Tracey Drew, principal environmental consultant and SRK’s team lead for innovation and data services
Known for innovating solutions across multiple disciplines in the consulting engineering field, SRK Consulting held its intensive two and a half-day Global Innovation Workshop in South Africa recently.
Leading up to this international event, SRK had held national workshops in recent years, as well as a global virtual innovation workshop in 2020. The workshop drew 36 delegates as well as senior SRK colleagues who were in the country for the bi-annual global practice leaders’ meeting. In addition to the delegates from around South Africa, those present were from practices Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, India, Peru, the United Kingdom, Russia, India, China, Khazakstan and the United States.
We believe firmly that innovation doesn’t just happen – it needs to be driven by passionate people. It is important to bring together these innovators – face-to-face where possible – and it was also great for SRK’s leaders to be there to demonstrate support.
Among the VIPs at the venue to launch the event were SRK group CEO Tim McGurk, SRK South Africa managing director Vis Reddy, SRK director and principal consultant Andrew van Zyl, SRK South Africa chairperson William Joughin and SRK chief technology officer Mike Olsen. Drew noted that the delegates were just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ among the innovators across SRK’s global network of engineers and scientists.
“This was a valuable occasion for us all to share innovations in the making, and to collaborate in solving challenges that the innovators are encountering,” she said. “All delegates were required to deliver short presentations in formal sessions, and a selection of these were presented to the practice leaders at the end of the week.”
Adding to the intensity, a panel of senior SRK ‘Sharks’ – including Mark Wanless, Principal Geologist and Partner at SRK Consulting South Africa; Thiago Toussaint Managing Director and Principal Consultant for SRK Brazil; Lindsay Linzer, Corporate Consultant: Geophysics at SRK Consulting South Africa; Martin Pittuck Corporate Consultant: Mining Geology at SRK Consulting Cardiff; and James Lake, principal Scientist and partner at SRK Consulting South Africa, attended the presentations, posing questions and giving ‘wise-owl’ input. The real value of the event, however, was bringing together like-minded people and stimulating their collaboration and solution-seeking.
“There was such an interplay of ideas, challenges and practical interventions, that some delegates had their innovation challenges solved at the event,” she said. “Importantly, this engagement has created a strong basis for longer term communication and collaboration between SRK’s practices around the world.”
Digital innovation in particular makes a material contribution toward ‘asset-based consulting’. By codifying and crystallising knowledge, consultants can leverage the combined value of their various disciplines – while continuing to drive the ‘ideation’ necessary to create and develop consulting assets.
The workshop was also a useful opportunity for innovation-driven consulting engineers and scientists to define more clearly the nature of the support they needed from the SRK network. These discussions gave the leadership constructive guidance on what resources would have the optimal impact.
It was clear from this global event that innovation is taking place rapidly all over the SRK footprint, but it is often the case that not everyone knows about it. By bringing our colleagues together, solutions are found more quickly and efficiently – and clients benefit from this.