ideasUK Conference Feedback by Lucy Hardy

Every now and then you read something that really makes you sit up and take notice. I would like to share with you some feedback from our recent conference by one of the Idea of the Year Finalists.
I was lucky enough to attend the ideasUK Conference in Chester, an annual event which brings together organisations from across the world to celebrate innovation, share ideas and reflect upon our experiences as an innovative organisation in challenging times.

Setting off from Bristol at 6.00am full of anticipation, everything was on track until the train grinded to a halt outside Hereford. After an hour, we were advised an incident had closed the line ahead and we would be reverting back to Hereford. It now seemed unlikely we would make the 11.00am start and when confirmed that a coach would be taking us to Shrewsbury (over one and half hours away) so we could reconnect to the rail network I did start to worry. However, a quick call to the organisers soon settled my nerves and at 1.30pm we finally arrived! After a quick change and lunch with Liz Parker (Innovation and Investment Team, LBG) we went straight into a keynote seminar run by Richard Mound, IBM Global Business Services, who talked about innovation and social networking. One of the key messages I took from this was the importance of encouraging colleagues from across the business to get involved in process improvement, whether they’ve been in the company 10 days or 10 years.

Next it was time for my interview with the ideasUK judges – my idea to streamline payment transfers from closed business accounts to Customer Debt Management was implemented back last year and nominated for an award by the LBG Innovation and Investment Team and then shortlisted by the Ideas UK judges. 10 minutes later, I emerged from the room having felt like I’d done another competency based interview, but I had the International networking supper to look forward to, so no time for dwelling on my performance. We met with representatives from across the world, sharing best practise on idea and information gathering and retired late into the night having been well fed.

The following day we attended two more seminars, one which was run by Andrea Kelly (President of Harris County Hospital, USA) who reinforced the message that we need to listen to our customers and colleagues to unlock the true potential of innovation. The presentation ceremony kicked off after lunch, where certificates were issued for commended and highly commended ideas and finalists were invited to take to the stage for photos. Both myself and Tim Hiscocks (Commercial, Direct Channels – also a finalist in the competition) had our photos taken and then went to get ready for the evening awards ceremony. Entering the dining room at 7.00pm we immediately felt like stars thanks to the Hollywood theme and could not wait for proceedings to begin. Both myself and Tim were entered into the Financial Services category (improving an organisations financial efficiency) and when our names were displayed as finalists we felt really excited. However, the winning entry came from Cyprus Communications so we both congratulated each other on getting to the final and celebrated with some drinks.

However, there were three more awards to present before dinner, including the Private Sector Trophy (for the idea considered to be the best overall from the private sector). There were no finalists for this category and when my name was called out as the winner I couldn’t have been more surprised! After a shaky walk up to the stage I was presented with my certificate and trophy and had my picture taken with the Chairman of ideasUK, Andy Beddows. As the winning organisation, Lloyds Banking Group also received a trophy and we celebrated our achievement well into the night! Trying to fit two trophies into my case was hard work the following day but they’ve now taken pride of place on my desk as a reminder that innovation can be achieved through the simplest of mediums and make a big impact on customer service.

Special thanks to those who helped make this happen, and of course Liz Parker for nominating me!

Lucy Hardy
Assistant Manager – SBLU

Innovation can touch the hearts of every employee in your organisation. Lucy enjoyed her time at the conference and took a lot away that can be shared within her business unit.

Our 2010 conference will take place in the Holland House Hotel Cardiff on the 10/11 November 2010. Bookings are now being taken so contact us today for more details!!


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