Last week I saw a really great example of the benefits of combining people and place to produce some remarkable insights whilst encouraging participants to consider that delivering the impossible whether its Facilities Management (FM) or another area, is realistic if one is prepared to work at it.
One of Dublin’s best known sporting venues, the Aviva stadium, formerly Lansdowne Rd, provided the backdrop for the BIFM Ireland Summit. As one of the greatest sporting venues (I’m biased), in the world, this was the perfect setting for an organisation, which, like rugby football, spans the entire island. Having gone there for matches, since I was a schoolboy, this newish (2010) state of the art sporting facility with its extensive conference suites prompted me to recall great feats of Irish rugby over the years but last week I saw it in a different way. Because the people who participated in the conference really made a big impression.
It’s not often one gets the opportunity to have a chat with a gold medal winning Paralympian. Meeting Dave Malone, Irish swimming legend and now Paralympic Performance Director, reminded me of what it takes to get to this standard. Indeed, it brought me back to May 2011 when I first came across another Irish Paralympian. I learnt a great deal from track star Michael McKillop about what it takes to truly be on top of your game. I recall that my blog proved really inspirational to a lot of my BBC team at the time.
Dave’s story to the audience was particularly apt given that FM, as a Cinderella sector, badly needs some encouragement, to step out of the shadows and to stop waiting for a Prince Charming to take Cinders to the ball. Regardless of how daunting this may appear to many in FM, the example provided by these sports people in particular says anything is possible. Oh I forgot to mention that Dave lost both his legs as a child.
Our chair for the summit was Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, an interesting choice given she is both an academic and a broadcaster. Aoibhinns’ questions drew a lot of insights which otherwise might not have been uncovered. This was especially relevant when Monica Parker started talking about myths. A really appropriate topic given the mostly Celtic makeup of the audience.
Reflecting back over the programme which provided a good blend of local and visiting speakers I was struck be a number of common themes. Dublin as a city is very much back in business, see last weeks Economist for their view of the Celtic Phoenix. There are lots of interesting things going on;- fresh thinking, new approaches. This is not just the preserve of the numerous multi nationals, who have made Dublin their European HQ. There is quite a lot of locally based innovation such as the DCU innovation campus.
One of the key insights however came from Google’s VP of Real Estate Jennifer Kelly who explained the rationale for their own brand of workspace design – its all down to ‘intentionality’ Now that is something to chew on.