Georgina North, head of technology and innovation, Laing O’Rourke, is one of our 50 emerging leaders in corporate venturing in 2023.

When Australia-based construction firm Laing O’Rourke made Georgina North its head of technology and innovation in July 2022, it marked the latest part of a rapid rise within the company. 

North logged three years in flow assurance with subsea equipment manufacturer Wood Group Kenny before Laing O’Rourke hired her in 2016, initially as a senior engineer in its engineering excellence group. 

The company promoted her to operations manager and she ended up moving to operations leader in its technology and innovation group in April 2021. Within eight months she was leading the group. 

North’s task is to spin off construction technology startups that make use of Laing O’Rourke’s intellectual property while also investing in external startups.  

In addition to making three investments in 2022, North launched a partnership with government body Robotics Australia Group which will involve Laing O’Rourke introducing a range of robotics technologies into its businesses in a bid to accelerate innovation in the country’s construction industry. 

“We want to be at the forefront of designing, testing and integrating robotics and adjacent technologies into our projects” 

“Laing O’Rourke’s mission is to be the recognised leader for innovation and excellence in the construction sector,” North said at the time of the deal. “We want to be at the forefront of designing, testing and integrating robotics and adjacent technologies into our projects.” 

North was cited in her nomination as a highly innovative thinker when it comes to financing relationships between corporate venturers, traditional venture capital firms and startup partners. 

The ability to work closely with startups can partly be related to North’s own experience as a founder, albeit outside of Laing O’Rourke’s industry. She launched a turmeric latte blend producer called North Spice just after joining the corporate. After completing a Kickstarter campaign, she donated the profits to clean energy access charity Pollinate Energy. 

See the rest of our Top 50 Emerging Leaders for 2023 here.

Robert Lavine

Robert Lavine is special features editor for Global Venturing.