Researchers from SMART are travelling to Hong Kong this month as the final phase of a two-year project gets under way.

SMART director, Senior Professor Pascal Perez and Associate Professor Rodney Clarke, from the Faculty of Business, along with other researchers will separately visit MTR, one of the world’s largest providers of metro and bus systems.

The company has 20,000 employees across the world, and operates transport systems in cities such as Melbourne, Hong Kong, Singapore and Stockholm.

For the past two years, SMART has being helping devise systems to enable the company to transform itself into a ‘’learning organisation”.

That means, a company that promoted innovation by promoting creative thinking amongst its employees, ensuring those employees were able to share innovative ideas, and that those ideas were applicable to the whole organisation.

The innovative business philosophy originated in North America but MTR was dissatisfied with the results – senior managers believed the system should be working more effectively, but they had no idea how to make that happen.

The three-phase project started with a review of current procedures and the identification of what obstacles existed that prevented the idea from properly taking hold.

The second phase, which has recently finished, involved the design and development of systems to enable employees (and customers) to present their ideas for innovation in an efficient and effective manner.

“This phase required a significant level of engagement with relevant staff and customers in order to detect any aspect of the geo-social intelligence system requiring immediate improvement,” Professor Clarke said.

In these final months of the project – from now until September – the solutions devised by SMART will be implemented and tested.

“This phase will provide MTR Corporation with a relevant solution, thoroughly tested and transferred to competent and motivated staff,” Professor Clarke said.

“This is something that we are very proud to have developed – it’s taken quite a combination of ideas to get this far.”

Professor Clarke said he believed the core capabilities of the solutions developed were widely applicable to a wide range of organisations that wanted to transform themselves into learning organisations using the creativity and innovation of their staff, or even of their customers.

He is confident that the project will lead to further development in the coming months and years.