Innovation Lessons from the Coal Face: Event Recap

Within NZ’s IDT community we are witnessing an exponential proliferation of innovation initiatives. It’s a hot topic of conversation amongst our networks - one that gave us another great opportunity to bring people together. Last night we hosted a group of IDT professionals from various Auckland organisations, for an informal discussion about successes and lessons learned when it comes to innovation.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Glen Willoughby, General Manager of Information Technology at the Downer Group. Glen, who is responsible for the technology services function across Downer’s NZ operations, is a champion of innovation in business, particularly with regard to smarter and more efficient operations with limited resources and how to balance innovation with a business’ long term strategic goals.

We were very fortunate to hear about the work Glen and his team are doing collaborating with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to leverage their contemporary innovation processes, specifically in relation to NASA’s Mars Mission Programme and the exploration of Europa – the largest moon in the Jupiter system. The notion that innovation is not invention was clearly presented and the fact that innovation was truly a human endeavour - that it comes from people and teams - resonated with the audience. 

In discussions, the group noted that clear understanding of the problem is fundamental and that simple ideas are usually the best. Daring leadership and nontraditional partners are some core ingredients necessary to deliver the innovation agenda.

We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and hope those who joined us not only had a good time but took away some valuable insight to support their own innovation endeavours. We look forward to continuing with these events in the new year so stay tuned!