Gone are the days where only senior executives or directors had a chance to implement and suggest innovative ideas in their companies. Thanks to innovative programs like Smart Seeds – which is a unique, challenge-driven program created by global professional services firm GHD – young professionals can gain valuable contacts, experience and knowledge before their career even takes off.
Myles Coker, Partnerships Manager for Innovation Programs at GHD, says the Smart Seeds program gives professionals from a range of disciplines a positive networking and collaboration opportunity that they simply wouldn’t get in their day-to-day working lives.
“With the Smart Seeds program we get teams of young people together to tackle real challenges that we’re facing in our industry and our community,” Myles says. “It’s a unique opportunity that provides you with an environment where you are free to test and challenge the status quo, come up with something truly new or unique, and have a positive impact on the community you live and work in.”
The global program runs for ten weeks. It consists of solving intriguing challenges put forward by community and industry leaders which can then go on to gain momentum in the industry.
“Some creative concepts have inspired new thinking in the industry and have been collaborated on beyond the ten-week program,” says Myles. “Teams have been invited to share ideas for the board at the director level – both in government and private organisations – and some have even gone as far as having a memorandum of understanding between different organisations to tackle ideas further. It’s a really unique opportunity that is not often afforded so early in your career.”
The beauty of Smart Seeds is that it not only creates network connections, it also matures ideas through online platforms such as PIVOT, available on Innovation Interchange.
“The next challenge is taking creative concept ideas and turning them into impactful solutions either locally or globally,” says Myles.
“With these online platforms, we can aggregate challenges and connect ideas at a global scale which will inevitably give them a better chance at success as collaboration rates increase.”
Whilst Smart Seeds has gone global, this is the first year it’s been introduced in a regional area. Challenges specifically related to Townsville, Palm Island, Burdekin, Charters Towers, and the Hinchinbrook were put forward with great success.
New to Smart Seeds? Don’t worry, participants supported by government organisations, private businesses and community groups are all able to be involved.
“Smart Seeds is very open and a great opportunity for small to medium businesses to come together at the same level as larger ones without needing to invest thousands and thousands of dollars in new programs,” Myles says.
We’re in a world that’s more connected and competitive than ever. This is why grasping the chance to connect with and impress leaders in your industry is so important. Don’t let us tell you how to do it though – we think it’s time you got out there and showed them what our regional city is capable of.
Looking for more events geared towards professionals? Check out the Hays Business Professionals Week.