Have you ever considered filtering stormwater with human hair, how autonomous vehicles will revolutionise peak hour traffic, warming seats at bus stops through sewer heat recovery, or the potential for symbiosis between our ageing population and university students? They were just a few of the topics and ideas explored for Smart Seeds 2015.
Led by GHD, Smart Seeds is an annual ten week industry supported innovation competition for young professionals in the infrastructure industry. 2015 Smart Seeds was successfully completed in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, with an overwhelmingly percentage of people surveyed said they would recommend Smart Seeds to others. Tim Reardon, Secretary for Transport for NSW, said “programs like this will change the world because it gives a platform for the youth to bring up ideas.”
Young professionals from different organisations came together to solve urban design and infrastructure challenges, receiving support from mentors to refine their ideas for the pitch. A total of eighteen innovative ideas were presented to panels of senior industry leaders at the Showcase Events. The judges had a tough decision in selecting their Judges’ Choices due to the high standard of ideas presented by the multidisciplinary teams. The judges commented that a number of the ideas have real potential for adoption by the industry with further support and development. The audiences in each city also had their say by voting on the People’s Choice Award.
However Smart Seeds doesn’t end at the conclusion of the Showcase Events, the ideas live on. This year, there was further interest by attending and participating organisations in exploring various ideas further. Some of the teams were invited to present again to those organisations. This was a real endorsement of the fresh ideas, with a potential real industry application. As with all ideas, like seedlings, they will need water, sunshine and good care for them to grow. We look forward to watching and supporting a number of the 2015 ideas as they mature.
Professor Peter Phibbs, Professor of Urban Planning at Sydney University said “we really need to look at some new ideas, so competitions like this are just fantastic in getting young people’s views on how cities should work.”
Every year the Smart Seeds alumni network grows. Involvement across all the three Australian cities this year exceeded 400 people, including participants, mentors, judges, challenge sponsors and supporters from o across the infrastructure industry. We thank our 2015 major supporters – Engineers Australia, Bentley Systems, GHD and Innovation Interchange, and also our regional supporters Transport for NSW and Lend Lease.
We are pleased to announce that Smart Seeds is returning in 2016. Expressions of interest for 2016 are now open, more information here.