The simple step of creating a space for employees to innovate and solve problems has paid off for Greater Sudbury Utilities. Following the creation of The Workshop, the company’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre, the utility has seen increased efficiency and cost effectiveness — to the benefit of its customers.

The Workshop is a physical space inside Greater Sudbury Utilities allocated specifically for innovative team projects. Located in a newly renovated area of the building, The Workshop is equipped with various types of workspaces and development tools to facilitate cooperative work. The Workshop represents the process of taking ideas from origin to end-product by working in multi-departmental teams, often including external community partners, such as local businesses and post-secondary educational institutions.

“We view The Workshop as a huge opportunity,” says Frank Kallonen, CEO of Greater Sudbury Utilities. “It is a great way to enhance our customer experience, eliminate pain points in our organization and reduce costs or increase revenues through product development. We also view it as a potential tool to spur economic development in Greater Sudbury.”

Greater Sudbury Utilities’ Innovation Officer, David Chisholm, adds, “Getting a project into The Workshop is open to anyone in any of our companies, but only ideas that have significant benefit, value or potential for success will be accepted. These opportunities will give teams training and time to develop business plans for their ideas to move their projects forward.”

The space was launched in March 2017, following the adoption of a Corporate Innovation Policy by Greater Sudbury Utilities’ Board of Directors.

“As a board, we wanted to enhance our culture of innovation, creativity and collaboration within the organization, making it a dynamic company to do business with and an exciting place to work,” said Mark Signoretti, Greater Sudbury Utilities Board Chair.

Glenn Thibeault, Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Member of Provincial Parliament for Sudbury, attended the opening of The Workshop. “Greater Sudbury Utilities has always been a leader in innovation, and The Workshop is no exception.”

David Chisholm concludes, “The big story will actually be in five or 10 years, when we are talking about projects and products coming to market that were driven by our employees and our community partners, innovations that improve the day-to-day lives of our customers and our staff. The slogan fits the goal: Good Ideas Made Real.”

For more information on The Workshop, please visit www.gsuinc.ca/theworkshop