1. How Portland is tackling the innovation dilemma

    January 2, 2015 by ahmed

    Portland Mayor Charlie Hales set aside $1 million in his 2013-14 budget for an “innovation fund.”
    Now he’s ready to award some of the best ideas from city bureaus with money

    Originally posted on Governing, by Steve Goldsmith

    We rightly expect a great deal from our municipal governments. We want city departments to be innovative — but not to take unwise risks. We want their projects to generate impressive long-term results — but not to cost taxpayers heavily upfront.

    Can government be at once cutting-edge and careful? It’s a paradox that for years has stymied municipal innovation in cities across the country.

    Here’s how it works: Each year, the mayor sets aside $1 million in the city budget to support the innovation fund. City bureau directors hoping to win a chunk of that funding submit project proposals, which are evaluated by a task force of private-sector professionals who consider how effectively the proposals fulfill the goal of saving the city money or making government run more smoothly. The task force makes recommendations to the mayor, who then puts the winning proposals before the city council for funding consideration.

    In its first year, the competition received 22 proposals from 10 bureau directors. Based on endorsements from the inaugural task force, the city council approved six projects for a net total of nearly $900,000 in funding. Among the winning projects were those seeking to save money (the Portland Housing Bureau was awarded $48,000 for a data-sharing program aimed at reducing data-entry costs) and save lives (the Fire Bureau got $108,000 to implement a smartphone app designed to help cardiac arrest victims receive immediate assistance).

    Another winning proposal was aimed at improving the city government’s collaboration with the private sector. The Portland Development Commission was awarded $80,000 for a program that seeks to make the city an early adopter of new technologies being developed by Portland’s startup community for use in meeting the city’s maintenance and operational needs. The funds are going toward the roll-out of technology for an online portal as well as face-to-face networking events aimed at connecting local tech start-ups with city bureaus. Even in its early stages, the program has already fostered significant cross-bureau collaboration, according to Chris Harder, the commission’s economic development director.

    With the innovation fund now in its second year, city officials are making a few changes to the initiative to inspire more and better ideas. This time around, organizers solicited project ideas from all city employees rather than just bureau directors — a change that was aimed at fostering participation from all levels of the city bureaucracy. Organizers simplified the submission form and introduced a second round of consideration for larger projects. This year’s innovation fund will also place greater emphasis on training; some of the funds will be used to pay for workshops to help managers and supervisors be more creative in their jobs.

    All of these changes are aimed at promoting new ideas throughout city government. “I think the effort itself is something that should be embraced,” Harder said of the Innovation Fund. “Particularly when you work for a bureau, to have the leadership encourage you to think that way is very helpful.”

    Portland is neither the first nor the last city to look toward competition to try to spark creative government solutions. Baltimore has its own innovation fund, which, like Portland’s version, awards competitive seed grants to city agencies with creative project ideas. In the past few years, Baltimore has funded agency projects to install “smart” parking and energy meters, put in place new fiber-optic technology for the city’s broadband network, and acquire a new, more efficient DNA analysis tool. And earlier this month, Los Angeles announced that it would launch a $1 million innovation fund to support creative projects dreamed up by city workers.

    The Portland innovation fund can in part trace its roots back to a larger and broader predecessor based in New York City. This grant competition is run by the city’s Center for Economic Opportunity and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC. With support from the federal Social Innovation Fund, the center supports the replication of anti-poverty programs in New York and other cities across the country, using a competitive selection process.

    Innovation funds and other related initiatives offer an exciting new way of thinking about the problem of encouraging innovation in traditionally risk-averse government institutions. By combining an entrepreneur’s eye for creative solutions with a public servant’s mindfulness of limited resources, these initiatives have great potential to make government more efficient.


  2. Resilience – What is it and how can it help you?

    December 29, 2014 by ahmed

    What is Resilience, what are the benefits of being resilient, and how can one build their resilience? This Resilience Overview Documentary follows the story of U.S. Army Master Sgt. Jennifer Loredo as she dealt with the tragic loss of her husband, how she powered through and bounced back. Experts provide insight on what it means to be resilient and why it’s an important attribute for everyone to have.

     

     


  3. Awards Recognising Excellence in the Public Sector

    December 28, 2014 by ahmed

    A recent workshop, 27-30 October 2014, organized by the Asian Productivity Organisation investigated the importance of awards for recognizing and sharing best practices. The purpose of the workshop was to assist National Productivity Organisations in designing relevant and effective awards that supported public sector organisations on the journey to business excellence in their respective countries. Representatives from 11 countries attended. The chief experts leading the workshop were Dr. Robin Mann, Director, Centre for Organizational Excellence Research, Massey University, New Zealand, www.coer.org.nz, and Dr. Stefania Senese, Officer, Governance and Public Administration, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, USA.

     

    Many awards were studied from APO member countries and internationally (see the spreadsheet for examples). These included awards for all aspects of business excellence including awards recognizing excellent performance in Leadership, Strategy, Human Resources, Processes, Customer Focus, Information Analysis, Innovation, Service Excellence, E-technology, and Partnerships and/or awards for specific sectors such as the health or education sector.

    Some of the issues investigated were:

    • What are the similarities and differences between the various awards for the public sector?
    • Which awards have been the most successful?
    • Why are some awards successful – what are the key ingredients for success?
    • Why are some awards not successful – what are the barriers or challenges that may hinder the impact of an award?

    Some of the benefits of awards were identified as:

    • Awards raise awareness of the importance of a subject
    • The award criteria can help to guide users on what is good practice
    • The award criteria can be used by organisations for self-assessment purposes
    • Awards motivate organisations to implement improvement initiatives
    • Winners of awards become role models
    • Award winner best practices can be shared
    • Communities of practice of award winners can be created

    Some of the concerns of awards were identified as:

    • Awards may become the destination and once achieved the organisation may revert back to their previous state
    • Organisations may focus too much attention on the award rather than on their business.
    • Awards can be expensive to administer
    • Awards if not administered effectively with an independent and fair judging process run the risk of losing their credibility.
    • Are awards the best approach to encourage organisational improvement or are there better approaches?

    The workshop enabled member countries to have a better understanding of the role of awards and how they can provide an integrated approach to assisting organisations on the journey to business excellence. For example, awards for each category of business excellence, as indicated in the Figure below, can provide the building blocks and support for an overall national award for business excellence.

     

    For more information on business excellence and awards, contact Dr Robin Mann, r.s.mann@massey.ac.nz or view over 500 award types and over 15,000 award winners and learn from their best practices by joining bpir.com.


  4. A best practice of strategic planning and deployment you can apply in 2015

    December 21, 2014 by ahmed

     

    From left Robby Thommy and Loganathan Murthy from Al Jazeera International Catering LLC with competition judges Dr James Harrington, Professor Tony Bendell and Marc Amblard, Click here for more photos

     

    In this post we will share with you some lessons from Al Jazeera International Catering (JIC) LLC, winners of the 3rd International Best Practice Competition, 2014.

    The best practice title is “SPEARS Methodology for Employee Empowerment and Inculcating Excellence”.

    So what is SPEARS?

    The SPEARS methodology is a managerial process that encourages  “excellence” to be  practiced throughout the organisation. It was designed to ensure that all staff  are empowered with proper resources and knowledge for effective decision-making.

    SPEARS consists of the following:

    • S – Setting Objectives: for all functional areas and further disseminated through individual objectives for all employees.
    • P – Provide resources: required by the staff (knowledge & tools) to perform to achieve their objectives and goals.
    • E – Empower staff: to think on their feet and raise any concerns within the organization through the Corrective Action Request mechanism.
    • A – Appraise performance: of individuals on a monthly basis through the Individual Objective monitoring system to ensure transparency in performance management.
    • R – Review & Recognize: performances of individuals as per the company policy.
    • S – Share Knowledge: and create various knowledge sharing platforms to motivate creativity in the process.

     

    An overview of Al Jazeera International Catering’s best practice

    Results:

    SPEARS has enabled JIC to achieve improvements in financial and non-financial results such as:

    • Increased employee satisfaction to 97% in 2013 from 93% in 2010.
    • Retention rate as high as 97.8%.
    • Overall staff participation levels increased to 95 % in comparison to 40% in 2010.
    • Timely customer complaint resolutions has ensured customer satisfaction levels are maintained at 96% (Overall increase by 10% when compared to 2010).
    • Some of the financial benefits of implementing SPEARS were cost reduction in operation by 10% in 2013 compared to 2010 operational cost.

    Lessons learnt:

    Some general lessons can be learnt from JIC winning the International Best Practice Competition, such as:

    1. Best practices often do not involve a technology investment: finding and applying a best practice doesn’t necessary require a big budget or investing in new high-end equipment. It could be a change in culture or management.
    2. Think out the box: the best practices you are looking for could be in a sector you have not thought about at all. Therefore, think out of the box and search for practices outside your sector. The best practice is “probably” not used by your competitors.
    3. Any organisation can apply best practices: best practices are not limited to large or well-known organisations. Whether your organisation is in manufacturing or services, young or old, or small or large it can learn from best practices and develop a winning best practice to fit its own specific circumstances.

    Full access to the best practice videos, ppts and case study of the International Best Practice Competition for 2012, 2013 and 2014 are provided to members of the BPIR.com.


  5. Winners of the 3rd International Best Practice Competition

    November 28, 2014 by ahmed

    The 3rd International Best Practice Competition was held at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 24th/25th November. The Best Practice Competition encourages organizations to share their best operational and managerial practices, processes, systems, and initiatives and learn from the experience of others. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of individuals and teams that have been responsible for creating and/or managing the introduction and deployment of best practices. The Best Practice Competition has been designed by the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER), the developers of the Business Performance Improvement Resource, and is aligned to the Global Benchmarking Award (administered by the Global Benchmarking Network–knowledge experts in benchmarking and best practices).

    Award winner: JIC team with James Harrington, Professor Tony Bendell and Marc Amblard, CEO of EFQM

    Runner up: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)Runner up: Hospital Plató (Spain)
      
    Runner up: Dubai Police (UAE)Runner up: Yes Bank (India)

    Winner:

    • SPEARS Methodology for Employee Empowerment and Inculcating Excellence, Robby Thommy, Managing Director and Loganathan Murthy, HSET Head, Al Jazeera International Catering LLC, UAE

    Runners up:

    • MPA Future Ready Project, Manin Kaur, Assistant Director, Organisational Excellence Department, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore
    • Health Education Courses in the Street: A Service to the Citizen, Marta Barahona Orpinell, Client Management Coordinator and Cristina Martínez Mourin, Quality Coordinator, Hospital Plató, Spain
    • Virtual Application, Dr. Ahmed Bin Subaih, Deputy Director, Smart Services and Dr Mansoor Nasser Alrazooqi, Director, Virtual Applications Development Centre, Dubai Police H.Q., UAE
    • Customer Engagement through Social Media, Vivek Venugopalan Nair, Vice President, YES Bank Ltd., India