Building the Platform for Mining Innovation

In a recent blog post we outlined ‘5 reasons why collaboration is the key to tomorrow’s mining industry’. This week we’re taking that one step further to explain how CMIC and its members work together to create the right conditions for collaborative innovation.

To learn more, we held a Q&A with Carl Weatherell, Executive Director and CEO of CMIC. Here is what he had to say:

What are the requirements for effective collaboration?

“The desire to innovate starts by identifying common complex business challenges that cannot be solved by any one organization. Collaborative innovation, though, is about more than just the technology, it is about the people who are the building blocks for collaboration.”

What slows collaboration?

“Collaboration is like a marriage – it takes time to build trust. We’re trying to get people who have never worked together to cooperate on solving their shared problems or achieving their common goals. What we’re doing is smashing the boundaries between sectors, companies, or even departments in order to build that trust and cooperation.

“Another significant challenge we face is simply a lack of time – the people we work with are stretched. There is typically not a dedicated person within a mining company whose function it is to manage or coordinate the collaborative process, so we’re relying on busy people to take their focus away from their primary responsibilities.

“Finally, there is a lack of understanding of the value of collaboration and how better results can be achieved faster and cheaper. Once the significant benefits to be achieved in terms of operations, profitability and sustainability are understood the process becomes much easier.”

How does CMIC facilitate collaboration?

“CMIC acts as a trusted neutral broker – we break down barriers, creating a comfort level between parties who have never worked together and might consider themselves rivals.

“The first step is the creation of roadmaps which plot a path to the future, providing alignment between industry members and with suppliers. This process facilitates interactions between competitors and starts the collaborative process. These roadmaps create new design principles by challenging the current thinking, breaking down cognitive biases and providing for paradigm shifts. These paradigm shifts include who should collaborate, not just on what or how. CMIC then takes those shared ideas and we lead the process to design and create new projects. We help build trust among the players, and also trust in where the journey is taking us.

“Our consortium members quickly come to appreciate that the collaborative process is giving them access to resources and expertise that they would not otherwise have at their disposal.”

This culture of collaborative innovation is how CMIC and its members are ReThinking Mining. Stay tuned to this blog where we will be providing updates on consortium projects and tracking our progress as we move toward Zero Waste Mining.

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Mike Stuart

Head of Sales , Intel