How to Be a Champion of Innovation at Your Facility
No matter what type of facility you work within, championing innovation and spearheading organization-wide change can feel like a full-time job. We’ll give you four recommendations you need to help your initiatives succeed and firmly establish you as a thought leader on your team.
Suppose you want to install an integrated state-of-the-art system that will eliminate manual monitoring, provide robust reporting capabilities, and, best of all, save money. Whether you’re working on corporate innovation, hospital innovation or new technology on campus, you’ll need to actively champion your cause. This means getting employees to make the best use of the new system and realize the benefits the new technology can offer.
If the technology adoption lifecycle model holds for your organization, about half of your employees are at least open to new ideas, and some are even enthusiastic. Can you turn the other 50 percent into early adopters? Probably not. They’ll come around, however, as the initiative catches on. It’s worth the effort to bring people on board. Facilities are typically the second largest expense for any organization behind employees. When you invest in technology, you want it to pay dividends and deliver value.
Here are four ways you can garner widespread acceptance and adoption for your monitoring system.
1. Do the Prep Work
Change is constant. There will never be a perfect time to present your case for innovation or an overhaul of existing systems. Make sure the organization is not in chaos. Then, before you make a formal pitch, take the following steps:
- Support your well-conceived plan with a business case bolstered by attainable numbers. How much time can you save when you, for example, eliminate manual logging?
- Align the objectives of your initiative to support the vision of the organization. How will the new monitoring system support, for example, the mission to “promote accessible, affordable health care”?
- Make sure you have the bandwidth to take on the initiative
- Garner support from members of your team who embrace the concept of data-centered facilities management
- Vet your facilities management technology solution among your peers, mentors and other influencers to gain preliminary support
Once you’ve accomplished all of the above, you’re ready to seek high-level approval.
2. Cultivate a Sponsor
Identify decision-makers or influencers at a high level who will support the technology solution throughout the organization. Your sponsor must be willing and able to wield power and use it to help your technology solution move forward despite internal challenges. As you develop standardized processes and reports, you may be surprised to discover that there is a lack of consensus between departments. Sponsors play a key role in resolving conflict.
The biggest challenge for any sponsor is that they already have a day job. Remember that the sponsor doesn’t directly manage. Rather, they help create an environment where the initiative can succeed. So, you’ll need to make sure you keep your sponsor’s interest and attention. Failure to do so could mean that your innovation loses out to other competing interests. Here are some important guidelines:
- Involve your sponsor early and often, not just on project milestones
- Align technology project goals closely with the sponsor’s objectives as well as those of the organization. Ask yourself: Is your sponsor concerned with lean processes, competitive advantage, or some other priority?
- Agree on parameters for time commitments
- Brief your sponsor before interactions with stakeholders and technology partners to manage expectations and avoid miscommunication
The sponsor must be willing to walk the walk. This means demonstrating a visible and vested interest in the technology through their actions. Further, your sponsor provides high-level leadership, secures financial resources, and helps garner support from the front line to the boardroom.
3. Develop Better Processes
When you take inefficient processes and make them faster, you can only expect incremental improvements. Yet, in reality, these are frequently the first tentative steps an organization takes toward innovation. But, if you intend to realize the promised benefits of your cutting-edge technology, you’ll want to improve your processes. To start:
- Examine your manual logs to develop benchmarks
- Look for areas that incur higher operational expenses
- Based on your benchmarks, set standards to improve operations, cut costs, and add value for those who use the facilities
- Gather input from departments that are affected by the new technology
Assign a process improvement team to execute this critical function. They will help ensure that the new technology boosts efficiency and profitability. Involve actual users on the team to build additional internal support for the monitoring system.
4. Recruit Other Champions
Find other people to promote your initiative. Involve those who may raise objections early in the process. Once they get involved, they may turn into your biggest cheerleaders. At the very least, they are unlikely to go along with a group consensus just to be agreeable. You will appreciate the challenge to conventional thinking. Also, recruit informal leaders into your champion group, those people who have no actual authority but are able to influence others, nonetheless.
Here are three ways to cultivate superstar champions:
- Meet with them regularly, listen to their suggestions and concerns, and put them to work addressing issues
- Promote their contributions to your sponsor and throughout the organization
- Celebrate early successes as a group. Did you complete your project plan? Take the team out to lunch.
With these tips in mind, you should have the tools you need to lay the groundwork for meaningful change and innovation at your facility. What you need now is a solutions- and service-focused partner to help you bring the cause home. If you’re considering technological innovations that can save your facility management team both time and money, be sure to check out Primex. Whether you need to improve your communication systems, keep accurate time or implement better environmental controls, Primex can help.