I was listening to Adam Buxton
interviewing Diane Morgan
, not your usual place for work advice, and I don’t think they were planning on helping someone working in the utilities sector, but they did.
When asked about how she writes, she’s a comedian and an actress in case you didn’t know, she responded with “I write for myself…” not the audience or the producer. She went to say that if you write for yourself it is more genuine and authentic and that is what people, someone at least, will connect with.
I don’t want to take that 100% literally, but doing it for yourself makes so much sense, wherever you work. Most, not all, people who work would say they work or would like to work for personal fulfillment, for the love of what they do, to contribute to something larger. So if you can make what you ‘do for yourself’ match what the company you work for want…
Before starting with Bristol Water I was a keen environmentalist (still am) and had done some campaign work but nothing major. I’d never really had the time and resource to do so. Luckily, I found that my new boss, the wonderful Ali Jennings, had a similar mind-set. When our Director, Ben Newby, set us the task of improving the reputation of the company he left it very open, no constraints on us, no ‘do it this way’, ‘use this message’, ‘talk about this’… just put your heads together and see where it goes. So put our heads together we did.
We put our passion for the environment to the forefront and created a plastic pollution campaign which, with four innovation awards under our belt, is industry leading. The fact of the matter is we were able to align our personal passion with the aims and objectives of the company. This led to some industry changing innovation and creative thinking. And it wasn’t a flashy, wizzy bit of kit. It was a water bar, water given to people for free at festivals. For us at Bristol Water, innovation is all about creative thinking; it’s a mind-set that we all have.
By allowing your people to pursue their passions and bring it to the work place you never know what door may open and what is sat behind it waiting to change your business.
To find out more about Ben Newby’s approach to creating space for innovation read his blog – Harbouring Creativity, the Gilbert and George way.