There is an old saying that necessity is the mother of innovation. This is something that has held true throughout the history of oil and gas. Companies have traditionally only innovated when they’ve had to and one has to look no further than the recent downturn to see this.
At Summit ESP, we have a different view. We believe that while innovation can certainly be born out of necessity, it can also come from a continuous drive to be better. And we’ve built a culture to facilitate that.
A few weeks ago I was asked by a customer why innovation has happened so quickly at Summit. After contemplating, I came up with one word that I think sums it up best: trust.
The leadership at Summit ESP has trusted its employees. They trusted that the right questions were being asked and conversely answered in an orderly timeframe. This instilled a very creative culture where all ideas were considered from whomever suggested them.
One example of this happened a little over 1 year ago, when a field technician’s recommendation for a potential gas handling configuration led to a pending patent and an increase in the customer’s production rate.
On another occasion reliability engineering suggested a potential fix for pump stage abrasive handling. After some collaboration and computational fluid dynamic studies, the erosion buster was born. The erosion buster eventually led to a patent and provided our customers with a significant strategic advantage when it came to abrasive handling.
This culture of trust has also encompassed failure. Failure was not ridiculed and swept under the rug — it was communicated and shared so that a collective group could solve it and move on. The leadership trusted that with failure would come innovation and that innovation would eventually lead to success. An example of this occurred in 2014, when a customer was not impressed with the run times of our equipment. Recognizing this issue and striving to be better, we spent the following months developing new designs and implementing new procedures.
Creating a culture of trust subsequently led to 16 issued patents, 71 pending patents, and the emergence of Summit ESP as the foremost leader in ESP equipment. So is innovation most often born out of necessity? Yes. Does it have to be? No. And Summit ESP is proof.
Mr. Nowitzki has more than 10 years of experience in the electrical submersible pump industry and is qualified in finite element analysis, SolidWorks modeling, root cause analysis, project management and rotordynamic analysis.