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Spirit of entrepreneurialism
By James Paton Managing Director

A decade ago, if you were to take to the streets of Aberdeen, Stavangar, Houston or Kuala Lumpur and ask for the three words which people most associate with the oil and gas industry, there’s a fair chance “money”, “dirty” and “oil rigs” would be recurring themes.

Today, with the lower oil price driving the need for cost efficiencies, leaner business models and increased collaboration, I hope that in amongst the mix we’re going to start hearing more positive words like “pioneering”, “creative” and “entrepreneurial” increasingly cropping up in the months ahead.

These descriptions hark back to the early days of oil and gas exploration and production. Sadly, much of the pioneering spirit that provided the catalyst for some of the seismic shifts in our industry’s history has been lost in recent years as the sector becomes increasingly risk averse to the point where no-one wants to stick their head above the parapet and try something different.

But with economic challenge also comes opportunity for change. It’s time for great ideas to come to the fore and for those with the determination and drive to get a chance to show what they can do.

I firmly believe it is the duty of employers to actively foster the spirit of entrepreneurialism in their people. Innovation demands an agile and responsive organisational structure that fuels creativity and accommodates failure; large established companies are often comprised of rigid, hierarchical institutional structures that can stifle the entrepreneurial spirit and limit their growth.

That’s not to say that it can’t be done. I was recently honoured to be shortlisted in EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 programme, an annual awards scheme which celebrates entrepreneurial achievements in multiple industries and sectors across the UK.

For ADIL to have been recognised on this prestigious list is a significant achievement in itself but for me, the real pleasure comes from knowing that we have created a culture that encourages people to learn, grow and, at the same time, focus on their day-to-day work.

Our industry has been built by entrepreneurs and we need them just as much today as we ever have. It’s time to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurialism in every business in every sector, so we as an industry, continue to flourish.

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