“The water sector is and always has been fundamental to life on earth, our society and our economy,” says Henk Jan Top. Being of great value for AIWW as one of our Sponsors, we asked him to give his view on the AIWW Conference 2019 themes and topics.
This year’s main theme is the ‘Implementation of integrated solutions by cities, industries, utilities and financiers: from cases to bankable projects.’
Q: What do you see as some of the key issues where there are both important needs and strong opportunities to innovate?
“The water sector is and always has been fundamental to life on earth, our society and our economy. With the rising population, growing economy and climate change, challenges of water quantity and water quality are becoming more prevalent. Now, more than ever, we consciously and transparently must decide how to allocate and use this valuable resource and implement this new, collaborative thinking. For centuries, innovation, engineering and technology have enabled society to utilise water. Today, with ubiquitous access to knowledge, smart solutions and data technologies globally, we can accelerate continuous innovation and solution implementations. Digital technologies bring new opportunities and insights to further address the water challenges.”
Q: How important are partnerships in order to address water issues?
“Technically, we can solve all water challenges. We need collaboration, governance and business models and commitment to make this happen. We all have a role in the water system. We need to openly decide how we allocate and use water in the best way possible. No single stakeholder can implement these decisions alone. Key for developing and progressing these collaborations is a shared understanding and a joined vision on our water future where all stakeholders benefit fairly and where roles and responsibilities are clear.”
Q: What do you see as some of the important changes in skills and expertise needed in the water sector? How does this affect your organisation, and how are you responding?
“The sector has a strong engineering skillset and mindset which has enabled us to develop solutions for the water challenges. This skillset remains tremendously valuable. On top of that, the sector would benefit from a more collaborative, creative mindset and way of working. I have seen the energy, enthusiasm and creativity being pushed beyond imagination, if you bring people from different organisations and backgrounds together in design thinking and co-creation sessions on specific water challenges to create and develop new solutions. The AIWW is a great place to start.”
“Accenture approaches this by investing in skills like storytelling, design thinking, value creation, data fluency, collaboration and innovation next to our continued industry expertise. In our approach with clients and partners, we apply more ecosystem thinking and co-creation.”
Q: What for your organisation is the value in participating in, and being associated with, AIWW?
“The AIWW brings together relevant stakeholders from different domains to discuss and shape our water future. Accenture works with many stakeholders across industries and together drive innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Water is a fundamental part of life. I believe, as a water sector, we have great examples of water solutions, collaborations, innovations and technology and great potential to keep addressing water challenges together. Let’s create our water future during the AIWW!”