This week we catch up with experienced entrepreneur and seasoned innovation specialist Ishay Katz. Currently a Senior Change & Innovation Consultant at Western Power, Ishay endeavours to drive internal and external ecosystems of innovation. Ishay is project managing the internal innovation ecosystem within Western Power and supporting the next wave of disruption in utilities and infrastructure. Innovation, in his view, is made up of five parts – communication, change management, project management, education and marketing/PR.
With 20 years of business experience managing various projects and working across diverse backgrounds throughout a variety of industries, Ishay is well versed in creating innovation ecosystems and solution architecture. Ishay is driven to provide this for national and multinational organisations, SME’s and high growth start-ups. His passion for innovation is pronounced through his work and displayed in his roles throughout his career.
Q. What is it about innovation that excites you?
A. Honestly, it is the ability to support other people on a shared journey. Innovation rarely happens in isolation; it involves many people and of course we’re usually innovating to make our own lives and those around us better. For me, playing a role in working towards a greater cause is incredibly motivating.
At Western Power we have an incredibly supportive and inclusive culture around innovation, where collaboration and ideas are encouraged so we can look at exciting ways, whether they be new technology or changes to established processes to improve our services to the community.
Bringing people together for a common goal and watching the curiosity grow through exploration is incredibly exciting.
Q. Why should others be excited about innovation?
A. Innovation is what drives our world, everyday something has been invented or changed with the aim of improvement. People should be excited about this fact, and while it isn’t always comfortable, innovation is about making our lives better. It’s happening everywhere and we should all be a part of it.
It’s about making positive change. While you don’t specifically have to be an innovator; we are all in effect innovators in our daily lives, and we need to appreciate that. It’s not scary or huge, it’s not all artificial intelligence and spaceships, it’s mostly about how can we improve our work and home lives – make work easier and safer, reduce stress, improve our offerings to the community, have more time with our loved ones. How we can make society a better place.
We’ve made significant strides at Western Power to improve power reliability and quality for the community through innovation. We’re constantly looking at new ways to develop and trial new technology and use data more efficiently. It’s exciting as we work in a very dynamic and rapidly changing energy landscape, but everywhere regardless on what business you are in is constantly changing, how we capitalise on that to achieve benefits is the key.
Q. What is one thing people can do each day to be more innovative?
A. Curiosity is the key. Simply by being curious whether when you hear something interesting on TV, read about it or are in conversation we should all Google what sparked our interest. By expanding our knowledge and understanding we enhance our ability to innovate. Once we have knowledge, we must also take in on board to share what we know with others.
Q. What do you think are the biggest challenges for businesses to solve over the next 12-18 months?
A. The past year has shown us that the way we work daily can change overnight How do we move forward learning from the past to make improvements. At Western Power a key focus has been ensuring a seamless remoting working situation for all employees. The challenge is to make it seamless and manage to improve mental health as it will be challenging. Impact on the workforce on the long term will be big, burnout will be real.
How businesses as a whole can support those around them to sustain themselves and the community will also be a challenge for all of us to take on.
Q. What are your tips for anyone in any business who is looking to create positive change?
A. Be an authentic communicator with an open heart and be up to facing the challenges that will inevitably come. Be prepared to get into the trenches with the team, create comfort so you can have authentic and real conversations that lead to meaningful outcomes.