Social Innovation

This technology innovator wants to help you find a new gear

© Peter Gray / NTT
Peter Gray creates disruptive technology for the sporting scene, changing the way events like the Tour de France are broadcast.
Written by Trish MedalenPublished on
As NTT’s Senior Vice President of the Advanced Technology Group: Sport, Peter Gray is responsible for conceptualising, designing and delivering strategic innovation projects. This includes the delivery of NTT's Tour de France platform, which facilitates unprecedented, data-driven storytelling.
For the young innovators who'll be preparing for Red Bull Basement, here are Gray’s top 10 pieces of advice.

1. Seize opportunities to make a difference

One of the things Gray loves about the Tour de France is that the organisation dedicates resources to social innovation projects.
“To bring your skills and your passion to solve problems and make the world a better place – I think we all want to do that in some sort of way,” Gray says. “Being able to innovate, collaborate, learn from each other, share ideas, it's just so powerful. The more we do that, the better the world is going to be.”

2. Leverage the power of teamwork

Gray says that his own core team are like a “pseudo family.”
“Because we've worked through so many successes and failures and challenges, it builds the strength of the connections and bonds. I think that's as powerful as the outcomes that you actually drive,” he comments.

3. Be prepared to put in the effort

Every year, when the Tour de France rolls around, Gray’s team works practically around the clock.
“If you want to achieve something worthwhile, it's going to take some work,” he cautions. “That's how you actually achieve things that are worthwhile.”

4. Make checklists

Otherwise, no matter how well you plan, it’s always possible to forget a key step.
“We think about it almost like an airline pilot,” Gray says. “Every time they get to an airplane they go through a checklist. Checklists have been a great way for us to make sure that we work through things really carefully.”
Red Bull Basement is a great opportunity to bring your intellect, your innovation, your ideas and your passion to do something great for the world
Peter Gray

5. Stay calm

For example, Gray points out that in a multi-day, travelling event like the Tour de France, the chance of something breaking or not being set up correctly is “huge.”
“It's about how you deal with those with those situations,” Gray counsels. “If you allow yourself to get highly stressed, you're not going to be productive, so calmly and methodically work through the problem and have a team who are ready to improvise. That highly agile ability to respond in a calm and measured way – particularly in this kind of high-octane environment – is critical.”

6. Don’t sell yourself short

Gray says that there’s benefit in the process of pursuing your vision, even if you’re not an expert.
“Think big, think broad and don't underestimate the power of your ideas,” Gray encourages. “If it's not coming together, go back and have another think about it. Maybe you'll find another way around.”

7. Communicate

Make sure everyone on your team understands the outcomes you’re trying to achieve and how their efforts fit in.
“It comes down to some really simple things around communication,” Gray comments. “It's, very easy, if you’re just working on a little piece, to be so focused on it that you don't realise that when you change [something] it has an implication over there.”

8. Keep looking ahead

Gray and his team have an innovation roadmap that they plot years in advance.
“It’s a rough guide for the direction that we're planning to hit,” he says. “Every year we review that based on what's happened, what's worked, what hasn't worked, what's maybe changed in the environment.”

9. Recognise that success belongs to everyone involved

Gray underscores that it’s necessary to actively build a culture where team members think beyond their own role.
“It's not, ‘You haven't done your job,’ or, ‘You've made a mistake and it's your problem,’” he states. “It's actually, ‘We all have a problem, let's figure out how we're going to solve that problem.”

10. Connect and collaborate

Gray relishes the chance to work with others to shape ideas, whether it’s internal staff or external partners. And for the next generation, that’s what Red Bull Basement is all about.
Gray says, “To shape something and set its direction and implement it is something I really, really relish. Red Bull Basement is a great opportunity to bring your intellect, your innovation, your ideas and your passion to do something great for the world.”
As Technology Services Partner of Red Bull Basement, NTT enables participants to co-innovate by providing Intelligent Workplace technology solutions, mentorship and other insights into the world of data-driven technology.