BP: Digital technology does not come in nice little silos

Author: John Baumgartner, James Kirk (

Categories: digital change, energy industry
I work for BP so we are a very large oil and gas company we operate on a global scale, our market cap is probably 150 billion, we probably operate more retail stations than McDonalds has outlets. I work in a group called Chief Technology office. Our mission - it’s not a big group, it is less than 20 people – is to bring emerging visual technologies into BP and we do that by nurturing a vast eco system of contacts as we call it of thinkers on the outside world as well as networking within BP to try and make a match between ideas that are emerging in the outside world and our needs within BP and the challenge is to put those two together and start some projects. I think we have been doing a lot of deep thoughtful thinking about how one innovates and then how one insures that one adopts that scale. I think the other thing that we have, very progressively I think, is understand that technology does not come in nice little silos and especially digital technology – digital technology stretches across all of our core tech technologies petroleum company and there is this merging or fussing of what is digital and what is not so we are finding that one needs to be kind of a polymath when looking at these things, you need initial and a mind frame but you also need a kind of scientific mind frame, an engineering mind frame, a social technologies mind frame and they are all kind of put together so people that are broad thinkers can be a very quick learner and assimilate lots of different points of view for a given technology in a probable area are more successful. I can’t tell sometimes what is digital and what is a core technology and what is not and it just goes to show how impactful and pervasive digital technologies are and people that can operate them in a broad swathe of areas. So we are finding ourselves doing more and more work with upstream and downstream technology or alternative technology groups as well as with IT and all very focused on business applications
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