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Defining An Innovation Culture

Teodoro Fadon tells us about his experiences at Ferrovial Agromán

6Oct

Teodoro works as a Design and Innovation Director at Ferrovial Agromán. His career has spanned a number of different industries, which gives him a broad perspective on the creation of innovation.

Ahead of the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in London, we sat down with him.

Is the job title 'Head of Innovation' a symptom of an organisations' lack of it in their DNA? If so, will these jobs disappear once this is rectified?

When I was appointed as Global Head of Innovation for the company, I established two clear targets. Firstly, to create the strategy to lead what will become the largest department in the company. It is my aim to make every employee a member of this department as they should be contributing and collaborating with us on a daily basis, independently of the area or the project they are involved in. And secondly, to dissolve the department entirely because this would mean that we had achieved the first target.

This said, we need to be able to “pass on the innovation virus” to each and every person working in our company, however, somebody needs to create, maintain and innovate in the process and procedures to promote, collect and share the innovation.

Would you describe your organisation as having an 'innovative culture'? Is so, why?

I would said that it is difficult to define what is an “innovative culture” or, at least, that the definition is subject to interpretation. Independently of the effort we are putting in to promote, share and even reward the innovation we have throughout the company, what I can guarantee is that our employees, our teams, our people are innovative. I know this, not only because I have been personally involved in several construction projects end to end and I know the challenges that need to be faced on daily basis, but also because this is the common denominator on every project that I visit. There is only one tool that resolves these challenges with the speed and quality required by the project; this tool is innovation.

What do you see as the key challenge you are addressing?

As I mentioned before, we know that our teams and our people are innovating on a daily basis – the problem we have is that they do not know that they are doing it. They consider it as part of their daily job and normally they do not pay particular attention to the “small innovations that make big changes”. Only when we visit the projects and we have a conversation with the teams is when we are able to highlight to them that their solutions are unique and that they can be used on many other projects. Only then is when they realise the importance of “innovation” and they begin to show us more “innovative ideas” they have applied throughout the project. In summary, due to the geographical dispersion, the diversity in scope and typology of the projects, our challenge is to acknowledge these innovations and to share them among the projects, countries and people to avoid wasting time, effort and money in coming up with the same solution twice.

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