“Do you have any ideas to generate a buzz whilst keeping it all fresh?”

There are of course lots of ways to engage people – here are 7 which I hope are the ‘not so obvious’.  I would love to hear about any that have worked well, or not so well, for you – please contribute by commenting below.

- Big green events
- Accompanied energy walk-round surveys
- Innovation trials
- Speed sharing
- Operational feedback
- Video sharing
- Beyond posters and stickers


Holding local events are a great way to get people involved. Typically this may involve taking over a room for a few days and running interactive workshops for different teams.  The aim is to encourage local leadership, facilitate relationships and draw out and prioritise the best of ideas.  It’s always good to showcase and deliver savings in the build-up to and during such an event.   Oh yes, and do run a competition for the best idea and subsequent action!  Follow-up calls from a Director to congratulate success can also work wonders.

- A recent ‘Big Green Event’ demonstrated overall savings of 10% in just 3 months, potentially worth over £1m a year – money that can be diverted elsewhere within the business!


Sometimes it simply takes a different perspective to get someone more involved.  The key here is to respect that the ‘expert’ is the guy who knows the ins and outs of the operation and how far it can be stretched.  The energy specialist initiating the survey needs to be a facilitator, accompanying the operational ‘expert’ and creating a fresh pair of challenging eyes.  The operational ‘expert’ is normally a manager and/or a technician but could equally be a director. This approach is much more effective than just relying on an external consultant’s survey to identify the best opportunities.

- Greater people involvement means bigger savings and less stress in hitting targets.


I’m a great believer in getting people together, to exploit the breadth of skills and expertise available to challenge and push boundaries – it achieves so much more than just doing it alone.  Trials are a great way of doing this, building energy-based relationships and giving people something interesting to focus on. This works well for operational building services systems, such as lighting and air-conditioning, as well as for renewable energy supplies.  Don’t forget to celebrate success – publicise good results and make it a ‘Win Win’ for everyone involved.

- Innovation trials help you gain the knowledge – giving you an edge for the future.


This is an extension to #3, and one that we often link in with events or walk-rounds.  This is our version of speed dating; focussed on linking together like-minded organisations together, giving people a few minutes to present their experiences and expertise.  Such an ideas exchange gives others a chance to think about their own roles, cross-fertilising ideas to generate more.  Websites, such as this, can facilitate ideas sharing on a bigger stage.

- Connections mean you have the extra skills to hand so you can feel confident about delivering change and fulfilling the business plan.


Energy performance is an operational behavioural issue.  We often see energy saving initiatives that don’t deliver in the medium to long term because operational behaviours haven’t been taken into account. Questionnaires, interviews and other feedback techniques can provide important feedback to help improve performance, strategy and development plans; helping to identify key priorities and the best of ideas.  Involving operational teams in this way can be a useful way to help raise the profile of operational leadership and ensure energy efficiency is sustained in practice.

- Feeding lessons back into strategy and development projects gives you peace of mind to know you are doing everything you can.


Many organisations have successfully used DVDs to help engage their staff.  DVDs are particularly useful for induction training, workshops and taking messages to the top of an organisation. Tips for good DVDs include making them Engaging, Entertaining and Educational.  I believe they should also inspire with vision, passion and a sense of urgency in getting things done.  Keep them relatively short, 10 minutes maximum.  We have even armed teams with i-Flip camcorders to create content – you quickly find out who the future stars are!

- DVDs help foster a sense of accomplishment and pride amongst employees in getting things done.


Ideas we’ve tried that have worked well include energy saving coasters, billboards and websites – different ways of promoting the standard ‘Switch it off’ and ‘Turn it down’ messages. Here are some of the other more innovative ideas I’ve come across from around the world: This isn’t a billboardMissing out on water, and the Big Green Ball.

Remember: People are at the heart of energy management success. Click here to see some photos of past Big Green Events

1.  Share any creative ways you’ve come across, that generate the buzz, in the comments box below.
2. Ask James if you have a question, some feedback or you would like to find out more about our services.

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