21 June 2022

There is significant work being done at national and international level to transform the way decisions are made about the built environment. This requires different understanding from owners, sponsors and government, and from professionals involved in project conception, set-up, design, delivery and hand-over into operations. The challenge is now to implement this policy, to transform understanding of what projects are, and how they deliver value. This is vitally important in a world of significant uncertainty and complexity arising in the context of rapidly changing technologies, growing recognition of stakeholders, and changing weather and climate. There is the potential to draw on the research base to rapidly transform in order to reduce infrastructure and industry’s carbon and other environmental footprints and achieve resilience in complex systems.

We are not in a ‘business as usual world’ — in the midst of a climate emergency and a pandemic, with recent floods, bushfires, storms, and parts of the globe experiencing war. Projects intervene into this world, and shape its futures. This workshop enabled participants to develop their leadership skills to implement projects as interventions into wider systems. It covered:

• Fundamentals of understanding projects as interventions into systems of systems.

• Situating infrastructure in the context of (changing) natural environments, with ‘projects for resilience’ rather than resilience in projects.

• The need for projects to be seen as interventions to achieve social, economic and environmental outcomes in a changing world, rather than being siloed asset delivery.

• The role of owners, sponsors and government in enabling projects to be understood as interventions.

• The policy context for infrastructure transitions, and practical examples from industry and research.

Drawing on the expertise of two internationally leading centres of excellence, the John Grill Institute for Project Leadership and the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation, it also provided an opportunity to discuss international collaboration and the role the international research base can play in providing the evidence for what works.


9am BST/6pm AEST Welcome and introductions

Dr Ana Mijic, Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation, Imperial College London; Professor Jennifer Whyte, Head of School of Project Management, Director of the John Grill Institute of Project Leadership

– Why projects as interventions?

– Brief overview and pointers to research landscape

9.15-9.35am BST/ 6.15-6.35pm AEST Panel Discussion on Global Policy Context – Chaired by Professor Jennifer Whyte, University of Sydney

Maud de Vautibault, Global Infrastructure Hub, Peter Colacino Infrastructure Australia, Andrew McNaughton, ICE

– From policy documents to practice – envisioned challenges

– How the international research community can support these agendas

9.35-9.55am BST/ 6.35-6.55pm AEST Panel Discussion on Project Sponsorship and Delivery – Chaired by Andrew McNaughton

Dr Lara Mottee, University of Sydney, Dale Evans, Project 13, David Ballantyne, Partner from PWC Australia – Integrated Infrastructure Practice, David Gainsford, Deputy Secretary Development Assessment – NSW Dept of Planning and Environment

– From policy and research to practice – envisioned challenges

– Early engagement – what are the key decisions to make at the start of a project

– Role of stakeholders

– Leadership model – how it needs to change to deliver desired outcomes

– How the international research community can support these agendas

9.55-10.25am BST/ 6.55-7.25 pm AEST Bringing together Policy, Practice and Research – Chaired by Dr Ana Mijic

Mark Enzer, Mott MacDonald, Dr Chris Millard, Laing O’Rourke, Professor Jennifer Whyte

– What data policy makers and practitioners need to make better decisions

– What are the mechanisms that can support shaping research agendas and high-impact research on projects as interventions?

10.25-10.30am BST/ 7.25-7.30pm AEST Closing remarks from the Chairs and next steps