How big ambitions can be achieved through a collection of small ideas

Ambition. It’s a big word and one which sets the agenda around every boardroom table in Britain. And this was the theme for our client CBRE’s recent supply chain partner event. We were fortunate enough to be invited to join forces with other CBRE suppliers to share our collective thoughts and experience of how CBRE’s (and in turn, our own) ambitions are best achieved.

The dictionary definition next to the word ‘ambition’ is “a strong desire to do or achieve something,” and that certainly captured the mood in the room. The thing with ambitions is that they don’t come easily and in order to achieve them, it was clear this would require doing things differently.

A presentation which really resonated was from Kerry-Anne Dilley – EMEA Supply Chain Director at CBRE – who shared her thoughts on what true innovation meant. In a digital age, it’s easy to think that innovation is technology-led and anything you’re doing will only qualify as true innovation if you’re disrupting entire markets, creating new ones or ripping up the rule book.

Kerry-Anne’s refreshing outlook was the idea that in fact, a collection of small ideas that ultimately lead to one great collective idea is true innovation. She concluded that this is what brings about lasting change within markets and carves out new ways of working which have real-world impact.

This got me thinking about our own ambitions as a business and how we’ve innovated to drive up standards in the industry. As the UK’s largest reactive maintenance at height and window cleaning company, we are faster than our much smaller competitors dispelling the myth that big businesses move slowly. In contrast to the rest of the market, we own our own fleet of access vehicles so can respond to anything nationally within a four-hour window.

We have also pioneered the training and development of multi-skilled operatives who can abseil or operate a 70 metre Bronto Skylift, while also being able to repair a glazing unit giving us the required dexterity to react to any at height maintenance issue.

Our business model of investing in people and our fleet was borne out of the imaginations of our Chairman & CEO. We do use technology to enhance our service delivery and for reporting but the innovation was simple. They identified a problem in the market and developed a model and ways in which to execute a solution to give our business an edge.

We now have a culture in which people are empowered to contribute ideas to improve and innovate. Of course, having a client like CBRE also enables us to push our own thinking in identifying ways in which we can best serve them and other clients we work alongside with shared goals and ambitions.

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