Creativity Strikes Again – Iridia Day 2012

What is Iridia Day?

Iridia Day is based on the concept of “FedEx Day”, an innovation immersion event from software developers, Atlassian.

Years ago FedEx decided to give their employees a designated amount of time to explore possibilities and opportunities for the future of the company and to brainstorm, and pitch their ideas.

Global Days

It was so successful in generating fabulous ideas, they now do it quarterly, and many other successful companies have followed suit, trying variations of the idea.

Their concept is called “FedEx Day” because the goal of their 24-hour blitz was for participants to originate, develop, and deliver new products, new services, or business process improvements overnight.

Iridia Day 2012 (held in December) was Iridia’s second FedEx Day event, building on last year when two teams came up with some pretty innovative ideas for new service offerings for Iridia, and had a lot of fun doing it.

Why?

  • Events like this foster creativity – when there’s no rules, anything’s possible.
  • Every employee has ideas – this is an opportunity to share those ideas in a creative and supportive environment.
  • A spotlight and traction for crazy ideas – nothing is out of bounds so creativity flows.
  • It’s just plain fun – playing with team members creates a fun team-building atmosphere.

innovate

IRIDIA Day Theme

The theme for this year’s event was Living Our Values. Some of our values at Iridia are easy to see in practical ways. Lifelong learning, innovation, social responsibility, teamwork, and client focus, are all things that can be seen in many of our day-to-day interactions.

Our remaining three values however, are not so easy. Out of our seven core values, honesty, professionalism and quality are the most difficult to put on display.

For Iridia Day 2012, we decided to assign a group to each of these values, to brainstorm how exactly, we can bring these values to life at Iridia.

vision

This year, the teams threw everything on the table, and then as a group, presented their ideas to the rest of the staff during our January staff meeting. Now all that is left is to select a winner. Deliberation is currently underway. We will keep you posted when a winning team has been selected!

Iridia’s Take on Fedex Days

I recently read Daniel Pink’s new book, DRIVE, and was intrigued by an idea he talked about that has led other companies to great innovation. An Australian software company called Atlassian offers what they call “Fedex days” to their employees.

Basically the staff has the opportunity to work for 24 hours on projects not directly related to their daily duties. The only requirement for employees during these events is that they have to make a presentation to the company describing what they worked on (erego the name “Fedex Days” because it has to get there overnight). They have had incredible success with this program, and the projects and tools that have been developed during these day-long work marathons have helped to spur innovation and creativity throughout the organization.

On Friday, December 16th, Iridia held its own version of Fedex Days, only instead of 24 hours, the staff were given an afternoon (we had to start somewhere), and the presentation of the idea came after the weekend at our monthly staff meeting on Monday Morning. Eight Iridia employees were divided into two teams and were tasked with two assignments.

The first was to come up with a story that demonstrated Iridia in a pictoral way – one that would resonate with people as to the kind of company Iridia is and how we demonstrate our core values (following up on a corporate storytelling session we held in November).

The second assignment was to create an idea for a new division for Iridia. The parameters were that it had to be some how related to our current mission and offerings, and it had to connect to at least one or more of our core values. The process was energizing and engaging and the staff who participated were enthused about the process and about their ideas.

Fedex Days

Interestingly, both groups came up with a “story” that demonstrated Iridia’s high commitment to customer service.

For the idea, Team 1 came up with a program to provide both clinical and consulting services to rural and remote communities to assist with challenges faced by those communities as a result of being remote. Many communities don’t have access to the medical care they need, to education and an understanding of what’s required to live a healthy lifestyle, and even to how to maintain healthy, safe living environments. Services would include risk assessment, disaster/emergency planning, education, and clinical services.

Team 2 came up with the idea of developing a recycling program for medical equipment. The idea is to take non-working medical equipment and ensure it is safely recycled, and to take working but no longer used medical equipment and donate it to people/communities in need both locally and abroad. This new division would solicit used equipment from health authorities and hospitals and ensure they got to the right places (recycling or new owners). It would reduce waste and provide much needed medical equipment to people in communities and countries around the world who could never otherwise afford it.

Again, interestingly, both ideas centred around the same values – corporate responsibility, teamwork and innovation.

We felt the day was a great success and plan to hold more of these sessions throughout the year.