DFW - Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

May 3, 2024
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DFW - Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Transforming Operators into Everyday Innovators Expert

Challenge

Unlocking employee innovation at the second busiest airport in the world.

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is a city unto itself. With a campus that stretches over 27square miles, DFW has its own zip code, police force and several businesses that keep the operation humming 24/7. Its 2,000 personnel have a wide range of roles, from front-line airfield operations and firefighters, to back office marketing and IT developers.

In the summer of 2020, DFW confronted a challenge:

How might we improve the success rate of employee ideas across the organization and enhance everyday creative problem solving?

“The Everyday Innovators Program has been transformative here at DFW. It set a common language, turbocharged our collaboration, and empowered a new era of innovators across the enterprise.”

Jodie Brinkerhoff

Vice President of InnovationDallas Fort Worth International Airport

Approach

Creating Everyday Innovators

DFW rolled out their Everyday Innovator Program over several steps:
1

Innovation Mindsets, a 30-minute self-directed, online course, equipped everyone with a common language and empowered them to bring innovation into their daily jobs. Putting their “everyone, everyday” philosophy into action, DFW’s board adopted a corporate goal that 100% of employees — from the newest, entry-level workers to top executives — were required to complete this course

2

In 2021, Innovation Bootcamp workshops commenced. These hands-on and practical sessions were designed so participants could immediately apply learnings. By 2023, boot camps have graduated nearly 250 people, drawn from every DFW department. These individuals are spearheading change across the organization

3

Having built a core group of innovation practitioners, the next step was Innovation Mindsets for Leaders targeted training courses that help DFW managers boost the innovative potential of their teams and ongoing engagement in the program.

4

As of 2023, the program has continued to drive impact by giving select bootcamp attendees resources and skills to facilitate their own workshops. This has created self-organizing teams who can solve innovation challenges in their own departments and create long-lasting impact.

Outcome

Renewed Purpose, Creativity, and Optimism

Common Language

From saying “Yes, AND” to new ideas to taking a “test-and-learn” approach, having a shared framework has allowed innovative behaviors to be recognized, supported, and reinforced.

Growing Enthusiasm

There has been a noticeable spike in buy-in and commitment for innovation activities. This also has led to spillover effects around retention and making DFW an attractive place to workin a tight labor market.

Widespread Engagement

From finance to operations, innovation has been embraced across all departments. New projects now regularly look for customer feedback and diverse perspectives, which not only creates better outcomes, but also quicker progress.

DFW’s Everyday Innovator Program

DFW’s Everyday Innovator Program has infused a new level of creative problem-solving across the organization. This transformative program also validates the belief that innovation and operational excellence can thrive hand in hand, setting an important precedent in the airport industry and beyond.