Technology & Innovation
Big Global Challenges Demand Big Solutions
We define innovation excellence as the ability to rapidly transform creative ideas into commercially viable offerings that solve the unmet needs of our customers while addressing the world’s sustainability challenges. We have the expertise and scale to implement industry-changing innovations, and we’re dedicated to doing so. Our 2030 Sustainability Commitments include a goal to increase access to heating and cooling, fresh food, water and clean air. This will guide our research and development work over the next decade.
Healthy indoor environments another tool to manage spread of COVID-19
The challenge to innovate to quickly bring relevant solutions to market has never been as pronounced as it is now. As the world looked to solutions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, we worked to push the envelope and deliver solutions that effectively improve indoor air quality and mitigate the risk of spread of airborne pathogens in indoor spaces — including the SARS-COV-2 virus. We also launched the Center for Healthy and Efficient Spaces to respond to the need for healthier indoor environments and to scale the latest advancements which balance indoor environmental quality with energy efficiency.
As pharmaceutical companies innovated to develop vaccines at record speeds using new techniques for development and production with stringent cold chain requirements, Thermo King quickly adapted its capabilities to deliver solutions which maintain vaccines that need to be stored at temperatures as cold as -70 degrees Celsius. Please see our COVID-19 Response section for more.
Average revenue from innovation in 2020
New products and services
In Research and Development spend
Addressing Global Challenges While Driving Business Success
Innovation helps us meet the most pressing global challenges of our time while driving business success. In 2020, we spent $165 million on research and development and launched 54 new products and services, spanning nearly every business and region achieving superior breadth and depth in every major innovation category. Each of these new products features sustainable design, is aligned with total life cycle management principles, and uses natural resources more efficiently than before. Leveraging world class lean principles, we were able to deliver world class innovation revenue performance. Read more about the Trane Technologies Product Development Process and our product life cycle management.
In addition, our rapid response to the demands generated by COVID-19 and our ability to innovate quickly resulted in over $250 million in incremental revenue from both indoor air quality and vaccine distribution solutions with a strong pipeline continuing into 2021. We expect that the pandemic has created a permanent shift in the demand for healthy and efficient indoor spaces and we have demonstrated our ability to effectively fulfill that demand. Please see our COVID-19 Response section for more.
Our technology and innovation permeates our sustainability focus areas, from customer outcomes to supply chain to people. Our engineering teams focused 80% of their technology and development budgets in 2020 on product and system sustainability improvements. This included improving energy efficiency in products and systems, developing and implementing lower global warming potential refrigerants, reducing material content in products, and product circularity improvements. We will continue to prioritize intersectional R&D as we embark on our 2030 Sustainability Commitments.
Evaluating our Innovation
The global trends that inform our 2030 Sustainability Commitments — urbanization, resource constraints, climate change and workforce dynamics — have a powerful impact on our customers and the solutions we provide. Enterprise-wide collaboration and knowledge transfer, fostered by frequent exchange programs with global leaders, drive our culture of innovation. We also form global teams for all new developed-market product engineers to grow skills in emerging-market R&D teams.
We continually evaluate if we're positioned in the right markets with the right products, services and technology capabilities. We do this by working hand-in-hand with our customers and global suppliers, and by applying advanced data analytics. Our Business Operating System (BOS) translates the market intelligence we gather into new products, services and solutions.
Trane Technologies uses world class lean approaches for the management of innovation across the company. Each product growth team manages technology and innovation for the market segments they serve, and we manage them via A3 thinking. In addition, leaders in the business routinely go to the gemba and coach the product growth teams to ensure alignment to our company-wide business operating system for technology and innovation.
Extending our innovation approach to solve some of the world’s biggest absurdities
Our goal is to improve living conditions in the communities that are most often marginalized and disproportionately bear the impacts of climate change, while also addressing poverty and urbanization.
The existence of these inequities constitutes absurdities which we hope to address with our new employee-powered innovation program - Operation Possible. Operation Possible will identify the biggest absurdities in the world that our people are inspired to solve and guide our entire organization through the process of ideating, prioritizing and realizing innovative solutions to address them.
Operation Possible is a life-changing and awe-inspiring showcase of innovation, problem-solving and employee spirit aimed at boldly challenging what is possible for an equitable and sustainable world.