Story #7 Geoff
Geoff Marée is Senior Lecturer Imagineering and this is his #NHTVStory:
”Ten years ago the whole Facility Management group of students of the second year went to Sarajevo for a constructed trip. That is something that we have as a tradition; once a year, Facility Management goes on a trip to restore support, a charity goal. In this case it was a psychiatric institution which looked, at that moment, as a war place. High fences, barbwire, people behind those fences looking quite isolated. So when we got there, all the students had to get used to what is going on here.
We drove through a territory which was quite recently free. So there were bombed houses, minefields, very impressive. We came there and the building, the whole premises had to be done. Our Facility Management students had prepared this project a long time before. They had events organized to raise money, they had organizational groups who knew what had to be done and they had already been communicating with the leader of those facilities. So in a week time, together with the people who worked there, we completely restored the place. It was very impressive because at a certain moment in time, also the patients who lived there started to help out. Our Facility Management students became managers of small direction groups that improved all of the territory. That created such a strong bond.
At the end of this whole project, two buses should bring us back to the Netherlands, filled with students. And then one of the patients came to the porch – they were not allowed to leave the premises- so they came to the gate and waved at us. One started that, waved at us and then all of them came and started to sing a Bosnian song as a farewell song and I must say that I think that there were a 100 students crying in the bus.
Actually that is a great experience that relates to the Facility Management education that we have here at NHTV. Internationally focused, but also beyond understanding that premises are more about internal relational hospitality aspects. They way to organize things, the management of improvement processes and also the management of human processes; everyone got frustrated that week and we had to get over it, if you used the wrong paint on the wrong door, you have to start again. Those small items were also part of that learning process.
I was there as a staff member so I had to coach students. I had to see if everything went right, but most importantly, we didn’t do much. We were observing and giving them feedback in the evenings. Interestingly enough, we also tricked them a bit into the managerial process because we suggested the next day to reorganize the groups and to have other managers. Only the last few days, when our observation and feedback was actually not necessary anymore, we started also painting and doing some woodwork to make everything done within the week.
There is always something to experience. I think that NHTV is an unbelievable, creative organization. And since I am especially interested in creativity – I teach Imagineering – I’m involved in the master Imagineering. I am teaching here already for about 14 years now and if they still want me here then there is a kind of leaning towards my believe. And that is that creativity is an essential skill in management, not only in facility management. We are closely together with Hotel Management. Many of my colleagues are both busy educating in the one and in the other course. And so you can also see the contrast. Facility Management is focusing on getting things done and they actually pick interesting information from the hospitality view. The other way around: you can see that our Hotel Management students can benefit from understanding an environment for example what a place does to your experience and how you can use it to improve an experience. So there is some cross fertilization.”
I think that my personal believe is also that if you study management; creativity is essential.