Innovation process may be characterised by three separate actions: the creation of ideas; their development; and subsequent application for the benefit of industry and society. In water engineering consultancy, the processes that stimulate and manage innovation are not well established. Other organisations are capable of establishing dedicated product or commodity facilities, but the make‐up of the construction industry and its consultancy service organisations, requires a different approach. Conventional models tend to focus on product innovation in a manufacturing environment but it is also necessary to consider innovation from the perspective of the service industries. This paper aims to address this issue.
This paper describes the case of Halcrow, an international civil and environmental engineering consultancy. In 2001, Halcrow Group Ltd and Cardiff University cooperated with each other to research and innovate via a strategic collaboration which involved the sponsorship of a chair and a research team in the School of Engineering. The collaboration, whose aim is to underpin a strategic relationship between university research in various aspects of water engineering and management consultancy, is structured around five related topics, which when combined provide a collaborative framework that promotes innovation and exploitation of industry relevant research. The topics are: networking, research exploitation, skills development, knowledge transfer and dissemination. Through the collaboration, a number of activities have been promoted and these have resulted in a number of innovations, valuable in developing business. Insights from the Halcrow‐Cardiff collaboration activities and highlights of the resulting innovations are described in this paper.
The paper highlights the contribution that research work through the collaboration has made to the water industry and the anticipated benefits to society in the long term. The paper in turn describes how it has been possible to accommodate variations related to the likes of climate change and renewable energy efficiency, looking ahead to the medium and long terms.
The paper provides insight into an innovative partnership providing a framework for the creation of ideas.
Martin, J., Akande, K. and Falconer, R. (2010), "Innovations from the Halcrow‐Cardiff University strategic collaboration", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 46-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/09699981011011311Download as .RIS
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