Geoklock strategically adopts innovation culture
It is hard to find a professional at Geoklock who is not involved in one of their corporate innovation group.
Early in 2018, Geoklock decided to adopt innovation as a pillar for the company’s future development. “It has always been a constant movement: innovation has always been a part of Geoklock and this is a continuous process,” said Technical Manager Vinicius Ambrogi. In the last year, Geoklock hired a specialized consulting firm. Innovation is now seen as a frequent and systematic process, with clear goals to improve processes, add value to products and clients, and bring the company forward as a premium consultancy.
“We have gained substantially in terms of the involvement of our staff. We wish to add value to our work, in continuous cycles of innovation,” said Environmental Assessment Technical Manager Enrico Valente Freire. Both Freire and Ambrogio explained that, in January 2018, when the work started and groups were being formed, Geoklock created a very favorable environment, with strong commitment of all employees.
According to Ambrogi, everyone realized this was not just a fleeting or superficial action; innovation was indeed going to become part of the company’s strategy, a long-term, enduring goal. “We created six groups, each with around 10 permanent members, plus rotating ones. We have office and field teams. Everyone is feeling motivated to be a part of this and wants to contribute as much as possible.” This commitment is aligned with the goals set by Geoklock, which has increased its support to the initiative. Geoklock professionals are eager to participate, and even if they are not members of a specific group, they offer suggestions, answer surveys and help as much as they can.
Freire mentioned that: “In the groups, we discuss issues that pique our interest: challenges faced in environmental investigations, the operation of remediation systems, fields for innovation, information technology, remedial and geotechnical engineering.” According to him, the groups meet often. They follow a methodology based on the Stage-Gate system – a tool widely used for resource allocation. “The process is structured through the development of a project in stages, broken down by assessment and decision events, referred to as gates. This allows the effective management of progress and of completed stages,” mentioned Vinicius Ambrogi.
The committees meet weekly for orientation, planning and training. Geoklock will literally stop when gate events come up, because their staff gets so involved. One of the greatest benefits of this initiative is the autonomy given to the professionals when facing challenges and looking for solutions. “They have the power to make decisions, and the solutions they bring us move us closer to our goals,” said Enrique Freire. This cycle is expected to end in March, and many solutions will then be already in place, in various areas of the company. “Still, that does not mean the work is finished. As we mentioned, innovation is a continuous effort, and internal groups will keep working to improve these and other issues that come up. This is a challenge that touches us all and is part of our reality,” added Ambrogi.
Geoklock intends to discuss their new challenges extensively and widely. The purpose is to grow, by establishing goals that will make their processes more efficient and better known in the market. “In addition to Stage-Gate, we are also using MVP – Minimum Viable Product. This tool enables us to launch a new product or service with minimum investment, allowing us to test a product before we make a massive investment,” says Freire. One of the first results from this incursion into innovation is Geoklock´s digitization process. “It makes perfect sense for companies to use available technologies to decrease paper use, minimize red tape and streamline daily tasks, with significant cost reduction,” adds Ambrogi. “We do not want to waste energy, we want a high-value, coherent work process. We also want our clients to get involved and we want to hear what they have to say. This way we can constantly improve our products to ensure everyone is completely satisfied. We want to be always a benchmark for our market.”