Blogging Series 10 Ways Open Innovation Can Transform Your Agency (Week 4)

Blogging Series 10 Ways Open Innovation Can Transform Your Agency (Week 4)

Last time I discussed how open innovation can increase transparency in agency governance, now it’s time for Week 4!

Open innovation can transform your agency by boosting employee morale and engagement.

Background: Traditionally, front-line government employees have very little influence over changing an agency’s existing processes and systems. In addition, there has not always been a dedicated channel utilized by agencies to solicit employee feedback. Although, some suggestion boxes have made it into agencies, having no transparent process or feedback loop creates an unsustainable system of change. Imagine a system if employees were motivated to participate and rewarded for their intellectual contributions.

What employees want: Employee motivation is driven by different triggers depending on the individual and organization culture. There’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy that can be applied to engaging employees; here are a few examples:

  1. Recognition
  2. Rewards
  3. Intellectual Stimulation

How It Applies: Open innovation can provide an incentive for employees to participate and share their ideas in a transparent process. Here’s a best practice below that can be leveraged:

  • Collect Structured Feedback from Employees: Instead of creating a forum for employees to sound-off about random problems or letting complaints fill water cooler rooms, agencies should solicite structured feedback that the employee recommend solutions within.
    • Example Complaint (Around the water-cooler): “It takes forever to get reimbursed for official government trips! Urgg…”
    • Now if an agency solicited structured feedback and the employee had a channel not just to vent- but recommend a change, it would look something like this: “It takes forever to get reimbursed for official government trips, why doesn’t the city issue employee purchase cards to make the process easier and less time-consuming. In fact, our neighboring City of Whoville implemented a purchase card system through Chase just last month.”

Bottom Line: Engaging employees on all levels is very important especially during tough economic times. Collectively and collaboratively working with our employees (& constituents) can help us address some of our biggest problems.

What do you think? How does your agency solicit employee ideas currently? What’s the morale like within your agency?

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Profile Photo David Kuehn

Structured deliberation requires knowledge, skill, and time. Tools alone will not provide an effective space for deliberation. Does your agency have or have access to people who are trained in designing and managing deliberation?