Teaming up to keep learning

​​Woodside benefitted from some fresh eyes for an ongoing project when four students from Monash University spent the summer in Perth lending their expertise.

They were part of the Monash Industry Team Initiative (MITI) which involves students working in industry in small teams to solve real problems. The team that visited Woodside took on a project to create a best in class learning culture.

As general manager project capability Neil Maxfield explains, their work was a continuation of a project launched 18 months ago. “We started with a pilot Student Action Learning Program (SALP) in the midterm of 2016 where the students mapped how we learn and proposed a roadmap to move forward,” says Neil.

Nicole Magill from People and Global Capability then suggested this was an opportunity to engage the Monash MITI program. “Nicole saw the value that could be gained beyond the Woodside Future Lab-sponsored Innovation Centre and engaging students directly through MITI,” says Neil.

The inaugural MITI students implemented the roadmap during the summer of 2016/2017 which included canvasing support across the Project delivery functions. “They identified best practice in the Subsea and Pipelines (SS&PL) function where Lewis Kemp and Karl Woods were applying lessons learnt so they engaged SS&PL to pilot a streamlined procedure suitable for use across the business,” Neil says.

Projects graduates Jonathan Ng and David Moyle took the output from the MITI team and published the new procedure in 2017 including a further trial by the SS&PL team. This summer, the diverse MITI team helped Woodside move closer to realising a learning culture across Developments and associated project delivery functions, including Engineering, Projects, SS&PL and Contracts and Procurement.

Vikram Singh, studying for his masters in business information systems at Monash, was one of the cross-discipline project team along with Prateek Jain, an undergraduate in civil engineering, Grace Shaw (arts and law), and Taiqing Zhang, known as Ken, undertaking a masters in IT.

Vikram says knowledge capture and knowledge transfer is not yet occurring at the optimum level. “So we’re building a knowledge depository learning base which captures the journeys of the learning for new people and other people in the team,” he says.

Neil says the key output of the 2017/2018 team has been to create a communication plan focused on realising the short, medium and long-term journey to a learning culture and a best in class learning organisation.“This plan was supported by Suzie Cracknell from employee engagement, and Jonathan and David, who undertook the supervision of the team,” he adds.

The journey is not yet done and the graduates who will replace David and Jonathan this year will continue to drive the learning culture journey through bringing the communication plan to life over the next 10 months. Neil notes the MITI team would not have been able to create the potential value they have without support and involvement of the functions, particularly SS&PL.

The MITI team presented their work to Woodside managers at the end of the program and outlined their own personal learning journey. They thanked Woodside and the MITI program for the opportunity to help to solve a significant business problem. Grace remarked: “I have now realised a passion for communications and the value of learning lessons thanks to the Monash MITI program and Woodside.”


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