Stay curious: 2017 Oil and Gas UK Awards – Ultimate Gold Award win

November 16, 2017

By John Hunter

I thought I would write a few words about the Ultimate Gold Awards, and really I should start from the beginning.  Just over 7 years ago, I broke my collar bone in a cycling crash, I’ve no memory of this, which is probably good as it must have hurt a lot!  While I was home recovering, I started to talk more with a then acquaintance Ali McGill. At the time, Ali was MD of an accountancy company in Aberdeen, but that really didn’t define him.  Ali built his business on great service and a great product that was targeted at the clients individual needs.  I asked Ali where all his ideas and his passion came from and he told me to read ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek (to which I’ve now read more than 10 times).

Fast forward 7 years and I was more than a little surprised to hear that I had been nominated for the Best Employee Award at the Press and Journal Gold Awards.  I’ve known my boss Annabel Green since her Weatherford days and we now work as part of the technology group at Tendeka.  I don’t know what Annabel wrote in the original entry brief, but the nomination was very well received.

The awards night in October was nothing like I had planned or imagined, as I had a last minute trip to Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital followed by cutting my own hand on the umbrella meant we arrived fairly late!  Our company was up for an award, but sadly we didn’t win and I just didn’t have a great feeling about my turn. Well I was wrong, I’ll admit I was quite emotional as I walked up to get the award.  I didn’t set out to do the things I have done to win things, but it’s great to get recognition.  I work in R&D, and most of my days are spent with things not going to plan, we push the limits, try new things, ask ‘what if’ a lot – and when things do go well, it’s great!

It turns out that the judges were really impressed with the SPARK club we created, where we use an innovation process to bring the company together to look at various challenges.  When I pitched the idea to Annabel and our CEO, I wasn’t sure how it would be received.  In my head, it was very much an experiment, I wanted to see If we could get ordinary ‘non creative professionals’ to be creative, disruptive and innovative. The management was all for it, so we got stuck in and the results are that an invention born out of one of these sessions has the potential to be the game-changing product that will enable Oil and Gas completions to enter what is being termed Industrial Revolution 4.0, data and internet of things. Essentially we will enable life of well wireless technology.

A month later I was sat at the table at the AECC with my good friend Ross Webster, he is one of our workshop team and like so many within my group, his fingerprints are all over our success. I strongly believe that you achieve nothing alone, all success is built on a wide network of people all working together.

The award time came, and I was very nervous as I wanted to win. And I did!  I knew from the introduction that it was my time.  I had written a speech that said the right thank yous with a challenge to all to ‘Stay Curious’, you can see in the video of the night where I change my mind. I had 500 or so people from our industry, all listening, all happy and open minded. What was I to do? Pass up the chance to say what my ‘WHY’ was?   No chance!

I do believe to my core that we can all be creative, innovative, disruptive. We are born that way, we have always been so, the way our lives are is solely due to creativity. I believe that things can be made better by people like you and me. All we need to do is Start With Why.

If I had not have broken my collarbone, the series of events that led to the award may not have set in motion. Stay Curious.

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You can read our previous mentions of the wins at the following links:

P&J Gold Award win: 

P&J Ultimate Gold Award win:

man holding award at the Oil & Gas UK Awards