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Driving innovation: how BGIS is turning new ideas into tangible solutions

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26 September 2022

Many of us will be familiar with the phrase ‘adapt or die’, and for any business to achieve success today, it must be able to evolve with the pace of change and advances in technology.

So how does a large business with diverse portfolios keep ahead of the curve?

At BGIS, we believe that the need for growth and change offers great opportunities. Innovation is part of our ethos. And for many of our clients, innovation is at the forefront of their corporate strategy. Increasingly, they look to us for new ideas to deliver better outcomes. For example, BGIS introduced Floating Sea Bins that collect waste and debris that float across the surface of the ocean. This initiative collects rubbish generated from within Sydney harbour and neighbouring properties and aligns with the client’s sustainable practices, as well as protecting their reputation.

Here, we explore how BGIS is taking a proactive approach to innovation, by combining expertise with new technologies to deliver for our clients.

Leveraging our global footprint

Size is not an impediment to communicating and leveraging innovations across multiple geographies. Instead, we take advantage of our substantial footprint to collect ideas and share solutions broadly across our business.

Brad Robbins, Co-Chair of BGIS’s Global Innovation committee, highlights the creation of a Global Innovation Council that brings together global thinkers each month. This group of employees look at ideas and how to push ahead with different innovations.

Our innovation charter is run worldwide. We’ve undertaken hackathons that play a key role in recognising challenges, encouraging innovative thinking, problem solving and collaboration. The last one focused on solutions to capture, process and manage asset data. The next topic is Sustainability – Journey to NetZero.

In addition, we have established a Global Innovation Portal, which collects solutions implemented by teams across the world. It contains more than 190 innovation case studies in a set format – these highlight what the product is, what it solves and makes it easy for our teams to follow up and understand how an idea can be adopted for a client in a different location or sector. “The portal is accessible to everyone, with only approved case studies uploaded. This means these innovations have all been trialled and tested. From here, the whole business can roll them out to their clients,” says Brad. “We strive to make it as easy as possible.”

Simplifying processes to capture ideas

Innovation is undoubtably hard, and it comes with a risk of failure. That’s why it can be tempting to think you can do without it. To stay competitive, we focus on keeping our processes simple.

The Global Innovation Portal is a resource that allows great ideas to come to life at a faster rate; and at a local level, we use an Innovation Catalyst Register where ideas are recorded, no matter what stage they are at.

“Rather than being a cumbersome task, what we’ve done is try to simplify the process through the use of automation to encourage our employees to log smart initiatives,” says Jack Panada, Innovation Manager, APAC. “If we can make it easy for them, there’s a greater chance that we’ll capture great ideas because employees will be confident that their input matters and is going somewhere. We work hard to create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing ideas, with the tools and technology that makes it easy for them to do so.”

The Register features automated tracking and messaging for accountability, and feeds into the Global Innovation Portal. “This helps employees to log smart initiatives from the grass root level right through to the implementation phase while retaining accountability,” says Jack.

“To showcase our case studies and share learnings of implemented innovations, we run monthly APAC and global online forums. These events are open to everyone and have received a lot of positive responses month on month.”

We also report and measure quarterly innovations for each major client account. Our leaders have KPIs to generate and implement with a number of innovations per quarter. Imagine having a pool of leaders in the business who are generating 4 innovations – that’s a large recharge every few months being reported and implemented.

Taking risks and experimenting

Being creative and embracing innovation is a huge part of business growth and our initiatives help to differentiate us from our competitors. It’s a model that requires more than just a willingness to innovate – the other key ingredient for success is a solid understand of how to go about bringing that innovation to life. While it can get complex at scale, the best way to evolve is to create an environment where employees can confidently share ideas and test them, and broadcast effective solutions.

We do a lot of trials or pilots to show how things work, and to demonstrate the benefits. We encourage our employees to take risks. We don’t want our employees or clients to think a new idea is a white elephant – we need to actually prove it to them. With our network of vendors, we collaborate on applications for new technologies and products. And having support from the business to implement new things is one way that innovation stays at the forefront of our strategic thinking.

There’s a big push around how we can innovate and provide more sustainable solutions,” says Brad. “This might be changing out lighting systems or mechanical systems to the newest technology. We’re not waiting for the industry to change. We’re constantly experimenting to remove problems and provide improved services for our clients.”

Create the resources to identify ideas and test them

Large organisations that want to remain competitive, may find that they miss out on extraordinary opportunities without the tools and technologies to capture new ideas. Innovation becomes a powerful motivator for businesses to avoid becoming obsolete. Those with the willingness to take risks and experiment will put in place the systems to keep momentum going and position innovation as an opportunity rather than a daunting task.

Brad RobbinsExecutive Director – Defence Renewal & Global Co-Chair Innovation
Jack PanandaInnovation Manager – Defence & APAC