Learning and Mentoring

Smart Seeds is an annual event for young professionals (YP) focused on solving urban development challenges in the infrastructure industry. Over 15 teams across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are currently developing innovative solutions to over 15 real life cross-sectoral infrastructure challenges in their regions. Throughout May the teams will be finalising their concepts and pitch presentations in advance of the Showcase Events in their regions. (Challenges in Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane)


Smart Seeds has evolved in response to the increasing need for our current and future infrastructure professionals to learn innovation skills and enhance cross-sector collaboration to solve increasingly complex and interconnected urban infrastructure challenges.


At its heart, Smart Seeds is about ideas and influencing positive change. However it is more than just a think tank for our finest young minds in the infrastructure sector. It is also applied learning of key skills for unlocking innovation, including idea generation, idea selection, pitching ideas to win support, and ultimately, delivering ideas to unlock their value. Participants use GHD‘s innovation framework, which is regularly applied on projects and in organisations, to develop and refine their ideas.

Photo by Dan A’Vard at Open Cage


It’s also a powerful ideas-focused professional networking opportunity that broadens networks across sectors and broadens conversations beyond narrow projects to bigger ideas. After three successful years and expansion across Australia and New Zealand, the Smart Seeds alumni network is growing both in number and geographic reach.


Mentors play a vital role in coaching the team, sharing both their own knowledge and networks. This year our mentors include industry specialists from participating organisations such as Veolia, Office of The Victorian Government Architect, GHD, Transport for New South Wales, Lend Lease, IBM, UrbanGrowth NSWCity of Melbourne, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Metropolitan Planning Authority.


John Snook, Senior Project Manager at Lend Lease said “it’s a great opportunity to meet some ambitious young professionals, explore new ideas and practice techniques for generating innovative solutions. I hope my input (as a mentor) has challenged the group to think a bit more broadly – to have the courage to explore the crazy ideas as opposed to the conventional.”


Whilst Smart Seeds culminates in an event that showcases the ideas of participants, the professional networks grow and the innovation skills continue to be applied by alumni long after the lights go down.

For more information, tweet us @smartseedsgrow or contact us.

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