Engineering New Ideas
By Dave Bullock
Director of Innovation
A company’s growth and future depends on new approaches and ideas. Within our rising company, the driver behind our success is — and has always been — the innovative thinking of our talented staff. But, like so many other organizations, as we continue to grow, discovering and nurturing the next round of ideas requires a creative approach.
As RWDI’s innovation team, much of the responsibility to discover new ideas falls on us. And despite our team’s name, we know that the best ideas come from everywhere — from all 625+ staff at each of our 26 offices in eight countries. Though growth can present challenges to agility, we can tap into the brain power of our people by applying a start-up mindset within our established organization. We circumvent new challenges with new models and, most recently, this was through the introduction of idea-incubator lunches.
Over two extended lunch hours, nineteen staff from different divisions at our Toronto and Guelph offices — sustainability, building performance, microclimate, HR, weather forecasting, field services, the wind tunnel, and more — joined our innovation team to think like entrepreneurs and share an idea. Any idea. Even if it wasn’t an obvious fit for our company. If someone at our organization cares deeply about an idea and we can potentially help them develop it — internally or externally — we want to hear about it.
Day one saw everyone sharing their ideas. From there, a group vote narrowed the large number down to five. Small groups formed and, with the guidance of innovation team members, each group further developed one idea, finetuning the concept, and attaching tangible targets.
Day two saw these groups pitching their idea. A final group vote then determined which of the five was most viable. Two weeks later, a dynamic group of four pitched their creative idea to key decision makers at our company.
The outcome of the pitch is still to be determined but, regardless, we are calling these idea-incubator sessions a win. We will continue to use this model regularly throughout the year — and at different RWDI offices — to flex our entrepreneurial muscles while encouraging ongoing innovation and growth. And, perhaps most significantly, these sessions will serve as a reminder to all our team members that their ideas are what make us unique.
Read more about innovation at RWDI