Driving Innovation with Energy

Preceding World Creativity and Innovation Day, we had the privilege of engaging with Mike Procee, a Manager in the Energy Industry, to delve into the dynamics propelling corporate innovation within the Energy sector.

Well-regarded throughout Calgary’s innovation community, Mike has established himself as the founder of the Calgary Innovation Peer Forum, an educator of innovation at Mount Royal University, the host of a corporate innovators podcast, and a relentless innovator himself. Through his multifaceted engagements with various stakeholders, Mike spoke to the significance of understanding diverse skill sets and approaches for fostering innovation.

When asked what qualifies as innovation to Mike, he defined it as “doing things differently to provide value. It’s something that everybody can participate in, everybody can join, and you don’t need a PhD to do it. You don’t need to be a deep subject matter expert to do it. You can just help make things better.” As broad as his definition is, he categorized innovation into three segments; core, sustaining/adjacent, and transformative/disruptive innovations.

Against the backdrop of evolving regulatory frameworks and global imperatives such as carbon emission targets, the industry stands poised for accelerated innovation, driven by individual creativity, ingenuity, and problem-solving acumen. With industry-shaking opportunities in the energy transition, as well as implications with energy security, Mike believes “there’s never been a better or more exciting time to join the energy industry, the amount of opportunities that we have on the horizon is absolutely incredible.”

Despite a universal desire for improvement, barriers to new ideas persist. Not every idea is always loved by everybody, and it requires a thick skin to stay tenacious and ambitious. Mike’s advice to young professionals is to persevere and never underestimate the value you add! When it comes to innovation specifically, Mike shared two critical skills to foster; facilitation and reporting. If you want to inspire a sustainable culture of innovation throughout your team or organization, you need to facilitate/collaborate with others and then show strong reporting and outcomes. Mike defined a ‘culture of innovation’ as a psychologically safe environment where employees feel empowered to share, and their ideas are actually implemented. Oftentimes you will not be the individual innovating, but it is important you are there to help the organization innovate, and that is an important distinction to make. Mike underscored the value of seizing opportunities beyond conventional roles, emphasizing the impact of kindness in fostering a supportive workplace culture. Furthermore, he explained the overarching imperative of cultivating psychological safety within the organizational fabric—a cornerstone for fostering innovation and collective growth. 

Mike Procee’s insights underscore the imperative of value-driven innovation and inclusive cultures within the Energy industry. As the industry navigates rapid transformation, his guidance on fostering resilience, embracing diverse perspectives, and nurturing psychological safety provides a roadmap for organizations to thrive amidst uncertainty and seize the abundant opportunities on the horizon.

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