There are many debates surrounding innovation; especially when it relates to organisations. Does it come from market research? The minds of the employees and teams? Does it come from corporate culture? Or does it stem from Research & Development (R&D) and marketplace competition? Still to this day the answer changes depending on who you ask. To promote and celebrate Innovation Day, we explain why our company’s history is the perfect case study for how innovation stems from all of the above.

Firstly, the very existence of Ardent is itself innovative. Our company was one of the first to be founded as a specialist Land Assembly and Compulsory Purchase Firm. Ardent completely changed the way the marketplace viewed land specialists in relation to the compulsory purchase process, who now serve as a major asset. By taking a step back and analysing the infrastructure and regeneration sector, our founders were able to understand where there was a gap in the market and capitalise on their research.

In 2005 Ardent pioneered the use of General Vesting Declaration powers for several railway schemes, a method which the industry has since widely adopted following our successful implementation. The multifaceted skillset of our land specialists led to the identification of new laws that could assist in developing infrastructure projects much more efficiently. This proved key to decreasing costs and the time it took to take a project from inception to completion. This time, the innovative minds of our employees and teams served to create a more innovative service.

Since Ardent’s founding in 1996, and the company’s subsequent pioneering successes, many companies began to emerge and operate in the same marketplace. To separate themselves from the rest of the competition, Ardent worked as part of the team that delivered the nation’s first-ever successful Development Consent Order (DCO) application, at Rookery South Resource Recovery Facility for Covanta, innovating the regeneration sector once again. Utilising their understanding of the marketplace and new competitors, Ardent were able to undertake work that was again new to the sector, giving them a valuable unique selling point.

Finally, in 2020, Ardent undertook their 50th DCO, (a tally that now stands at 65!) making them the market leader in Development Consent Order facilitation. This was backed up by the creation of Ardent’s new Atlas & Geospatial Insights Directorate, and their subsequent R&D. The development of Ardent’s digital arm and Atlas platform, leads the sector in the ability to act as a client relationship management and stakeholder engagement tool, as well as a GIS and Land Assembly database. The move to a fully digital integrated business has not only increased efficiency on a variety of high-profile projects, like the A66 redevelopment and EastWest Rail Phase 3 but has helped to reduce Ardent’s paper usage and carbon footprint.

So, where does innovation come from? In short, from every corner of your organisation, it’s imperative that we all work to identify it, and nurture it to sustain the rapidity of change.

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