Innovation… the mother of necessity (#2)


This post has been taken directly from the regular Tomorrow’s FM Water Cooler feature – which can be found here

In response to the following:



“Innovation is one of the business world’s buzzwords and can offer be a lot of style without meaning. What does ‘innovation’ mean to you and which area of the industry do you think has the largest potential to innovate?”

The word ‘innovation’ has become one of the most over used words within the industry. I’m not convinced, however, that there is a consensus on what it actually is? Like most things in FM, it’s likely to mean different things to different people, which is one of the industry’s problems and why I think it’s difficult for us to achieve progression in UK plc.

Firstly, for me, innovation has to be done by the experts; the contractors. It can be encouraged by the client, by giving enough freedom to suppliers to innovate in their contracts and tender submissions, but clients can’t stipulate how or what it is to be achieved by innovative practices.

Innovation, to me, is the forerunner of best practice. It’s a stage in the development cycle which, when fully matured, eventually becomes best practice and the industry norm. Clearly, this can’t be done without flexibility, encouragement, buy-in and support. It is about really thinking outside the proverbial box (I’m not a fan of that phrase) or maybe looking within the box and questioning why things are done in a particular way.

In terms of which area of the industry has the largest potential to innovate, I’m going to say that FM in general must innovate and adapt to survive. I fear that whilst FM has been fairly recession-proof over the past five years or so, it has been affected by the economic conditions and is close to becoming a commodity to the people who matter.

Finally, innovation cannot exist in a vacuum. In terms of FM, innovation is likely to involve working more closely with other areas of business, in order to achieve better outcomes. This is where value can be added and where innovative ways of working, will in time, become the norm. Enter stage right, collaboration – the two words go hand in hand.

Lee Haury – Facilities Management Consultant



  1. Hi Lee,

    We couldn’t agree with this post more. Innovation, with particular emphasis upon energy saving/cost saving practices in our case, has been a driving focus of our business in order to continue working with the larger outsourced M&E companies in FM. Whilst defining innovation as you rightly point out, is difficult in and of itself, we find that as sub-contractors to those tasked with innovating FM contracts, this is a particularly important aspect of what we do.

    For example, we’ve introduced a product aimed at changing the way people look at their HVAC system maintenance in order to reduce costs and maintenance time. This has opened the doors to clients who have previously been extremely restricted in terms of budgets, purely because it demonstrates a means of looking toward the future. I’ve attached an article we recently posted as an example of what we mean. We would appreciate any feedback you might have.


    Great post and look forward to reading further in future.



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