We live in a business world characterised by continuously increasing pace of change. The change of focus from a stable environment to one that is constantly changing, driven by the search for improvement opportunities, has a particular impact on the economy and our daily activities. Most companies have accepted change as something that is not inherently negative and time-consuming. On the contrary, the term "change" is being perceived in a positive light in everyday business being seen as a key to success.
Many companies realised the importance of including their employees in change processes and made the necessary arrangements, for example by establishing a formal employee suggestion system. This enables the development of so-called "grassroots innovations" – innovations from the base of an organisation. One of our projects at the iimt applied the idea of grassroots innovations to the University of Fribourg by developing and introducing a suggestion box for students and employees, called the "Change Box".
Thinking about how to foster the innovative spirit of the University of Fribourg, Laura Mustafi, junior research assistant at the iimt and responsible for ideas@iimt, aimed to find a medium, which allows expressing and sharing ideas in a simple way. As a result, a pilot project named "Change Box" was introduced in collaboration with the Innovation Club Fribourg in April 2018. Seven physical boxes were spread over Pérolles 21, Pérolles 14 and Pérolles 10. Next to the boxes, a landing page has been set up in order to enable online participation. These boxes enable students and employees to become a part of the change process of the University of Fribourg and they promote solution-oriented action of students.
From the University's perspective, this project has tremendous potential for identifying those areas with a particular need for improvement. By giving students and employees the opportunity to actively solve important problems, the University of Fribourg encourages individuals with an open mindset.
During a three-month test phase, thirty-five ideas were submitted and as of today, eleven people are working on the realization of their ideas. Those ideas are not exclusively ideas concerning campus improvements, but also two business ideas have found their way into the Change Box. A campus-wide implementation of the Change Box in every building of the University of Fribourg is planned as the project evaluation indicated a corresponding success. Please find below the detailed report of this project.