LEG in Practice: Exploring Growth Opportunities and Renewable Energy in Western Australia

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Guest Blog by Warner Priest, LEG ’22

In many cases, I find when faced with a challenge it is difficult to know where to start and what to do and I find myself procrastinating. The step-by-step approach to Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) has become a useful tool to getting whatever challenge I am faced with underway. Breaking down the problem into its root cause, looking for possible solutions, identifying entry points then taking action, reflecting upon what was learned, adapting and then going through the process again – gets the process or journey underway.

I like the fluidity of this process with the small successes along the way that help build authority, acceptance and legitimacy, providing one with the feedback that ultimately leads to a solution that suits.

I found the ATLAS tool very powerful and useful, being able to understand what our countries exports are made up of, whether our exports have evolved over time and what we as a country produce and the complexity of our products.

Through the ATLAS tool I discovered to what extent the Australian economy relies on the export of just a few of its natural resources like Iron Ore, Coal and Natural Gas. And whilst Australia up until COVID had experienced 27 years of uninterrupted growth, the economy is on a knife-edge due to the likely disruption in fossil fuels, its reliance on China for its export commodities and its lowering complexity index due to the closing down of it manufacturing sector and its lack of diversity.

My growth challenge, working with InterContinental Energy, our large-scale renewable energy projects to produce green fuels at Oil & Gas scale, provides Australia, in particular Western Australia with a unique opportunity to diversify its economy by manufacturing green products using very cheap renewable electricity and hydrogen as its key competitive advantage to do so.

Over the last 10 weeks I’ve had an initiative underway with the Western Australian State Government on the concern around our economies lack of diversity. I have been using the processes and tools I learned on this program to initiate the engagement, garner the interest and to cut through the bureaucratic red tape of government.

Just recently, we submitted an application to government detailing our vision and what needs to be done between the government and the private sector to take advantage of this unique opportunity in the renewables sector. It is clear that there is interest, but that this is just the very beginning of a long journey.

This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Leading Economic Growth Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. 71 Participants successfully completed this 10-week online course in May 2022. These are their learning journey stories.

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