Fostering innovation

Innovation January 17, 2020

Whether it is a novel way to identify invasive species or a project that has led to a change in business practice, it has always been RSK’s philosophy to back any employee who has an idea that may lead to an innovation. Anyone who has an idea for how we can do things better should be able to get the appropriate support and the resources to test these ideas.

For the past two years, we have asked employees to share these successes and submit entries for our annual Innovation Awards. The awards, led by George Tuckwell, RSK Director for geosciences and engineering, celebrate ideas that have led to a change in business practice and created positive benefits to the bottom line, health and safety, quality and/or sustainability.

The third annual awards were launched in late 2019 and drew a wide range of submissions from across the group. As the judges decide this year’s winning entry, here is a look at our previous winners.

Level headed

At the inaugural awards in 2018, the level crossing team from RSK Business Solutions took home the trophy. Managing Director Danny Bird shared the work his team had done for Network Rail in monitoring the safety of level crossings.

The team recognised that the surveys currently provided to the client were limited and of low quality, and designed a new way of monitoring level crossings with video and associated software. They collaborated with Structural Soils, an RSK company, to install the equipment at each crossing surveyed. RSK’s transport planning experts have also explored the possibility of using the technology for road safety and traffic assessments.

The RSK judges were impressed with the cross-business collaborations and that it was an opportunity to proactively help a client by creating a new approach to a problem from scratch. You can see more about the technology on YouTube.

Sustainable solutions for sulphur

The following year, the judging panel had a difficult task deciding a winner so chose two well-deserved teams for a joint 2019 award.
One award went to RSK Environmental Advisor Cyndi Teulon and the RSK Middle East team for developing and implementing a sustainable solution for sulphur generated from a natural gas processing facility in Iraq. RSK partnered with ADAS, an RSK company, and a local college, and engaged with ministries, to provide new learning and development opportunities for Iraqis while developing an agricultural reuse for sulphur.

A sewage sludge solution

RSK company RemedX’s stabilisation and solidification of sewage sludge solution equally impressed the judges in 2019. Associate Director Richard Martin and the Bristol RemedX team took the joint trophy. The project was an excellent example of RSK’s multidisciplinary assets, with the project managed by Darren Bench of RSK’s geosciences team, and the innovative sewage sludge solution presented and undertaken by RemedX, Bristol.

A client approached the team to develop a solution that would allow the successful stabilisation and solidification of sewage sludge on a development site. A previous investigation by another designer had identified that conventional hydraulic binders could be used to stabilise and solidify the sewage sludge. However, it was deemed that the stabilisation works were prohibitively expensive and threatened the viability of the project.

Collaboratively, RemedX and RSK identified a hazardous waste product from the cement manufacturing industry that would stabilise and solidify the sewage sludge. The challenge was to successfully demonstrate to the Environment Agency that a hazardous waste material could be managed appropriately on-site, with geochemical and geotechnical testing required to demonstrate the wastes suitability, along with ambient environmental monitoring, thereby offering financial viability to the client’s project.

We look forward to sharing the winners of our third Innovation Awards soon!