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Enabling Innovation through a Teams-based Approach

Discovery: The first step included analyzing dozens of interview transcripts around the common barriers and enablers to success in this 100 person university support service. From these interviews, I developed a survey that analyzed employee perceptions around organizational citizenship, collaboration and innovation behaviors, Analysis demonstrated a significant difference in perception between director level and regular employees with regard to supports and mechanisms for innovation. The survey was delivered a year later and demonstrated significant improvements in each of the problem areas that were initially identified.

Dialogue: In reporting survey findings back to directors and senior managers, I facilitated the development of a "Director's Pledge", as a symbol of commitment to innovation. I then recruited members of the department to participate on Action Learning Teams that were based around developing multiple aspects of innovative culture.

Epiphany: Though it was originally assumed that employees believed the climate was not collegial, the ultimate issue preventing innovation was the lack of social and technical enablers that could allow employees to work across functional domains. Once this was accomplished, through Action Learning Teams, the flood gates opened and great ideas continue to funnel through.

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