, not a technical accomplishment. You can be innovative about anything, from your hiring process to the way your organization deals with hexavalent chromium contamination. What matters is that you’re constantly trying to improve the way you’re doing things, and the better you are at innovation, the better you are at everything. Join Imagine H2O and Water Environment Federation in San Francisco March 21st to get better at everything.


Please consider rating the podcast with 5 stars and leaving a one- or two-sentence review in iTunes or on Stitcher.  This helps tremendously in bringing the podcast to the attention of others. We give a shoutout to everyone who rates the podcast with 5 stars in future episodes.

Give us some love on Twitter by tagging us @THE_H2duO or by using the #WaterInRealLifePodcast

If you know someone you think would benefit, please spread the word by using the share buttons on this page.

Thank you for sharing some of your time with us. We know how precious those minutes are. Share your story, you never know who needs to hear it and remember, “Those who tell the stories, rule the world.”

Leave a Comment