Facilitating 'open innovation' in the infrastructure sector

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02 February 2012

Open Innovation is a familiar term in innovation management circles and refers to a company moving from a purely self-reliant approach to innovation to embracing the input of external organisations at key stages within the innovation process.

In early 2008, leading engineering, architecture and environmental consulting company, GHD launched its award winning Innovations Program across its internal operations, providing its more than 8500 people with the opportunity to participate in the innovation process via an online platform. The forum allows employees to submit ideas and collaborate on these ideas of their colleagues.

Innovations was the first phase in GHD’s approach to innovation, which was focused primarily upon building internal capability and experience, although our vision has always been to open up the program beyond GHD to include our clients, business partners and our industry,” says Jeremy Stone, GHD’s Group Manager  Innovation.

Using the knowledge and experience from the successful internal innovation program, GHD has taken the next logical step to promote collaboration and open innovation in the infrastructure industry. In partnership with the Victorian Government, the company has recently launched the Innovation Interchange.

The Innovation Interchange is an exclusive business to business community formed to help solve infrastructure industry challenges. The web portal facilitates collaboration and networking. For the participants of this new industry initiative, the door will be opened to a wider network of collaboration partners including infrastructure managers, technology providers and other key organisations working within the industry value chain such as associations and research institutions.

As a principal supporter, GHD is also providing technical and commercialisation advisory to selected technology providers. The company is also lending a hand through facilitated connections across its business network within the infrastructure industry.

“The Innovation Interchange is a unique model and is receiving significant interest within the industry,” adds Jeremy. “After our initial focus on the water sector, we believe there is considerable scope to introduce the concept to other sectors within infrastructure such as transportation and energy.”

www.innovationinterchange.com

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