16 December 2021

Meet Scott Needham, our Managing Director

Born and raised in Wollongong, Scott Needham is an engineer, advisor and entrepreneur who solves the big business problems haunting Australian and global industries. With over 25 years of experience across a multitude of different sectors, Scott spends a lot of his time working on the space between technology and human needs.

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After graduating from high school, Scott was encouraged to apply for a BHP cadetship (today known as Blue Scope Steel) by his economics teacher. To 17-year-old Scott, who had the world at his fingertips without knowing where he wanted to go, the cadetship became the catalyst for his long and exciting career in engineering.

The materials engineering cadetship with BHP included a five-year engineering course at the University of Wollongong where Scott graduated with First Class Honours in 1997. In his first year out of high school as a cadet, Scott was involved in a corrosion lab that worked to measure and test corrosion in steel, as well as the effects of it globally.

Two years later as a 19-year-old, he found himself managing over 300 people at Australia’s only stainless steel plant. An extremely formative time of his life, this role taught Scott a lot about people and how to work effectively in a team.

After finishing up with BHP, Scott moved onto an Operations Coordinator role with BlueScope Steel, before working with John Nicholls and Associates as a Consultant Engineer in London. Returning to Australia in 2002, Scott then completed various business and management qualifications at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and the Haas Business School in the United States. Following this, Scott completed a PhD in Electrode Materials used in Li-ion Batteries, which led to a role as Manager of Innovation and Commercialisation with the University of Wollongong.

Scott left his role at the University of Wollongong in 2009, Scott founded SABO Investments Pty Ltd. This venture revolved around providing advice on the identification, protection, market and commercialisation of innovations and inventions.

He then moved into a Director of Invention Development role with Intellectual Ventures for just over three years, before taking on a Senior Director role for another four years. Scott has also worked as Vice President of US-based innovation services firm Xinova LLC,and as Managing Director of the Australian office, and Founder and Chief Operating Officer of their technology development and rapid prototyping centre based in Singapore.

In mid-2021, he joined forces with The Growth Drivers. A multi-disciplinary solutions agency that aims to tackle the world’s most pressing issues, Scott acts as Managing Director and is laser-focused on building a better and more sustainable company. Hoping to inspire employees, take on more projects, increase their client base and create larger ripples of impact, Scott loves working with The Growth Drivers team for one major reason: many companies and industries are struggling to keep pace with change. TGD brings the approach and expertise needed to help our clients navigate uncertainty and build meaningful impact, enduring value.

Referring to the agency’s work as ‘a sandpit of finding new things to do’, Scott says the curiosity makes him ‘feel like a kid again’. He loves the fact that he is challenged to make a difference and look at a problem in a new light.

When it comes to other formative moments, Scott is quick to mention that he considers the people he meets and the organisations he is involved with as his ‘unofficial board’. With an eye for identifying skills and characteristics that he admires and aspires to, Scott tries to learn from and engage each and every person he meets. Having done this from a young age, Scott believes it makes him a better person.

For Scott, making an impact and doing his part to create a better world comes down to what he calls a ‘regret minimisation strategy’. In the last years of his life, he says, he doesn’t want to look back and wonder what he did to make an impact.

Inspired by his family and friends to create change, Scott is determined to make his working life as fun and as impactful as possible.
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