What exactly are we looking for in a TLG Innovation Showcase, you say?
The Alliance for Innovation defines Innovation as a changed process, approach, product or service that is new to you or your organization and produces better results that are valued. Innovation is most powerful when it is adopted by others.
Innovation, at its core, is about making things better in ways that are useful and valuable to people. It is about changing our services, our processes, our tools or our products to add value that matters to the people that use them. It is about discovering challenges or opportunities, designing possible enhancements, evaluating and selecting the best ones, and then using our ideas, our skills, our talents, our data, and our relationships to serve ever better.
We want to hear about your innovations – whether they are big, small, incremental or disruptive, it is about something new. It demands that we take risks and leave behind some big or small part of what WAS, in favor of what MIGHT BE.
Applications are being accepted through September 7.
The selection committee is looking for your stories of success’ (and failure) on programs, projects, services, and initiatives demonstrating creative and innovative practices relative to the below Six Qualities of Innovation: (The Six Qualities of Innovation were developed by the Alliance for Innovation and Arizona State University, resulting from hundreds of case study reviews of local governments):
- Inclusive Leadership: Leaders in innovative organizations are visionary, inclusive, proactive, and organization centered, rather than leader centered. Although all six qualities of innovation are important, perhaps the most critical is leadership as it sustains the effort, rightly manages risk, and propels the morale of the group at all levels in order to achieve greater and greater success.
- Relentless Creativity: In organizations where creativity is encouraged, more staff members develop an appetite for trying new ways of undertaking everyday activities. These organizations are always looking for new internal leaders, new ideas, new solutions, and ultimately better practices. Creative organizations learn to manage risk and plan to mitigate consequences; they expect some failures and learn from their mistakes. Creative organizations also multitask by looking at a series of issues and problems simultaneously. They take a holistic approach and find that problems are connected by common internal processes or related external factors
- Extensive Internal Collaboration: Significant improvement in local government’s ability to generate solutions is realized through internal collaboration and problem solving across departments. Collaborative communities, according to Paul Adler, Charles Heckscher, and Laurence Prusak in an article in the July- August 2011 issue of Harvard Business Review, are organizations “that encourage people to continually apply their unique talents to group projects and to become motivated by a collective mission, not just personal gain or the intrinsic pleasures of autonomous creativity.”
- Robust External Partnerships: While external partnerships in local government are nothing new, innovative partnerships that look beyond one another’s boundaries—beyond the quid pro quo—are quite different. Successful external partnerships look at a variety of commonalities:
- Do they further one another’s goals?
- How do they expand beyond the simple economic-benefit criteria?
- Can they develop common missions, visions, and values for the project?
- Do they focus on common interests rather than focus on differences?
- Do they address ground rules, evaluation, and how to manage conflict?
Organizations that use these more unusual criteria are frequently able to craft partnerships with one or more external partners that benefit each other and the community as a whole. Such organizations are also able to tackle much more complex problems than a single entity would be able to address
- Authentic Community Connections: Today many residents feel cut off from their community and perhaps rightly perceive that the local government would prefer to have its own experts solve local problems. The innovative organizations we have studied have shown community- wide and organization wide successes when citizens are authentically welcomed into the deliberations on community priorities or neighborhood improvements. The fundamental questions to test your organization against are: “If I come, will you listen?” “If I speak, will you consider what I said?” and “How and when will I see action?”
- Reality Focused, Results Driven: Leaders know how to connect their attributes with results. We found in studies of local governments that effective leaders focus on outcomes; they care much less about whose fault it is when things go wrong. Leaders who focus on results concentrate on innovations that will make a difference, that are sustainable, and that are constantly being reviewed, changed, and updated.