Will Reddaway: Better Engineered Month - Bringing ideas to life and managing innovation

As part of Better Engineered month here at Murphy, we explored the world of Innovation with our Head of Innovation, Will Reddaway. Having written about the importance of collaboration and also the necessity of making original mistakes, Will writes about how we bring these innovative ideas to life.

Innovation is important both to Murphy and to the wider industry to allow essential growth. It includes developing and delivering new products, processes and services for our new and existing customers and will help us to exceed client expectations in the delivery of our projects by improving the quality, safety and reliability of our work.

To some, ‘managing innovation’ might seem like a contradiction in terms! However, in order for innovation to be of most benefit to the business, the ‘management’ of it is how we make the most of innovative ideas and; bring them to life as fully functioning work.

I strongly believe that cultural change is very important to realising the biggest improvements to business performance. I also believe that delivering cultural change via strong leadership, supported by a robust strategy (and where applicable a clear procedure with accountabilities) offers significant improvements to our overall capability, stimulating creativity and collaboration – which are the key drivers for innovation. This is critical to successfully transforming businesses.

The magic mix for innovation and culture for innovation is well known, but it is not utilised to its full potential. It includes:

  • Freedom to think and experiment – without fear of chastisement
  • Problem solvers to be visible to the process/problem owner – allow them time and access to those that need help
  • Risk appetite (learning to fail fast, but learn and celebrate the lessons)
  • Agility to apply new opportunities

At Murphy we are already making great progress in managing innovation in the context of the magic mix above. Crucial to successful innovation delivery is to understand which ideas need to be nurtured and developed further, and which ideas need to be either deferred or halted.

This is made possible with a robust and clear procedure that allows ideas to thrive, and evaluates them against business strategies and values, and, importantly, controls risks. As a result, this allows far more focus on the best ideas whilst still allowing our people to flourish creatively through clear, open and honest feedback loops.

We are focused on ensuring that all ideas are taken seriously, which in turn encourages others to share their ideas and solutions. Thanks to our Innovation Foundation (IF) portal, we can easily and quickly gather ideas which are then reviewed by the innovation team, functional sponsors and then by the Engineering Tomorrow Forum (ETF). We also work closely with the Enterprise Programme Assurance Team (EPAT) so that ideas are not duplicated by any business transformation programme, and to ensure that all ideas add as much value to Murphy as possible.

But we’re not finished yet! There is so much value to gain from continuing our excellent work by collaborating and reaching out across our expertise in the business, using our innovation champion network to spread best practices and stimulate ideas.

Innovation management is not an “out of the box” solution that just works and should not be regarded as just another change management project. Innovation requires strategic alignment, cultural and behavioural change, as well as senior leadership buy-in and support.

The core values needed to enable innovation to succeed are the ‘three Cs’ of Culture, Collaboration and Capability. Aligning leadership, strategy and culture to aspirations for change completes the picture.

And here at Murphy, we’re definitely well on our way.



Posted 04 July 2018 by Will Reddaway

Opinion, People, Innovation, Engineering

About Will Reddaway

Skilled and adaptable project and programme manager with experience in implementing and overseeing complex multi-track projects. Ability to engage at all levels of an organisation to manage and broker relationships. Hugely passionate, enthusiastic behaviour with a thirst to learn and share experiences to help change and improve business processes. Particularly interested in innovation, change management/delivering change, and technology.


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