Embracing Innovation at IGS
The energy industry is changing rapidly and so are the needs of customers. To stay relevant, we need to understand our consumers and their needs. Here at IGS, we work hard to stay innovative so that as a company, we can evolve and meet the needs of our customers.
Innovation is one of our core values. To us, innovation is more than a buzzword, it’s a mindset; it’s a way of thinking, acting, behaving, and being.
Think forwardOver the past two years, IGS has put a focus on innovation throughout the company. We look for new ways to disrupt the energy industry to create a better customer experience for energy consumers.
Below are a handful of traits that innovative companies, including IGS, have in common:
- Employees understand the need to innovate. Employees at all levels of the company—not just the executives—need to recognize why it’s important that we innovate. The best ideas can often come from frontline employees. That’s how IGS got the initial idea to expand into solar energy. A developer in our IT department had done some research and made the initial business case. Employees have to also understand the company’s vision and strategy so that they’re innovating in a way that’s aligned with the direction of the company.
- The customer guides a company’s approach to making decisions and finding solutions. Whether you’re an employee who works directly with customers or not, you know who your company serves and what those customers need. Maintaining close relationships with customers is key to innovation here at IGS. Both our residential and commercial sales teams are committed to touching base with their customers regularly, to ensure they know their options and continue to keep a pulse on their unique needs.
- Because employees understand their customers’ needs, this information can be used to guide conversations and decisions around product offerings or new ways to communicate with customers. For example, Lighting Solutions from IGS Energy came to be after researching ways to develop an energy efficiency offering for our commercial customers. A conversation with one of our customers confirmed that there was an opportunity to move beyond the energy supply side and manage both their supply and demand with the use of energy-efficient lighting.
- Employees can introduce new ideas and share feedback openly. At the heart of innovative companies is a spirit of trust. We’re proud of our high levels of camaraderie (another IGS value) and focus on servant leadership. These two values create trust between IGS employees. We know we can share new ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem. Giving feedback in the spirit of making everyone and every idea better is also something that helps to move ideas forward.
- The company embraces and learns from failure. Had it not been for mistakes, we would not have the microwave, Post-it® notes, penicillin, X-ray machines, ink-jet printers and even some of our favorite snacks, like chocolate chip cookies and potato chips. All of these things were created by mistake. Mistakes can be a good thing. In fact, we have the following quote printed on the IGS boardroom wall, “Failure is an opportunity to learn. To succeed, you must be willing to fail.”
- A group of employees are trained on innovation practices to lead a peer-to-peer, “inside-out” model. We’ve recently launched an internal initiative called Innovation Champions, a new training program to teach employees innovation skills and tools. Participants were challenged to think beyond the current state of our business and explore the “what ifs.” These employees can serve as role models on their teams and encourage innovation from the “inside out.” We are excited to see how this program will continue to carry us into the future of energy.
IGS has been the presenting sponsor of the annual Columbus Buddy Walk, hosted by the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO) for several years. Our passion for supporting the Down syndrome community led IGS’ Alex Crabtree, vice president of information technology, to connect with ds-connex, a Central Ohio nonprofit focused on empowering the Down syndrome community. ds-connex developed a customized fundraising solution, known as Stride, to help event organizers and groups (such as DSACO) increase donations and participation in their events. Members of Crabtree’s team recently partnered with ds-connex to develop the second generation of their mobile fundraising app, known as Stride. ds-connex has estimated that use of the app has the potential to increase fundraising donations by as much as 5%. By pairing community investment efforts with skills-based volunteerism, we’re proud to take an innovative approach to making a difference by using our time and talents for good.
These are just a few ways in which we’ve learned that innovation works for us. As a result of our focus on innovation, we’re bringing new ideas, products, and services to our customers, every day. We encourage “the new” and we’re proud to say that it’s working.
Learn more about our Innovative Spirit