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Innovation Advent! Day 1 – Happy Tunnel Day

Welcome to The Great Think Innovation Advent Calendar!


We’ll be posting something new on the site every (working…) day up to 23rd December. You can look forward to thoughts from the innovation team, and our esteemed guests, on technology, events and general musings.

Just like your chocolate calendars, everyone who writes a blog for us will receive a sweet treat for their efforts, and out of everyone who contributes to the site in December one lucky winner will receive an ipad mini!

To be in with a chance of winning, comment on these blogs below, chat in our discussion forums or share your innovation.

For now though, forget advent and Christmas, today is National Tunnelling Day! The aim of the day is to generate interest in the world class tunnelling projects happening in the UK like Tideway. The annual event is on the first Thursday of December, close to the Feast Day of St. Barbara (4th Dec), traditionally seen as the Patron Saint of Tunnellers.

Apparently, it’s a long-standing tradition for new tunnelling projects is to establish a small shrine to Santa Barbara at the tunnel portal or at the underground junction into long tunnel headings. I’m not sure I’ve seen any shrines to St. Babs on any of our sites yet, if you spot one let me know!

There are some great graphics and videos being shared over on Twitter to celebrate the day – #TunnelDayUK.

As you may or may not know, this I3P innovation portal has been developed from Crossrail’s Innovate18 site. So with our additions, right now there are tons of great ideas and innovations all to do with building a tunnel shared on this site.

As for Tideway, some of our latest shared innovations include our Land and Property GIS portal which the whole Alliance can access, and CVB’s Youtube channel for marking up BIM models.

Some might ask, are these really innovation? Well for me, innovation is:

Translating ideas > into products or services > which meet a need > and create value.

And that value might be saved time, saved costs, improved safety or decreased risk.

So yes, really most of the shared innovations on this site fit that description.

If you spot something interesting in the next few weeks, whether in the news, an email from a supplier, or something on one of our work sites, think ‘Would there be value if I shared this?’

If the answer is yes, you know where we are.


Sophie McPhillips

Alliance Innovation Manager


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