Our Story

From little things…

In 2012, we had an idea to engage GHD’s emerging leaders in Melbourne.

True to our name, Smart Seeds started with an idea that has grown to become something much bigger.

This first group of participants joined GHD to gain industry experience in Melbourne. Like many new starters, the group had diverse skills, great energy, and new ideas with the potential to transform GHD’s business and industry. But, like many emerging leaders, they had limited connections and experience to mobilise their ideas and create change. Recognising the potential, GHD’s innovation team, led by Claire Dixon, designed a program to build the connections, capabilities and confidence of these emerging leaders.

Smart Seeds, a design-led innovation program focused on solving complex industry challenges, was born. The first pilot program within GHD was a great success. We had created an experience valued by program participants, mentors and senior leaders that could nurture creativity and courage within the business.

By 2013, Smart Seeds invited other companies to define cross-sector challenges and engage their emerging leaders to co-create solutions.

In the following years, Smart Seeds expanded across Australia and to new locations in New Zealand, the UK and North America. We also engaged new participants, including emerging leaders representing their communities, schools and universities.



Smart Seeds is a design led innovation program empowering diverse groups of people to co-create integrated solutions to complex challenges.

Built on a foundation of design thinking and lean startup principles, Smart Seeds builds capacity of participants and grows leaders who can innovate, advocate and influence change; facilitates collaboration across sectors, disciplines and generations and to support the delivery innovation to industries and customers.

In 2019 the Smart Seeds anchor program is running in 13 cities in 5 global regions, including urban and regional cities in Australia, New Zealand and North America.


About GHD

GHD is one of the world’s leading professional services companies established in 1928 and remains entirely owned by employees.

Working together with clients, GHD is creating lasting community benefits in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation.

GHD employs more than 10,000 people in 200+ offices across five continents and is proud to connect the knowledge, skills and experience of its employees within collaborative ecosystems.

Created by GHD’s innovation team in 2012, Smart Seeds is transforming GHD and client organisations by changing the way we invest in our emerging leaders and work within collaborative ecosystems.

We invite partner organisations to join GHD on this journey.

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