PA Consulting challenges schools to find Raspberry Pi transport solutions

05 December 2018 Consultancy.uk

PA Consulting Group is preparing to host its annual Raspberry Pi Awards Day, having announced the criteria for its 2019 Raspberry Pi contest. The yearly competition sees schools from across the UK send teams of children to design innovative solutions for the modern world, and compete for one of three £1,000 prizes.

Now in its seventh year, the Raspberry Pi competition has once again commenced plans to see over 100 schools showcase their creativity and fostering their skills in computer coding. The 2018 edition saw the contest’s strongest ever turnout, addressing a theme of sustainability. The children were challenged to utilise the Raspberry Pi – a cheap, low-spec computer the size of credit-card – to invent something that will help “save the planet.”

Now, as organiser PA Consulting Group looks to kick on from this success for the 2019 incarnation of the event, it has announced that the next event will see British schools and colleges challenged to find ways of using a Raspberry Pi computer to transform travel and transport. The theme of travel and transport opens the door to entries that address anything from security issues to improving accessibility for people with physical mobility challenges, or minimising the environmental impact of journeys.

PA Consulting challenges schools to find Raspberry Pi transport solutionsPA Consulting launched the competition in 2012 to help tackle the growing talent gap in programming and coding. According to PA’s Global Innovation Services Leader, Anita Chandraker, the company has always been astounded not only by entrants’ inventions, but also by their sheer commitment and enthusiasm.

She added, “Schools all over the UK have been taking a significant interest in coding following its introduction on the school curriculum. More than ever, it is important for young people to understand the basics of programming and the power technology can have in transforming the world.”

The winning team in each of three categories will receive £1,000 in prize money, with the added incentive that the first 100 teams to enter will receive a free Pi 3 starter kit. Categories are for primary school (Years 4-6), secondary schools (Years 7-11) and sixth forms/colleges (Years 12-13). A panel of experts from PA will choose three finalists from each category, inviting nine teams to show off their inventions at an exclusive event attended by some of the UK’s most inventive leaders from the public and private sectors.

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Event explores the future of project management

03 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Dada Enterprises, a business consultancy based in London, recently featured on a panel of speakers to explore the key forces impacting on future projects and organisations at the University of West London (UWL) Claude Littner Business School. This was as part of a special evening organised by AK Optimize to commemorate the inaugural West London Project Hub. 

This packed event pulled together dynamic speakers who explored topics facing the future of project management in the UK. The diverse topics included artificial intelligence, project management apprenticeships and future talent management, how to deliver a major project like Thames Tideway, PMOs delivering strategic value, project leadership and Brexit and its implications for project managers.

The event kicked off with an opening address from Amerjit Walia, Director of Project Programs at AK Optimize, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Association of Project Management (APM). Walia explained that the inaugural event was part of a strategy which aims to make the UWL Claude Littner Business School a centre of excellence for project management. 

Jonathan Norman, Knowledge Hub Manager at the Major Projects Association, then introduced the Major Project Knowledge Hub. This Knowledge Hub aims to improve major project initiation, delivery and innovation through the sharing of knowledge and best practices as defined by an active, global user community. It is an open access source of insight, activities and events designed to encourage knowledge-sharing, collaboration and better planning, initiation and execution of major projects within the UK.

Event explores the future of project management

Sachin Melwani, Managing Director of Dada Enterprises, author of ‘How to Brexit Proof Your Project Strategy’, gave an overview of the constantly shifting Brexit timeline, the various Brexit options available and the potential project delivery impacts. Sachin then shed light on the operational impacts of Brexit, and the practical measures that firms can take to mitigate them. He argued that impact assessments are a major priority, and companies should seek to push ahead on them sooner rather than later. Failure to do so could also leave firms exposed to heightened contingency planning and transition costs as they scramble to be ready – and the cost of contingency planning at the last minute inevitably comes with a sizeable premium.

The event, which coincided with the National Apprenticeship Week 2019, was set-up by Caspar Bartington, Education Manager at the Association for Project Management (APM) – Europe’s largest professional body for project management. 

Steve Wells, acclaimed futurologist, was also on hand to explain the core question of how humanity can be kept at the centre of the AI story in the face of powerful technological shifts reshaping the world and straining the old social fabric. Steve put AI in the context of the other highly disruptive changes happening in parallel which are creating a more complex and multi-faceted business world (e.g. trade tensions, data security, war, terrorism, natural disasters).

Richard Lewis, Client Programme Manager at Tideway London, provided a dose of reality by explaining how topics like apprenticeships, Brexit and AI were not just theories but ‘real’ issues that had to be dealt with at Tideway London to secure the resource base and improve safety management and construction planning. As Client Representative for the Tideway programme (valued at £3.4 billion), Richard reports to the COO and is responsible for the performance of the Programme Management Contractor. Acting as the key client representative to programme-wide external stakeholders, Richard chairs the Alliance Management team consisting of three joint ventures. Richard gave an overview of the Tideway programme, outlining its pioneering engineering initiatives and value for London.

Finally, Stuart Easton, CEO of Transparent Choice, an expert in project prioritisation, explained how companies should constantly measure strategic alignment. This enables businesses to eliminate waste from their supply chains and eliminate the subsequent costs they incur, while allowing for heightened focus on key projects. Easton explained that an AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process) is "the way" forward, and no shortcut will work in its place.

Related: Dada Enterprises event explores Brexit impact on project delivery.