Shaun Gregory , Senior VP of Strategy, Science and Innovation at Woodside Energy Ltd said as much at Networking WA’s recent breakfast event “The Resources Sector and Technology and Innovation”, which was proudly supported by RIG for the second year in a row. Peter Caporn, Principal of Wrays and Resources Group Head, attended with a number of other Wrays staff and spoke on behalf of RIG when introducing Shaun.
Shaun’s observation is good news for RIG, being as RIG works to provide exactly such a forum for the sharing and discussion of innovation stories in the resources industries. However, the need to be making such an observation at all highlights a deep seated problem for Australian companies when attempting to address the need to foster innovation and the embracing of new technologies.
We have a tendency in Australia to treat innovation as a cost, rather than it being just another aspect of the corporate culture. Shaun also discussed the fact that the US, for example, has a culture of tolerating failure, as long as you fail early and at low cost. In this way people are empowered to try new things. The opposite appears true in Australia and it is something that resource companies in Australia must actively work to overcome.
Shaun covered a range of other issues in his broad ranging and thought provoking discussion. Amongst these was the need for Australian resource companies to take advantage of the present crisis, both in mining and oil and gas. He highlighted the counter-cyclical nature good economic times and those times in which we are able to be most innovative.
Finally, Shaun observed that “delivering the value that the new technology promises is the hardest part”. This speaks to the need for resource companies to have systems in place to identify, capture and manage innovation.