Sowing the Seeds for a Culture of Innovation

May 7, 2019 10:45 AM ET

The global business environment is changing rapidly and no company can afford to stand still. CLP understands the need to transform and innovate and in the past two years has significantly stepped up its efforts to be an innovative and progressive energy provider.

In 2017, CLP Power launched the “Innofinity” cultural programme with the goal of introducing innovative thinking at every level across the company. “It is like planting a seed in the mind of every one of our colleagues,” says Customer and Brand Engagement Manager Kathy Tang, who leads the Cross-Business Group Innovation Culture Committee.

“We want to let everyone in the company understand that innovation is not necessarily a big invention or requires huge investment. Even a small change that makes our work or life better can be an innovation. Everyone can actually contribute to the innovation journey,” Kathy says.

Employees’ awareness of innovation has been greatly increased through a host of initiatives under the Innofinity programme such as InnoTour, InnoChat, and InnoQuote, Kathy says. They have embraced the innovative thinking mindset and are keen to learn the latest trends and good working practices from other companies and from colleagues within CLP.

“We also have a community of ‘InnoRangers’, who are the ambassadors from each department, supporting us to co-create the innovation culture in CLP,” Kathy adds.

To encourage employees to share their ideas and to think out of the box to find solutions, an online platform called the InnoIdea Fan Zone has been set up. Many new ideas for refining work process, enhancing technology applications, and improving customer service have been shared in just one year.

Some of the ideas include making a CLP model emergency van as a corporate souvenir to reinforce CLP’s brand image, streamlining the procedure for auditing master keys for substation access by using video calls, and replacing bulky water-filled barriers with a new easy-to-install flood barrier to prevent flooding at the cooling water pump house under extreme weather.

“We are very happy to see that the management has been supportive in following up on InnoIdeas and turning them into reality,” says Kathy. “We hope the seeds of innovation will continue to grow, blossom, and bear more fruit for CLP.”

Technology brings us closer to customers

An idea to integrate traditional customer services with digital technologies through an O2O (online to offline) experience developed by the Residential Customer Experience team and the Customer and Brand Promise team within Customer and Business Development in Hong Kong is an outstanding example of how innovation can benefit customers and improve our work efficiency.

“In the digital era, online and offline channels can echo with and supplement each other, creating a seamless, all-rounded experience for customers across two channels,” says Gary Chiang, who led the team that won the CLP Grand Awards with the O2O project.

“That is why we integrated traditional customer service with digital technologies, providing a more customer-centric service and allowing for interactive experiences with customers.

“Customers can now surf the internet anytime from anywhere to purchase products sold at Customer Service Centres and either collect them at the centres or visit to find out more and then buy them through the online shopping platform.”

Digitalisation and innovative technology will help CLP reach out to more customers and provide more customer-centric services in future, Gary believes. “Resources may be limited but innovation is boundless,” he says.

Make a big difference with small ideas

Frontline and engineering employees in the North Region in Hong Kong have also been enhancing the company’s culture of innovation and boosting productivity, work efficiency, and safety in the process. An innovation team of more than 30 colleagues was formed to nurture the culture of innovation and implement ideas put forward by employees.

“After setting up the team, we were keen to show we value every idea we received,” said Ken Chan from the North Region. “We were glad to see both frontline and engineering employees being proactive in reviewing their work flow, discussing the pain points they identified, and finding solutions.”

Nearly 200 ideas were put forward by employees in the region over the course of a year and some have already been put into action. Ken cited three simple examples:

  • Padlock tools have been given to each work team assigned to operate the switches on electricity poles. The switches are to isolate sections of cables when faults are detected. This replaces the previous arrangement where a single padlock tool was attached to a wooden pole, which sometimes left the padlock tool rusted or damaged. The small change at no additional cost has avoided potential delays in unlocking the switches, particularly in an emergency.
  • An overhead line solar surveillance camera has been installed at the suggestion of the overhead line team, allowing online monitoring of transmission circuits at a strategic location for better fault location identification and more timely vegetation management works.
  • Portable clip-on electric fans have been made available to frontline staff working outdoors in summer to help prevent heatstroke in response to a suggestion from employees who said it would help keep them cool in the hottest months of the year and improve their work efficiency.

"All these ideas focus on our pain points that have been there for a long time. We are happy that the implementation of the innovation culture has given us the opportunities to change the old practices. Although these ideas are just small ones, they make a big difference to our daily work," Ken says.

To learn more about CLP’s connection with society, please check out the latest issue of CLP.CONNECT.