Innovation is the Future

Innovation Value

We’re big on innovation at Iridia. In fact, it’s so important we’ve built it right in to our annual performance evaluations. That’s right, along with teamwork, quality and many of the other performance indicators you would find on a typical review, we’ve added innovation as a performance criteria.

That means when managers sit down with employees to talk about their year, one of the things they review is what efforts the employee made to innovate in their role at Iridia. Did they bring new ideas to the table? Did they implement something that made them more efficient or effective? Did they find ways to use technology to improve productivity or performance? Were they able to look at a problem or challenge and come up with an innovative solution?

Innovation is part of the DNA at Iridia. We talk about it all the time. For the past four years, we have held a monthly “Innovation Corner.” Each month someone brings an innovative idea to share with the group.

 

Here’s a sampling of some of the services / ideas that have been shared over the years:

As with lifelong learning, we talked about the importance of continued learning because it changes the way we think, feel, and behave. So it is with innovation. As the world changes rapidly, we must constantly be thinking of new ways to improve our productivity, better serve our clients, manage our resources (both capital and human), and solve problems.

“Innovate or die” is the battle cry of modern business, and Iridia is making innovation part of its life blood in order to stay healthy and vibrant in these changing times.

 

Teamwork Leads to Exceptional Output

TeamworkThe importance of a dynamic team cannot be overstated as it pertains to a company’s overall success. Just look at companies that are doing well and you’ll see there is a direct correlation between the company’s success, and how employees feel about working there.

Iridia is on a mission to become one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, and on our journey we are constantly thinking about how we can do things better. One of the ways we do that is listening to our employees. In staff surveys in which we asked our staff to comment about the teamwork, the culture and what they like about working here – these are the things our employees said about the Iridia team:

  • Iridia is like family; I’ve been given a lot of support from everyone on the team since I started working here
  • The Iridia team is very hard-working and expectations of staff are high, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun – there are lots of opportunities for us to get together to celebrate achievements and kick back with each other
  • Iridia is about working together with my team to make a difference in the area of health care
  • The Iridia team is friendly and people seem genuinely happy to be there
  • Iridia challenges the status quo; we are a hard-working group that retains its entrepreneurial spirit which allows us to take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace
  • Successes of the team are applauded and celebrated
  • I love the support and the teamwork at Iridia; I can speak honestly and feel heard; I’m supported when I need it
  • I love that people take the time to talk to one another – to make sure everything is going alright
  • What I love about Iridia is the freedom to do my job in a supported, respectful environment

We’re not perfect, but we are working hard every day to create the kind of culture where teamwork is acknowledged, nurtured, and celebrated. And our employees agree!

Professionalism is Not an Option, It’s a Must

Professionalism ValueProfessionalism can be difficult to define because it’s about so many things. It’s not just about knowing how to do a job well, it’s about attitude, behavior, and how you present yourself and represent your company. It’s demonstrating a willingness to learn, working collaboratively with others, and living up to commitments. It’s also about avoiding the kinds of behaviors that cause trouble in the workplace, like gossip, negativity, and one-upmanship.

A professional is open to the views of others and the possibility that there might be a better way – they are not threatened by the good ideas of others. They make decisions based on the best interest of the company. They are fair and treat everyone with respect, even people they do not particularly like. Professionals evaluate their own performance, have high expectations of themselves and others and constantly strive to improve.

At Iridia, we don’t just ask for professionalism, we expect it of everyone, at every level of our business. We expect people to live up to their commitments, to treat people with respect, to be skilled at what they do, to do their work well and with enthusiasm, to give 100% to their work, and to represent our company with pride and integrity. Is it a lot to ask? Sure. Is it an option to be any other way? Not according to this core value!

Professionalism is what sets one person, one company, apart from another. We want to be known for having high expectations in this area, and for delivering to our customers and to each other, the very best of ourselves.

 

Turkey, mashed potatoes, and … Iridia in the Community?

 

As Canadians, most of us are returning to work this week in a tryptophan-induced fog thanks to another wonderful turkey dinner (or two) at the hands of that amazing friend or family member who spared no effort in bringing their kitchen skills to bear. While reflecting on culinary conquests is almost a requisite of Thanksgiving reflection, this particular edition of the holiday has given many Iridians the opportunity to reflect in a different way. More specifically, to think about what community means to them, and how they can give to it when given a simple means to do so.

Enter Iridia in the Community.

Iridia in the Community

What is it?

Iridia in the Community, quite simply, is an initiative that saw each full time employee receive $100 and be tasked with spending it in a way that would provide value to their interpretation of “community”.

Little guidance was offered, and that was by design. While all Iridians share commonalities, we are also each very different. Our individual interpretation as to what “community” is, and what providing value to it looks like, is completely a function of our own perspective.

What was the inspiration behind it?

You never know when you might have a conversation that will have a profound impact.   In February of this year, I was fortunate enough to have had such a conversation.  While attending a professional development workshop I sat beside a gentleman that I had never seen before, and have never seen since. We spoke only for about 10 minutes, but that brief exchange led to Iridia in the Community.

He shared a story about a man in the early 1900s who took out an advertisement local newspaper offering to provide $10 to anyone who wrote him a letter articulating why they felt they needed $10. Initially dubbed Angels in the Streets, this idea has since evolved to see companies giving back through their employee teams.

Amazed at the simplicity and beauty of the program, we simply had to do it.

And now, it’s done.

Why did we do it?

At Iridia we aspire to be led by, and act in accordance with, our company values. Each of our eight values contributes directly to the very fabric of our organization. As one of our values is Social Responsibility, we are always on the lookout for creative ways to support our community. We felt that Iridia in the Community fit the bill, and we made it happen.

Why now?

Thanksgiving is all about, well, giving thanks. As such, we felt was the perfect time for Iridia in the Community.

How will it play out?

To be honest, we don’t know, but we are as excited as you are to find out!

Over the course of this week, we will be sharing highlights of how Iridia dollars were spent through a combination of pictures and videos on our Facebook page. Please check back often to see how your friends and contacts on the Iridia team have made a difference.

We can say, however, that our hope is that this becomes only the first of many versions of Iridia in the Community.

Iridia in the Community Interviews:

The GCC Comes to a Successful End!

GCC Walk

The GCC Journey

We’ve been walking, swimming, and biking for four months now, and on September 11th our four month corporate challenge with the GCC (Global Corporate Challenge) came to an end. It’s been quite a journey with 21 of our staff participating on three teams to try to achieve new fitness goals and step up the activity. The mantra for the GCC is “get the world moving” and that is in fact what they did.

This year, 37,432 teams from around the world (that’s 262,000 people!) participated in the Challenge. As this was Iridia’s first year we really didn’t know what to expect, but we were surprised, challenged and encouraged every step of the way.

The Challenge

The Challenge is exceptionally well structured, highly interactive and provides loads of tools, videos, assessments, posters, mini-challenges, awards and statistics to assist team captains in motivating their teams to keep striving to beat their best and up their steps. In addition, the online interface is literally like travelling around the world. As your team logs their steps each week, you “virtually” visit places around the world that are the equivalent of the steps you’ve taken. It was exciting to read about and see stunning photography of new places around the world and to see the distances we were covering as a team.

2eb5fb1b3bb61719e3b2bc49b29f77ee

What was most fun was the community board, where you could post just about anything – acknowledge a personal success, ask a question, vent about something, celebrate your team’s accomplishments, or just share a story about a particular experience – and get responses from people all over the world. It really was a unique experience and added an interesting and “connecting” dimension to the whole process.

On the home front, there was plenty of friendly competition and hijinks between the three teams as gauntlets were thrown down, pranks were played, and team activities abounded during the four months of the challenge. It was just a lot of fun!

Iridia Team Stats

We are super proud of our three teams and what they accomplished, especially this being the first year. Here’s where our teams ended up in a number of categories:

GCC Stats

Our team’s experience with the GCC has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, here are some of the tangible results of the experience on our team:

  • 94% of staff now meet or exceed the recommended 10,000 steps per day, as compared to 19% before the event
  • 93% reported a positive impact on their relationship with exercise
  • 63% reported an improvement in their overall health level from before the GCC
  • 73% reported weight loss, with an average 11 pounds lost per person
  • 58% reported reduced levels of stress at work and at home
  • 71% reported increased overall energy

Supporting Health Initiatives

The GCC also partners with Unicef and raises funds during the challenge for health initiatives around the world. This year, 185 water pumps were purchased for communities who previously had no access to clean water. The people in these communities will experience greater health and opportunities because of this initiative. It felt great to be part of that as well!

unicef

The Wrap Up

On October 16th, representatives from the GCC will be joining us at the Iridia office for an end-of-event celebration. While they do this via video with all the companies who participated, not many get one in person, so we’re honoured to be chosen for this privileged visit. We’re looking to closing off our experience with a bang!

The GCC runs from May to September each year. If you’re looking for an exceptional health initiative that will engage your team in ways you never thought possible, consider signing up. Who knows, maybe next year we’ll be competing against you!

 

Iridia Out on the Hunt

We’re now half way through the Global Corporate Challenge (two months left to go!), and the three Iridia teams (Blue Steel, Red Striding Hoods and Gold Karats) are still going strong.

The GCC is an online program that engages people in getting more active. The goal is for every participant to work up to 10,000 steps a day – learn more and check out our first GCC blog.

As of July 25th, we have a combined step count of 21,353,158 – or the equivalent of walking around the world .34 times. To honour everyone’s hard work and dedication we decided to host a “mid-point” celebration.

GCC Report

The Mid-Point Celebration

The idea was to put together a GCC themed event that would be loads of fun, incorporate our values, and of course, be “step heavy.” The result – an Iridia scavenger hunt to celebrate our accomplishments to date.

After hammering out the details, we created five new teams, each represented by a member from our three GCC teams. The event would be timed (1 hour or about 4.5k). Prizes would be handed out for teams accumulating the most points. And of course we had to create a set of rules to follow – because a scavenger hunt without rules can only lead to one thing: chaos.

The Rules

  • The event starts and ends at the Iridia office
  • Teams must leave and return together, and complete all the items on their clue sheets to be eligible for awards
  • All participants must note their start and end step counts
  • Teams must bring a camera for “evidence”
  • All teams will have the option of completing additional activities for bonus points
  • Teams taking more than 60 minutes to return will forfeit 50% of any bonus points earned

Available Awards

  • Greatest distance from our office
  • Reach the highest floor of a building
  • Collect the most business cards
  • Most AEDs found
  • Most people on a bicycle
  • Most Bonus Points Earned
  • Best Dressed Team
  • Highest Step Rate
  • Best Iridia Values Photo Contribution (snap a photo of anything, anyone or anywhere that reflects Iridia’s values)
  • Greatest Distance From Office

The Gallery

The Results

  • First Team Home – Nancy, Nick C and Beverly
  • Highest Step Average – Allan, Shannon and Steve, a rate of 340 steps per minute
  • Greatest Distance From the Office – Vern, Lexi and Diana, with 17 513 steps
  • Most Bonus Points Earned – Tom, Janine and Nick K, with 39 points earned from an incredible 30 business cards collected and an impressive 15 storey adventure!
  • Best Dressed Team – Allan, Shannon and Steve
  • Best Iridia Core Values Photo – Melissa, Julie and Derek, who snapped images of all 8 values

Combined Stats

  • Total distance covered by all teams – 49km
  • Average distance covered – 5103 steps, or over 3km per person
  • AEDs spotted in the wild – 3
  • Most people on a bike – 5
  • Total business cards collected – 106

With the event wrapped up – it’s fair to say the scavenger hunt was a huge success; we had many laughs, lots of great memories and of course we all surpassed the GCC 10,000 steps-per-day goal!  

 

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!

Innovation Corner – Windows 7 Shortcuts

 

What’s the Innovation Corner?

Windows 7 Shortcuts

Innovation is one of our eight core values at Iridia, values we strive to live every day. It’s one thing to say “innovation is a corporate value of ours,” but it’s another to live it.

We are always keeping our sharp eyes on the lookout; finding creative ways to fit the pieces together. In order to “fit pieces together,” we need to do things more efficiently and, if possible, with the use of new tools.

The Innovation Corner is a brief (5 min.) section of the agenda dedicated to the introduction of a story, a tool, a concept, or anything else that might spur on innovation within our team.  Anyone can lay claim to the Innovation Corner in upcoming meetings, and thereby use it to share an innovative find they have come across.

Windows 7 Shortcuts

windows shortcut

Windows 7 Shortcuts

This week Innovation Corner focused on Windows 7 Shortcuts – everyday tips to make life easier. 

It’s a reality – most people do not use Windows to its full potential. Built into this powerful operating system are numerous shortcuts that will help you in your day-to-day activities. Whether at work or at home, a shortcut can simplify your task list.

Want to work efficiently as possible? We have created a simple list of shortcuts that anyone can use:

  • Snaps
  • Jump Lists
  • Show Desktop
  • Repeating
  • Changing Cases
  • Sharing Workbooks
  • Horizontal Pages

Check out our Windows 7 Shortcuts Prezi to see a short presentation highlighting these shortcuts.

Like these? They are just the tip of the iceberg. Google windows shortcuts and you will find many more!

 

A Sprinter’s Failure Teaches Us a Lesson about Professionalism

Professionalism is not an option. It is a must.

Professionalism

It was a long shot that a Canadian men’s relay team could medal against some of the powerhouse teams they were up against. But medal they did – well, almost.

Initially they came in third, qualifying for a bronze medal. Their names up in lights on the leaderboard as having won the bronze led them in celebration, hugs and kisses with family and friends, wrapping themselves in the Canadian flag and jumping around the track, proud of what they achieved. But the celebrations were fleeting, as minutes after having been declared winners, they saw that they had been disqualified from the race and that fourth-place Trinidad, would win the bronze.

For those who watched, the loss was palpable – from tears of joy, to tears of devastation in just a few moments. How could this have happened? For what seemed like an eternity, the team and the crowd waited for an explanation.

The replay was shown for the world to see, and it showed that Jared Connaughton, one of the sprinters in the relay, stepped on the line as he came around a corner. One step. That’s all it took for the team to be disqualified. Four years of working toward this moment, disqualified by a single step. It was heartbreaking.

Professionalism Mean Accepting Responsibility

It seemed like such a small infraction. One step? Minutes after the ruling came down, Connaughton was assaulted by media. It would have been easy to blame the judges or to complain about the harshness of the rule. Instead, he acknowledged his error as having cost his team a medal.

He told reporters that the rules were there for a reason, and that he broke the rule – no matter how small of an infraction – and that he had to accept responsibility for that. He apologized to his team. “I can live with it. I’m a man, and I can take it on the chin,” he told CBC News Saturday. “But for Justyn, Seyi, Gavin, not to have a bronze medal is the most disappointing thing of it all.”

canada men's relay

In one brief moment and when the eyes of the world were on him, Connaughton showed the world what he was made of. He handled himself with professionalism, grace and maturity – not an easy thing to do when facing the lowest moment in your career.

Some may argue that honesty isn’t too difficult when you’ve got video evidence of your mistake, but there are some who may have chosen the route of blaming the organization for rules that were too tough. Connaughton chose a different path.

Professionalism is doing your very best, representing your company (or your country in this case) well, and earning the respect of others for your hard work, integrity and excellence. Connaughton ran an exceptional race – he contributed to the team’s third place finish. But he made a mistake, and when he did, professionalism led him to account for it.

Professionalism is about more than looking good on the outside. It’s about more than just achieving excellence, although that’s an important part. Professionalism is also grace under fire, accountability when it’s difficult, and the ability to overcome obstacles and stay committed to your goal.

At Global, we value professionalism in our staff. Will they sometimes make mistakes? Of course. But we encourage a culture where they will be accountable. Jared Connaughton’s professionalism was demonstrated on a world stage, but we have the opportunity to demonstrate those same qualities every day. 

We’re proud of our team and the level of professionalism we see in them as they contribute to helping us achieve our goals.