Did you know that Holden started as a saddlery?

Last week I attended the Hunter New Energy Symposium, and the big takeaway for me was that Holden started as a saddlery. I didn’t know this, but it resonated with me because it showed the resilience of companies (and people) who are adaptable.

There was a lot of discussion during the symposium about how the Hunter is in an optimum position to pivot from coal mining to renewables, some ideas floated included using the old coal mining sites as potential renewable sites. Some people were even referring to it as the latest industrial revolution.

This got me thinking about innovation and adaptability, and how important it is in every industry, including comms and engagement.

Over the last few years, as community engagement practitioners in Sydney, our focus has largely been on improving the way we move around the city with big transport projects like Sydney Metro and the many road tunnels we’ve been building. Before that there was a huge focus on the water space thanks to the millennium drought.

As projects come to an end, and priorities shift, we need to adapt. The great thing is we’ve banked up lots of experience that place us in a great position to think outside the box and do things differently.

So, what do we, as communications and engagement practitioners, need to be thinking about now, as we adapt our focus – and how can we ensure we have the right skills in place to ensure we’re at an advantage?

At Factotum, we’re talking and thinking about this every day. We’ve built up some incredible transferable skills working on projects across the eastern states. From working with some of Australia’s most diverse urban communities in the southwest of Sydney (Sydney Metro), considering the impacts of major construction on the doorstep of Australia’s biggest airport (Sydney Gateway) and developing updated community engagement guidelines and policies in consultation with Forestry’s stakeholders. I know I can take the experience gained and apply it in working with communities impacted by the shift to renewables.

We’ve got a team that is both experienced and (reasonably) young, we’ve all come to the team from completely different workplaces, and we’re all willing to try new things and broaden our horizons, making us adaptable and resilient.

I think these things will serve us well, in this brave new world, where we look for ways to contribute our skills in tackling climate change head on.