June 22, 2023, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
From failure to triumph: revitalizing a placement through innovative planning and collaborative efforts
Murtaza Mohammadi, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, on his Researcher Academy placement with Bow Window Films Ltd.
In the professional realm, unforeseen circumstances often disrupt carefully devised plans. However, it is during these challenging situations that our true capabilities and potential come to the forefront. In this blog post, I intend to recount an extraordinary journey during my placement at Bow Window Films Ltd, which was marked by a multitude of obstacles. Through strategic planning, effective communication, and innovative problem-solving techniques, I successfully navigated these hurdles, transforming what seemed like a failing situation into a resounding success.
Bow Window Films Ltd, a company specialising in the procurement and installation of window films for diverse applications, aimed to expand its product range by including thermal films to help reduce heating costs. I eagerly embraced the opportunity to be part of this project, which was aligned with the UN’s SDG7 target. I was especially excited to conduct experiments and analyse the performance of these new films. However, challenges emerged right from the outset: stakeholders’ logjam, resource constraints, and adverse weather conditions that conspired against our progress. The spectre of suspension hung over, threatening to derail the entire placement. I recognised the urgency of the situation and redesigned a comprehensive action plan that would not only reconcile conflicting opinions but also propel the project forward.
To address the impasse, I had to re-evaluate the placement’s objectives and budget. I improved my interpersonal and research skills, by engaging in extensive discussions with the stakeholders, exploring alternate research methodologies, and consulting multiple technology providers. Through open dialogue and active listening, I gained a deeper understanding of their concerns, needs, and priorities. With the new insight, I proposed an alternative pathway and successfully persuaded all parties involved to embrace the new plan.
Furthermore, I fostered collaborative relationships with the technicians, technology providers, and the host company. By effectively coordinating with each group, I facilitated the design of a new experimental system aimed at testing the in-situ performance of window films. I learnt to bridge communication gaps and harmonize diverse perspectives to ensure successful delivery of the project.
I had the opportunity to plan and conduct independent field tests, meticulously analyse data, and prepare comprehensive reports. While I received certain guidelines from the host company, most of the project was executed autonomously. I often faced the challenge of recalibrating the tests due to adverse weather conditions, as the experiments demanded specific environmental conditions. Demonstrating utmost efficiency and time management, despite delays in resource procurement and environmental constraints, I completed the project within nearly half of the allotted time frame. The window films showed promising results with nearly 2% annual savings in heating bills for a moderate house.
The placement helped me develop skills in adaptability and resilience in professional settings. I would like to highlight a few important lessons that I learnt on the way:
- Proactivity: It is crucial to be proactive in the face of challenges, taking swift action to identify and implement solutions at the earliest opportunity.
- Flexibility and Adaptability: Embracing change and thinking outside the box are vital when circumstances deviate from the initial plan. Creative problem-solving becomes essential and one should be comfortable stepping beyond the confines of the job description.
- Relationship Building: Building strong relationships with stakeholders fosters trust, support, and facilitates the achievement of goals.
- Perseverance: Regardless of the difficulties encountered, persistence and a steadfast work ethics are vital. Never giving up leads to eventual success.
I hope my story inspires others to pursue their dreams amidst adversity. Let us embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and continue striving for success.
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