‘Knowledge is the fuel of innovation’
Lateral Naval Architects on its involvement with Oceanco NXT and building the next generation of yachts…
In October, Oceanco announced its philosophy behind Oceanco NXT – a pioneering initiative that brings together a cohort of luminaries in the yachting, technology and design worlds to marry innovation and sustainability in a meaningful way that will transform how owners spend their time on superyachts. Lateral Naval Architects, a longstanding partner of Oceanco, is providing technical propulsion and energy architecture input for the ideology.
For James Roy, managing director of Lateral Naval Architects, being involved in the initiative is in some ways a continuation of what they do already. “Lateral and Oceanco have worked together on many different projects and all of our work is focused on making things better, more efficient and looking to see how we can integrate future technology within our engineering and naval architecture to make our projects more sustainable,” he explains. “So, there is a natural synergy with playing a role in the Oceanco NXT initiative.”
Roy clarifies that Oceanco NXT is not necessarily about creating a specific project or producing more design concepts, but is more of a movement. “It’s a forum and a narrative to bring people together to share knowledge on the premise that knowledge is the fuel of innovation,” he adds. “The point of NXT is to bring a diverse group of free-thinking people together to explore ideas and, along the way, there will be designs and engineering solutions that turn those ideas into a tangible output.”
“The point of NXT is to bring a diverse group of free-thinking people together to explore ideas and, along the way, there will be designs and engineering solutions that turn those ideas into a tangible output.”
With most superyacht owners and prospective clients recognising that technology is advancing at a rapid rate in some areas, and considering the gestation period of a superyacht project from initial idea to delivery can be many years, there is a growing demand for projects to be futureproofed. Part of the challenge faced by the industry, however, is to figure out what ‘futureproofed’ actually means and thus be able to support clients in exploring their options.
“There is a spectrum of alternatives; from those that we can apply today, which present low technical and commercial risks for the clients and shipyards, through to more radical alternatives that are technically feasible but carry significant risk,” says Roy. “Even though clients often want to explore that whole landscape of what is possible, there is a tendency to select only the well-proven technologies, which is understandable considering the values at stake. However, this makes advancement in the application of future technologies a very slow affair.”
Roy believes that if the industry can’t make it compelling for clients to take risks with regards to innovation and technology, then it is not really serving the market, and this is what Oceanco NXT aims to address. “We need to make it more compelling for clients to incorporate future technology on their projects and encourage them to be innovators,” he concludes. “It is possible to innovate without taking risk, but you can’t be a true innovator without taking a proportionate amount of risk – there is a subtle difference. Obviously, we need to make that a manageable level of risk to make it compelling for clients.”
As Roy puts it; “The greatest innovations in human kind have not been generated in a vacuum, instead they are a stitching together of ideas and creativity from lots of different existing thinking”. Essentially this is what Oceanco NXT aims to do: fuel innovation through the collaboration of knowledge in order to start build the next generation of superyachts.
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