The City of Goodyear believes in providing a work environment that supports and encourages innovation. Through innovation, we can build a city where people want to be and an organization where people want to work.
They have made recent strides in aligning their efforts and taking action to demonstrate this commitment. Innovation is a core competency for all staff in the organization and is an element of all performance appraisals. The City Strategic Action Plan has an action item dedicated to seeking opportunities for efficiencies and process improvements. And their participation in the Spring 2014 Innovation Academy helped to engage more employees and hone in on additional opportunities.
During the Team’s Academy journey, there had been an increase in employee outreach regarding innovation – what does it mean to them, asking for ideas, and learning what people need to be innovative in their jobs. Through these conversations, there were a few points that were very clear:
- A lot of their employees are already implementing innovation in their jobs. However, because they didn’t have a central place to collect this information, they were not telling our “innovation story”. ?
- Employees appreciate being asked for their opinions and they have a lot of ideas that will propel innovation efforts. However, often times, people may not be sure how to advance these ideas or know what the process is (either formally or informally) to try to explore/implement them. ?
- It is important that they consistently prioritizing innovation across the organization. They need to help employees focus on innovation as part of their work duties. In their efforts to complete daily work and meet deadlines, employees often feel they don’t have time or supervisor support to focus on innovation. ?
During outreach to employees for project ideas, there were many diverse suggestions ranging from community projects, new city facilities, economic development efforts, employee-related items, and process improvement opportunities. As the team discussed project selection, the desire was clear that encouraging suggestions of this nature and exploring ways to evaluate and advance them was important for us to see continue beyond our tenure in the academy. This led us to their project – creating a sustainable innovation program for the City of Goodyear. ?