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It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Accela family! As a member of Accela’s Product Management team, which is responsible for product vision and planning, I need to understand what is important to government agencies. The team looks for ways to ensure our customers’ goals are met across all of our solution offerings. Pulling from different areas in and outside the company helps us accomplish this, which is why I attended IDEO’s Ten Faces of Innovation seminar led by coauthor Jonathan Littman.

The seminar brought people from Pandora, UCSF, Walmart, Cisco and, of course, Accela – a great group with varying expertise and backgrounds. I was excited to attend the seminar because it focused on using strategies to spark innovation within organizations, and it did not disappoint. The day consisted of lectures and several exciting group activities that pushed us to produce under pressure.

One recurring theme was how important it is to identify unmet customer needs. I shared with the participants that this is a valuable approach at Accela, where we are encouraged to wear our “user experience hats”.

Another powerful yet simple takeaway was that sometimes we shoot too high, and that some of the best innovations are no-brainers. Littman’s recommendation is to brainstorm and put into action innovations that can be tackled and completed in 90 days, which builds confidence and momentum.

Last but not least, we had the pleasure of taking “visual” tours of some of the most successful companies’ workspaces and learning how their workspace setup promotes innovation. From physically writing on a wall, to lounge spaces and colorful art, offices look different than they once did. Last year, Accela made the switch to a modern, collaborative workspace with the help of Knoll Design to help us collaborate more effectively and be more innovative. I can tell you from personal experience that this environment effectively helps break down silos of information and encourages people to share ideas and reach out to others for assistance – something that ultimately extends to what we’re all here to do: create innovative and powerful solutions for government agencies.

I am looking forward to putting some of the concepts I learned about during the seminar into practice. By continuously improving the ways we work together, we are able to extend innovation into our products and services to offer an even better customer experience.

I’ve barely scratched the surface, so if you’re interested in learning about other creative ways to bring innovation to your agency, I encourage you to check out The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate & Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization.


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