As we approach the end of another Workplace & Facilities Management awards season, I want to highlight the ongoing need for greater innovation and share with you how I think it is more easily within our grasp than we may think.
There is a bit of an urban myth around some of the assumptions that I hear around innovation.
“We haven’t got time to innovate – we are too busy doing the day job”
“It takes too much resource and money to genuinely innovate”
However, innovating is often a case of shifting one’s mindset and some behaviours, to set the scene for subsequent progress. Here are some tips on creating a more innovative mindset:-
- Ask questions about the world around you.
- Explore diverse topics and fields to broaden your knowledge, outside of Workplace & FM.
- Keep up with the latest innovations and follow the work of pioneering individuals and organisations.
- Attend conferences, workshops, and events to network and exchange ideas.
Mix things up:
- Read books, articles and content outside your usual interests and Workplace & FM to gain diverse insights.
- Try new ideas such as taking a current challenge and walking outside to mull it over, perhaps with a colleague.
- Question existing assumptions, even if it ruffles a few feathers!
- Consider alternative perspectives and be open to unconventional ideas.
Strive for a positive growth mindset:
- View challenges as opportunities to grow.
- Embrace failure as a learning experience rather than a setback. Thomas Edison famously failed 10,000 times before finalising the lightbulb. Keep a ‘lessons learnt’ journal and review it periodically.
Experiment and Iterate:
- Try new things and ways of doing things. Ask “what if?”
- Iterate on ideas based on feedback and evolving insights.
- Collaborate with diverse colleagues and teams to bring in a variety of perspectives.
- Seek input and feedback from others with different backgrounds and expertise. If you’re young, talk through ideas with older colleagues. If you’ve seen a few more Summers, chat your thoughts through with younger colleagues.
Create a Positive Environment:
- Encourage an atmosphere where creativity is encouraged, recognised and appreciated.
- Allow for open communication and the expression of new ideas without fear of judgment.
Greater occupant/customer focus:
- Spend a day ‘shadowing’ one or more to create greater insights into their working lives and needs.
- Ask who they learn from in their sector e.g. on Social Media and follow those accounts.
Innovation is a continuous process, and the key is to foster a mindset that embraces change, values creativity and is open to exploring new possibilities.
In Part 2, I’ll share my thoughts on some specific examples of how necessity can also help drive innovation.