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Karins: Investing in innovation

Our latest innovation initiative, the Karins Way Project, assembles teams from across our 6 offices to focus on key innovation goals in different areas of our business. Each team was designated a facilitator who trained with brand strategy firm Studio BC/C  to lead their team in an iterative design process. 


We spoke with team facilitator Alan Siscoe from the Tampa office about the mindset and process, innovating client education processes and what engineering integrity and innovation inside the company means to him.

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What kind of new ways of thinking, practices or roles did this program ask you to try on? 

I think personally it definitely gave me more of a spirit of collaboration and more creative thinking. It also had me working with different people in different offices for a combined goal. And this new practice is a hundred percent necessary for our future in the company to make sure that we're busy. I definitely like that side of it. And personally I have an interest in being part of the team comes up with the ideas that decisions are based, having some input in that process.


The program was designed to use a virtual tool called Mural but we know that didn’t work for every group. How did you adapt the process and keep your team progressing?

Initially we started with trying to use the virtual collaboration tool and I definitely think it had positives to it, but it took a little while before we finally got to some good ideas. Some people weren't able to participate in all of the sessions so I went through a similar process with them over the phone to brainstorm and troubleshoot ideas to refine them into prototypes. Nothing's perfect but we all adapted to the process worked in create some great ideas.


What did it take to get your ideas from concepts to prototypes?

I think our core team kind of fleshed out a lot of the concepts prior to testing and I think that’s potentially why my group had some success. We had three business development people in the group and they helped steer prototypes to get to the point of our innovation goals. I personally learned a lot just talking to Marcel from Sarasota and another person in Ft. Lauderdale and our innovations will make things more efficient within the entire company. 


What are some of the results that you’d like to see come out of your work?

I’d like to see our ideas implemented company wide. For instance, we spelled out a process to educate property managers and different clients on the possible outcomes if they forgo restoration services. I’d love to see every office conducting this kind of education and getting the message out effectively to help our clients. I think the way to do that is educate everyone at every office in the same philosophy and this process helped us get that refined.


What’s your definition of engineering integrity?

Integrity in general is living up to promises you make, delivering the right solution even if it's not the one everyone wants to hear and standing by what you know is right and not taking the easy way out. Everyone at Karins want what's best for that reason, not just for profits— we believe in what we do and do it at a certain standard. And if we don't do that, we're not going to be profitable no matter what. So those kinds of things pay dividends in the long run where people call us because they can expect to get the right answers, not just answers they want to hear. 


What is the site of innovation and its priority in Karins culture?

I can say I learned that there are a lot of good engineers in the company that very similarly are trying to make this company a better place. Not that it's not a good place, but we’re trying to make it all that it can be. I can see we all work for a company that we can believe in, and we believe in having input from multiple perspectives and are enthusiastic about making innovations that help us deliver for our clients.