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Friday 24th May 2013 at The Royal Society

On Friday, the innovation team joined Crossrail’s Early Career Professionals (ECP’s) for their second conference following the success of the last ECP event in September 2012. The focus of the conference at the Royal Society was innovation and we warmly welcomed guest speakers:

  • Crossrail’s CEO Andrew Wolstenholme
  • Crossrail’s Strategic Projects Director Mark Thurston
  • Jeremy Lazarus, NLP Master Practitioner and Performance Coach for the British Olympic shooting team
  • Mark Dodgson, Imperial College Visiting Professor and Director of Technology and Innovation at University of Queensland Business School, Non- Executive Director at Nestlé Australia
  • Crossrail’s Technical Director Chris Sexton

Andrew Wolstenholme explained that in order to safely deliver a world class Crossrail by 2018 on budget, we will have to bring to life the innovation programme and think differently and innovate. Andrew also highlighted the importance of the Early Career Professionals to the innovation programme with their fresh outlook to the industry and that they readily embrace technology.

ECP Conference 6Mark Thurston took to the stage and used the opportunity to discuss the importance of creating an environment for a network to grow. He said ‘For innovation to succeed, open collaboration in a ‘liquid network’ between contractor, project and functional teams is integral.’

Jeremy Lazarus is the Performance Coach for the British Olympic Shooting team and discussed the concept neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), stating that the beliefs of people who are successful share common beliefs or mindset including:

  • Having respect for other people’s point of view and individuality
  • There is no failure, just feedback!
  • You have all the resources (ability to learn, determination, motivation) you need to succeed and to achieve your desired success
  • The more flexible you can be, the better chances of success

Innovation A short introductionThe delegates welcomed Mark Dodgson to the event. Mark has spent the last 25 years studying and improving corporate strategies and government policies for innovation. Mark discussed his interpretation of the meaning of innovation and how one can challenge preconceived ideas and not be afraid to be adventurous. This approach was adopted by IBM which helped rescue them from collapse in the 1990’s. The IBM story is told his book ‘Innovation a very short introduction’ that he wrote in collaboration with Imperial College’s David Gann (who has helped shape Crossrail’s Innovation Strategy).


ECP Conference 4After trying out Walt Disney’s method for problem solving current issues tabled by different directorates of Crossrail; Technical Director, Chris Sexton closed the event with a summary of the conference. Chris shared the story of golfer Jack Nichols holing a shot from off the green who retorted to a “lucky shot!” heckle from the crowd, with: “yes but the more I practice the luckier I get! ” A good analogy to the fact

that the more attempts Crossrail have at making the railway world class the better chance we have of making it a reality.
I have no doubt that the energy of the Early Career Professional network will stimulate the true potential of the innovation programme I would like to extend my thanks to Julia Lydall, Sam Hernandez, Catherine Muntoyi, Estelle Detrembleur and Jonathan Bluh for organising the event.

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