Innovation is key to delivering better solutions and performance for clients


As our business gathers pace in an improving market, innovation is key to delivering better solutions and performance for our customers, as well as giving us a competitive edge. We have gone to great effort to create a culture of encouraging and supporting innovation in 2014, as we recognize the importance of leveraging the intellectual capital in our business.

As an engineering firm we innovate every day. But do we make the most of generating value out of those good ideas? How do we ensure we sustain improvement and make the most of it?

If we consider the comparison of two great inventors: Nikola Tesla had the ideas and continued to create and discover, earning him a reputation in popular culture as an archetypal “mad scientist”, whereas his former boss, Thomas Edison, seized the opportunities in each of his - becoming more of a businessman - and was the first to apply the principles of mass production to the process of invention.

We want to be Edison.

Our inaugural Innovation Awards held at the London Aquatics Centre on 23 November demonstrated that we have some great innovators and real momentum in our business, upon which we must now build. We can generate value and magnify benefits by sharing these widely across our business and re-applying.

The Innovation Champions throughout our business have been encouraged to begin 2015 by challenging what we currently do, recognising, driving and communicating our innovations and sharing them for wider benefit.

Chris Millard is business efficiency director in Balfour Beatty’s UK Construction Services business