Innovating For The ‘Next’ Customer

Though utilities in America’s Midwest can rely on battling the spiking demand and storm outages that come with every summer, Ameren is also exploring the disruptive innovations that may influence its customers’ future expectations.

“As part of our long-term planning process, we did an analysis looking out to 2030 and saw the potential for a disruptive step change in the way consumers get and use energy,” said Steve Kidwell, VP Corporate Planning at Ameren.

The company also recognized it possessed a unique window to capitalize on those opportunities: Because its production prices were at historic lows, it had headroom compared to its brethren on the coasts or internationally, so now was the time to act.

Five Innovation Action teams were formed in late 2015 to engage in what Kidwell calls “divergent thinking” that focused in large part on customer analytics, since the company sees deeper understanding as key to not just identifying future customer needs, but building distinctive customer loyalty. “A monopoly business doesn’t provide customers with much choice in the types of services they may desire,” Kidwell said, noting that Ameren has just scratched the surface of the topic…

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