Thought Leadership

Why RWDI Needed an Impact Incubator

(by Michael Soligo, CEO of RWDI)

When I first joined at RWDI in 1988, two things were clear. First, we were world-leading experts in climate engineering and the built environment. Equally important, we combined a drive for business success – our own and our clients’ – with a deep awareness of how our projects would interact with the natural world. 

What differentiated us was not just the expertise to understand the complex relationship between nature and human activity, but the commitment to use that understanding to create better projects: sustainable, resilient, commercially successful. I’m proud that RWDI has always been designing with the environment in mind, long before the concept of climate change was being talked about. 

storm over manhatten

A proven approach – with vast potential 

Over the past five decades, RWDI’s approach of engaging the planet as a partner has helped drive the growth of our consulting practice into a best-in-class advisor to business and governments. 

During that time, the effects of climate change have become more palpable. The world’s population has grown from 6 billion to 7.7 billion. And cities, now home to most of humanity, have begun to feel the urgency of building their environmental resilience. 

These powerful global trends have increased demand for our capabilities and given us many opportunities to demonstrate – and deepen – the power of our approach. RWDI’s growth as an engineering consulting firm has been strong by any standard. 

But while we continue to grow our team of renowned engineers and scientists internationally, this expanded capacity is no match for the combined growth in the world’s people, places and needs when it comes to climate-aware engineering, design and innovation. 

That’s why we’re launching RWDI Ventures – an impact incubator. 

A different kind of incubator

Many firms create corporate innovation programs to help them become more agile, understand future trends and prepare for disruption. In fact, RWDI has an innovation lab that does exactly that.

But the mission of our impact incubator is different. RWDI Ventures is working to build new companies that will help us dramatically scale our impact and achieve our vision: leveraging our exceptional technical expertise to profit our people, partners and planet. 

Our consulting business delivers powerful insights and solutions for the sectors and customers it serves today. But to scale our impact to match the scope of the world’s challenges, we need a diversity of companies and products. We need more ways to channel our insights and expertise – and the products and innovations they make possible – into projects around the globe.

Scaling our impact through diversification

RWDI Ventures is not a general-purpose incubator. We're tightly focused on building companies that will advance our vision and help to make the intersection of the human-made and natural worlds less unpredictable and adversarial.

When the companies we incubate gain momentum, our goal is not to plug them back into RWDI. Each new enterprise RWDI Ventures creates will be independent, growing along its own trajectory according to its own strengths and strategies. 

We’re energized by the possibilities of RWDI Ventures and we’re eager to explore the ideas, products, relationships and opportunities it will make possible. But above all, we’re eager to see the impact we can achieve by harnessing our most advanced technical capabilities to meet the world’s most urgent needs.