Sam Fielden joined Beca in 2003 and has since enjoyed a variety of roles. His years of experience, relationships with clients and stakeholders, combined with strong business acumen and a keen eye for innovative solutions has led him to Beca’s New Ventures Accelerator Management Team.
We asked Sam about his career progression and what’s in store for innovation at Beca.
1. You’ve been a part of the Beca family for over 15 years, what have been some of your career highlights so far?
I’ve enjoyed a diverse range of experiences and had a heck of a lot of fun along the way! From three years living in Texas being part of the team who delivered the system upgrades to the Royal New Zealand Airforce’s P-3K2 Orion Aircraft. To working on the first fully agile contract for the Royal New Zealand Navy for the CIWS Trainer project. To contributing and learning from our rapidly growing and immensely talented team of professionals and awesome clients.
2. How have your past experiences contributed towards your current role as a Commercial Manager?
I’ve been involved in innovation at Beca from day one and I can’t recall a moment where I wasn’t actively working in starting a new business or service. These experiences have helped me develop the skills and relationships to champion innovation and help others as they try to bring new ideas to life for our clients.
3. What do you enjoy most about your role?
Being able to work with a broad range of talented people at Beca and the innovations they’re working on – through this experience I’m constantly learning about new aspects of our business.
Externally, I get to seek out the best of the innovation ecosystem and introduce these to our work for clients and Beca. It’s exciting constantly meeting innovative partners, start-ups and discovering new tools or techniques which support innovation.
4. How does the current work you do ‘make everyday better’ for our clients and communities?
At the core of the work we do is a fundamental question: “how could we make the lives of our clients or communities better than they are today?” and this is reflected in our purpose to “make everyday better.” This could be through an improved experience, service or relationship, resulting from the application of innovative processes.
5. What are you most proud of at the end of Beca’s first accelerator programme?
Whenever we try something new, and the latest accelerator programme is an example of this, there can be uncertainty. Having come through the programme, I am invigorated by the level of energy, passion and enthusiasm people have brought – it is clear they’re highly motivated to positively impact the world we live in.
6. One of our strategic goals is around empowering exceptional people. How do you think the New Ventures Accelerator programme is contributing towards this goal?
The programme has created an environment where our team can work with our clients to push the boundaries further than ever before! This enables us to leverage specialist advice, coaching and support to explore new and disruptive business ideas.
7. Outside of work, how do you like to relax and recharge?
I have a wonderful family who keep me on my toes and challenge me to see things from different perspectives. In my spare time I love all forms of fishing whether it’s in remote rivers fly fishing for trout, or out at sea chasing game fish – there’s always something new to experience and share.
8. What advice would you give to those with innovative ideas willing to make a difference?
If I was to offer one piece of advice it must be that the starting point for all innovation is a ‘problem’, whether it is something your client or company hasn’t been able to solve yet, a social challenge which needs to be addressed, or a common task which doesn’t work as well as it could. If you can deeply understand the problem first, you stand a good chance of designing a solution which people will buy.
9. What do the next 12 months hold for you?
Planning to work on even more innovation than last year and continuing to support those who have just graduated from our programme, and generally continuing to push the boundaries!
The starting point for all innovation is a ‘problem’, whether it is something your client or company hasn’t been able to solve yet, a social challenge which needs to be addressed, or a common task which doesn’t work as well as it could. If you can deeply understand the problem first, you stand a good chance of designing a solution which people will buy.
New Ventures Accelerator Commercial Manager