Heathrow uses a dedicated innovation team to improve the airport's operations, with a keen focus on solving business challenges.
In an interview with V3, Neil Clark, chief information office at Heathrow, described how this band of blue-sky thinkers focuses on how technology can be used to benefit the business.
"We look to [external companies] to bring in the real expertise, in terms of the real deep technical knowledge or project knowledge in a particular domain or technology for us. So my team are focused on understanding our business and where we are trying to take the technology for our business," explained Clark.
"I've recently created a small innovation team to think about business challenges differently, and we're doing some really great stuff. Our innovation approach is to take a business challenge, put together some technology and run a trial, and if we can prove that there is a business case, it then goes into our development portfolio as a normal project."
He explained how the innovation team adopts an entrepreneurial style of thinking when it comes to trying out new approaches to technology.
"See if it works. If it doesn't, kill it," he said.
As an example of this approach, Clark explained how the innovation team trialled 3D imaging as a means of reminding travellers to remove liquids from their bags when passing through security.
The idea was that 3D images would be better at attracting the attention of people than static signs.
However, after trilling this at Heathrow's Terminal 1, the 3D screens were abandoned after it became clear they had no effect on people's behaviour.
In contrast to this, Clark revealed how the innovation team came up with an system that improves the way runways are maintained.
Previously, inspection engineers recorded faults, such as a broken light, on a paper map, which repair teams would later use to locate the fault.
To improve this process, the innovation team gave the inspection engineers GPS-enabled tablets that can pinpoint exactly where a fault is and feed its location back to airport's central systems, thereby greatly speeding up the entire maintenance process.
Clark said the innovation team is working on six to 10 projects and can implement a successful technology trial in a matter of months if not weeks.
Technology is clearly playing a major part in Heathrow's operations, particularly as the recent overhaul of the airport's Terminal 2 saw the implementation of a £34m IT infrastructure from Fujitsu.
We sacrificed our weekend to try out the new Vikendi map coming to PUBG - and rather liked it
12 of the 32 stars observed feature rings and gaps that are usually carved by planets in the process of formation
The experiment is currently underway at South Korea's Yangyang Underground Laboratory
Exoplanet HAT-P-11b is located about 124 light years from Earth