2 minutes with: Richard Burton, Head of Innovation Projects at EDF

At myHRcareer we strive to get the very best business leaders to inspire us by sharing their challenges, insights and experiences. This month’s networking party is no different. We’re thrilled to introduce Richard Burton, Head of Innovation Projects at EDF (& a pretty cool guy!).

ichard Burton, Strategy and Transformation at EDF speaks at myHRcareers HR networking party in central London. Powered by Veran Performance“Richard has over 20 years experience from strategy, marketing and insight, to HR and business transformation in the energy and financial services industries. He has held key roles in organisations of different sizes from multi-national blue chips to independent start-ups.”

Richard started his career working in marketing & advertising agencies, planning campaigns and brand development for clients across European markets. He has been responsible for two start-ups, to establish an Amsterdam-based subsidiary of a marketing services group, and the set-up of an independent agency in London which he ran as joint MD for 5 years.

In 2000 Richard moved to client-side strategy as a consultant at Barclays to join a small team in creating a new business, Barclays Wealth. Then at NS&I Richard led a new team responsible for market planning, research and customer insight, initially as a consultant and then on a permanent contract.

Richard joined EDF Group in 2004, and has worked for EDF both in the UK and France. Initially setting up and running a strategy and market intelligence team, he has also led business change activities preparing for competition in the French energy market.

Richard’s current role in development of the EDF Blue Lab Innovation Centre is focused on the design and testing of new business models and in integrating new technologies to create competitive advantage for EDF Energy.

2 minutes with Richard Burton

How did you get your job?
I joined EDF Energy in response to an ad’ in the Sunday Times, initially to set up and run a new department focused on Strategy & Market Intelligence. This was just after EDF had acquired 3 energy companies in the UK, so the focus was on post-acquisition integration. I have had a number of jobs within EDF in the UK and France since then and was approached in March to take my current role in which I am responsible for innovation projects within Blue Lab which is a team focused on accelerating innovation and the use of new energy technologies

Worst thing about your job?
There are some really great aspects about working in a blue-chip multi-national organisation with access to resources and the scale to affect change etc, but there are aspects such as complexity, governance and legacy systems that can at times be slow and cumbersome

Best thing?
The remit to get involved in the early stages in developments and technologies that will radically change our use of energy which involves close collaboration with colleagues and external partners internationally  

What is the biggest challenge facing UK businesses at the moment?
The most newsworthy challenge for UK businesses at the moment is in planning and decision making at a time of heightened political and economic uncertainty following the referendum result in which by a narrow margin, the UK chose to leave the EU

Does HR have a role to play?
Yes HR needs to lead in a number of areas to help organisations to be more agile: defining skills requirements; planning for resourcing in a more dynamic way to respond to the ups & downs of the economy; providing expertise on related areas including for example the rights of migrants from different countries to work in the UK; and then understanding and responding to the changing needs and attitudes as new generations enter the working population

Finally, What do you wish you could tell your 20 year old self?
You’re going to have an interesting ride, take the time to enjoy it. Be a bit more focused. Prioritise learning French, you’re going to need it!

Thanks Richard!


Richard will be sharing more of his views on business disruption and HR challenges at the myHRcareers networking party this July 20th at Harris+Hoole Cannon Street. 
To find out more about the future of business and the growing need for HR innovation get your free ticket below!