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

Inspiring Innovation in Mining

In the second of this three-part series, we talked about the importance of marketing to the next generation of talent in 3 ways:

  • Providing hands-on exposure
  • Communicating the impact in a tangible way
  • Daring to be early adopters and to invest in research

In this third and final part, we will address the importance of marketing to our own organizations internally and of creating a culture that fosters innovation.

Creating a Culture of Innovation Internally

With huge technological changes within the industry on the horizon, it is just as important to market within the industry as it is to market ourselves externally. With new possibilities arising and transformative technologies being developed, it is important that mining companies feel comfortable integrating these tools into their daily practices.

— Communication. Communication. Communication. —

Due to to recent financial stresses over the past 15 years companies have become risk averse. Larry Clark argues that companies are not as hesitant towards change or lacking eagerness to join the age of digitalization as we think, rather often these advancements are just not being marketed and communicated effectively.

The tremendous return on investment that some new technologies offer is not emphasised enough.

He said, “Our industry is high risk high reward.”  In order for a business to see that their investment is worthwhile, technology companies must be able to clearly explain to the client:

  1. What the risks are.

  2. What steps will be taken to minimize those risks.

  3. How the ROI outweighs the risks involved.

Lawrence Clark
Lawrence Clark, Advisor, Newtrax Board of Directors

It is important for people working in mining companies to know that these technologies are worth the initial investment and that they will lead to higher safety standards and more efficient productivity within the company. 

— Empowering the Team —

Ideas don’t always come from experts. Sometimes the greatest innovations come from novices and backroom tinkers. Open-minded organizations often convert off-the-wall ideas into marketable products.

Successful innovative companies give time to their employees to get away from their daily tasks, to work on personal or company projects not directly related to their work. Then tap into this creative process. Google is well known in the tech community for its “20% time,” which gives employees a day a week to follow their passions, but it’s hardly the first company to have done so.

Newtrax, for example, provides their employees interested in the field of Artificial Intelligence  (AI) the chance to collaborate with researchers on project ideas that aren’t directly related to their daily responsibilities, but that could benefit clients down the road. Enabling employees to experiment with creative ideas  empowers them to think outside the box and come up with solutions that they never thought could be possible.

— Collaborating with Industry Partners and Peers —

No organization holds all the cards in developing new innovation. Collaboration with outside groups–complementary corporations, universities, government agencies, and think tanks–often brings new perspectives and ideas to the innovation process.

Newtrax has recently partnered with the Montreal-based Institute for Data Valorisation (IVADO) earlier this year. Together, our mission is to create new value for existing customers with the Big Data generated from Newtrax systems installed around the world.

Jean-Marc Rousseau, Director of Technology Transfer for IVADO, said “the customer problems Newtrax is trying to solve and the datasets they have are a perfect fit for the expertise of our deep learning and operational research hubs”.

By promoting and encouraging a culture of innovation in our organizations, not only will our employees feel empowered to make a difference, but the mining industry as a whole will begin to transform in dramatic ways.