How working in an innovation project can make one’s daily work more colourful and bring a lot to the company.
Wow, sometimes I can hardly believe it myself… I’ve been working for TÜV Rheinland in the corporate communications department for almost nine years now. This is what you call stability! In my former life, I was more of a person who focused less on this kind of stability than on new challenges. Helping to set up a new branch of a communications agency, kick-starting a large project, working in large diverse teams, 100 days of travel per year – my basic motto was: bring it on, I’m there!
Well, times and life situations are changing. Since I have a family, 100 days of travelling simply no longer fit into the – what I call – well-managed family diary. It is rather handy when the work requirements fit in as smoothly as possible into the daily routine of commuting and school runs.
In a nutshell, I am quite happy and satisfied with this steadiness of my working life. Fortunately, I cannot complain about monotony in my line of work in such a broadly positioned and international company as TÜV Rheinland. And thanks to modern work equipment, flexible working hours and places, I can fit in everything.
Agile project management + ideas = innovations
Nevertheless – sometimes it still grips me. I love working with international colleagues, breaking new ground, the kick in successfully completing a big project. Going off the beaten track.
So it was a lucky chance that I was asked last summer to support an innovation project of a colleague working in Japan (see blog article by Sarah Stark) – the implementation of a company-wide translation tool for TÜV Rheinland. Sarah submitted her idea within a TÜV Rheinland innovation initiative. After its approval, the project received funding so that we could start with the support of a knowledgeable IT colleague and a working student doing her master’s degree in terminology management.
Small team + big project = top cooperation
The work in our small team feels a bit like sitting around a campfire: solidary, casually pragmatic and amicable – like in a mini start-up.
The project gives us the opportunity to be our own small, powerful unit within TÜV Rheinland and to act autonomously.
It is not always easy to create space for our project in our daily routines. Fortunately, our managers support us which gives us extra freedom to concentrate on our project. Now we are on the finishing line. In the meantime, word has spread throughout the company and many colleagues are showing great interest in using our TÜV Translate tool.
The tool offers considerable advantages for staff and company. On the one hand, we have compiled a comprehensive TÜV Rheinland dictionary, which should help to bring more consistency into our corporate wording. On the other hand, we use a translation tool based on artificial intelligence that translates even longer texts within a matter of seconds. As long as you don’t get bogged down in half page long German sentences, the translation quality is surprisingly excellent and more and more languages are covered.
Project work – an opportunity for everyone
In my opinion, such special projects, whether from bottom to top, as in our innovation kickbox initiative, or from top to bottom, as in corporate projects, are a promising model for our future work. They give employees the opportunity to test their skills in different areas and with different responsibilities. Not all of us can or want to climb up the big fat career ladder. But many of us, regardless of age and gender, are well educated and want to get involved. Such special projects give us the opportunity to do so and acquire new skills. And perhaps they are also the basis for taking us a step further towards more responsibility or to be able to develop into new areas of work.
Innovation projects seem to have a special potential here, since they allow staff members, who might not have been on the overall career radar screen, to pitch their ideas to a broader audience. However, as the last months have shown – work conditions must also be right to follow-up and finish an extra project successfully. Interested? Watch out for our next blog post. Sarah and I will share some insights with you.
For now, I am happy to have had this opportunity and excited to see how our tool will be used and evolve within TÜV Rheinland.