Differentiating Through Innovation

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Canada’s Best Managed Companies

Canada’s Best Managed Companies

Lessons from Best Managed

Bijan Mannani (COO, Landmark Group of Builders, Winner since 2013): Innovation, we believe at Landmark, is the key to any company. If you want transformation, if you want a revolution – which is what we are after if we want to transform our industry – doing it the same way or implementing incremental changes is not going to lead us to a quick change that we are looking for. So we have got a certain amount of knowledge. We have got ample resources that we can provide to it, but the most important part is the willingness, and having a dream of transforming it. Those three components need to come together in lead to innovation. At Landmark, we believe we have got the right recipe, right climate, and right knowledge and personnel to lead the innovation. And working and collaborating with like-minded companies, individuals, to further expand this collaboration to get there.

We have reduced the cycle time of construction, which is the business driver behind what it is we are doing. Over time, this building methodology will be supported and accepted and adopted by many builders – other builders in Canada as well as in the United States. That’s our objective.

It is very capital intensive for this process, but we have started the journey knowing that it takes time for us to perfect this process, and we shouldn't be looking at a short-term financial gain. We started this journey that we set course on back in 2009, and now we now need to be completed it and giving it all the resources, whether it's human resources, whether it’s the capital that we need to be injecting into the business, collaborating with other businesses to minimize the capital that we need to be putting in. And everybody doing their part of it so we can take it to the finish line.

Jim Ostertag (Managing Principal, Solvera Solutions, Winner since 2011): Innovation is expected of us by our customers. Just the whole culture of innovation. One of the things that we do is quite interesting. We actually take a survey. We measure the level of innovation in our company. So we starting with having an external firm conduct a survey of our staff to get their perceptions of innovation at Solvera, and we are going to redo the survey again this year. So we can measure how our people are thinking about innovation, and if there are areas where we are perhaps falling behind, we can address it. But I think it's very important that companies consider innovation and now we’re starting to measure it. So that's something I think relatively new.

The reason that we want our employees’ opinions about innovation is we’re striving to really create a culture where innovation is an integral part of that culture. So we have to get to the employee base and really understand what they're thinking. And more than just understand – it’s encourage innovation. Even the fact that we are measuring innovation says that it's important to the company and so it just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we are talking about innovation and they’re giving the feedback, I believe we are going to have a more innovative culture at our company.

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