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Be curious - and thrive

By GeoConnexion - 26th August 2020 - 14:27

Mark Poveda finds there is no time like the present to prepare ourselves for an uncertain future

It’s my pleasure to have been handed the baton of this column from my colleague and good friend, Neil Pollock, who has made the leap from co-worker to customer as he joins the team at Three Sixty Mapping. I hope that I can emulate the success that Neil made of this column, albeit in my own style.

I should kick-off with a little about me – as Group Commercial Director of KOREC, I steer the commercial direction of the company, managing relationships with our partner organisations and ensuring that our customers have access to the most up-to-date and most relevant geospatial products and services. Working out of our Dublin office, I have an overview of both the UK & Irish markets – a perspective that I hope to share more of in future columns.

I take on this column at an interesting (if challenging) time - with the news that the UK has entered the worst recession on record, and predictions that Ireland’s economy may contract by up to 9% this year.1 These figures are certainly dramatic, but they are unsurprising, given the almost total shutdown of businesses and services over the last few months.

Responding to change

If coronavirus has taught us anything, it is that, as people, we are adaptable, resilient and fast to respond to change (it’s also taught us that people we encounter on the street or in the supermarket have a widely varying concept of what two meters looks like - but that’s another issue).

Looking towards an autumn that may be filled with uncertainty, how can we continue to adapt our businesses, our working practices, and ourselves, to ensure that we are best-placed to ride out the potential coming storm?

For me, one of the best ways to remain resilient is to constantly be adding to my pool of knowledge about our wide and varying industry. Such is the pace of change, in terms of the technological developments, workflows, new working methodologies & client expectations, that relying on a degree obtained over a decade (or two!) ago, just isn’t sufficient any longer.

New strings to our bow

In order for us to survive as organisations and as individuals, we need to regularly add those figurative strings to our bow, in order to give us the edge and to retain that competitive advantage. Happily, the technology is here to enable us to do this, quickly, easily, and even enjoyably.

Unlike a full-time degree or masters, lifelong learning is something that can be achieved in regular, small, bite-sized chunks. Take our own KOREC GEOSCHOOL, which ran for 48 sessions over the spring and summer. With each session lasting around 30 minutes, we covered a huge range of topics from mobile mapping, data workflows, planning drone missions…the list goes on!

By finding time to build these small, regular chunks of learning into our busy working days, we are slowly but surely updating our knowledge and awareness of the ever-changing industry in which we work – which could give us that crucial edge when we most need it.

To put it another way, and quoting the famous inventor, Alexander Graham Bell:

“There cannot be mental atrophy in any person who continues to observe, to remember what he observes, and to seek answers for his unceasing hows and whys about things”

As mappers, surveyors and builders, it is not only our job, but our obligation to continue to observe, ask questions, and to be curious about our fascinating and ever-changing industry.