Crowdsourcing Innovation at Caltrans
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Crowdsourcing Innovation at Caltrans

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    • NTL Classification:
      NTL-PLANNING AND POLICY-Public Participation and Outreach ; NTL-PLANNING AND POLICY-Plans and Policy Statements ;
    • Abstract:
      This report documents the first year experience in launching and sustaining a web-based, crowdsourcing innovation management tool at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). In March 2015 an ad-hoc team of Caltrans managers and staff began exploring various strategies to further enhance a culture of innovation within the organization. The effort was motivated by the Department’s recently updated strategic management plan that has an emphasis on innovation. The use of a crowdsourcing innovation management tool was identified to be a promising approach, successfully employed by other state transportation agencies and across the private sector in other industries. In September 2015 the Department launched the “Innovate@Caltrans” site with a trio of campaigns to elicit ideas from employees on water conservation, workplace safety, and suggestions for future campaigns. Over the course of the ensuing 12 months, over 3300 employees participated in a total of 9 campaigns, contributing close to 550 ideas. 2 ideas from a campaign were implemented during this period. 25 ideas from 3 campaigns were moved to advanced stages of the innovation process to identify next steps. The tool demonstrated how an innovation platform can be effectively leveraged to engage employees at all levels in the organization while fostering dialogue across conventional organizational boundaries. The experience gained from implementing these new processes provided an opportunity for growth moving forward with an improved innovation platform.
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