How Should We Inspire Innovation Within the Mining Industry? (Part 1 of 3)

Inspiring Innovation in Mining

The global mining industry needs fresh solutions and big ideas to thrive in the coming decades. In order to ensure that the next generation of young professionals are pushing innovation in our industry we must find new ways to engage them. Inviting the tech community to help revolutionize and disrupt our field creates potential for radical change. This will ensure mining is on the technological forefront in the coming age of digitization with lower capital costs and higher outputs.

In the first of this three-part series, we will talk about the rise of the Hackathons and tech-related events designed specifically for the mining industry.

— Hackathons & Tech Events —

Hackathons are local events where professional software developers, designers, data analysts, and the like come together to quickly and creatively develop solutions to a given challenge or problem. They have been used by many tech corporations to energize developing talent and attract them to their industry. Companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, are renowned for tech events that leave their participants walking away with renewed vigour and excitement.

For mining, this “open-sourced” leap into the world of innovation is relatively new. There is a lack of public awareness regarding the massive technological advancements that have been achieved in mining. Implementation has been an arduous process. These factors have prevented mining from captivating the attention of tech entrepreneurs and inspiring the future generation of industry innovators.

This past September, Unearthed hosted a hackathon event in Denver, Colorado. Unearthed’s goal is to inspire innovation in the global mining community while simultaneously involving young tech professionals in the industry. The event lasted 54 hours and revolved around a competition between 16 teams of local developers, data scientists, and engineers, to create prototype solutions to solve some of the most difficult industry challenges.   

Unearthed, Denver 2017
Unearthed, Denver 2017

Unearthed events feature keynote speakers, a panel of respected mining professionals, and cash prizes for the winning teams. Their events are as exciting as they are challenging and attract the brightest young minds to compete.

This is invigorating for industry veterans such as Larry Clark, a board member of Newtrax Technologies and a Principal at Jolimont Global Mining Systems. He was a member of the judging panel and was able to experience firsthand the range of advantages associated with it.

“I found that the solutions that came out of the Hackathon here in Denver were actually very interesting. I think that there are two values that come out of it. One is getting people excited about the mining industry and the technological challenges, and also the potential for actually discovering some new approach”

Larry Clarke, Advisor, Newtrax Board of Directors
Larry Clark, Advisor, Newtrax Board of Directors

It is important to communicate that the mining industry is at the precipice of a technological revolution. There are countless ways for the mining community to harness technology in advancing its productivity and transforming its safety standards. In order for these advancements to occur, there must be a push to reach out and exhibit the tremendous opportunity in our industry to the minds of the next generation.  

Hackathons are a great tool for discovering new solutions to challenging problems but their greatest value may be enabling our industry to market and network within our local tech communities.

In the second part of this series, we will talk about the need to market to tech-savvy talent and Millennials, and how to do it.

Stay tuned!

Photos courtesy of Unearthed