Innovation Team Members

From left to right: Walter Blackman, Leidy Garcia, Travis Crane, Alicia Thomas, Isaac Roldan, Liz Faw, Donald Irwin, Rachel Smith, and Sam Hobgood.

Planning and Development Innovation Team

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What is Innovation? The Innovation Team Team’s Approach Find Out What the Team is Doing

What is Innovation?

Innovation is an interesting concept that can be defined in a variety of ways. At its basic level, innovation defines the human struggle between comfort and challenge. The Innovation Team sees the incredible opportunity to work together to stretch outside our believed boundaries, and follow the human desire to explore, learn, and grow. Our work is to look at inputs and outcomes with a fresh lens and purpose.

The Innovation Team

Times of change, shifting customer demands and new technologies make innovation to our existing process necessary. For these reasons, Planning & Development has committed a diverse group of staff members to evaluate our development review process. The team is actively working to identify the factors within the review process that most significantly challenge residential and commercial development. Once they identify pinch points, staff will implement a series of changes that allow the development plan review process to be more predictable, more efficient, and timely while maintaining the rigor of review by:

  1. Simplifying, combining, or eliminating unnecessary steps.
  2. Increasing coordination between divisions and other City departments.
  3. Redefining review benchmarks (due dates).
  4. Creating clear communication for staff and customers.
  5. Standardizing laws and codes when necessary.

Once improvements are complete, Planning & Development expects to see better outcomes for the organization and the development community for the following items:

  • Permitting services.
  • Inspection services.
  • Development review services.
  • Development services customer service.

Team’s Approach

The team focuses on innovating by using a three-step process:

1. Assessment 2. Testing 3. Implementation
The opportunity to learn about the user experience and define problems through empathy. The innovation team tackles assessment by carrying out journey mapping, peer city comparisons, and end-user surveys.

The essential step of creating solutions and trying them out. Example testing includes brainstorming with focus groups and performing small-scale pilots.

Begins when solutions have been tested and believed to provide the best possible outcome. Communication, training, and continued evaluation are key components to successful implementation.

Although this process looks like a straight line from start to finish, it is more of a circle in practice. Implementation often generates opportunity to redefine problems and therefore loops back into previous steps. The goal is to generate the best possible outcome by having a deep understanding of problems that end-users experience.

Find Out What the Team is Doing

The Innovation Team is in the early stages of making process improvements. During the team’s first month, changes were made to the Express Review and Pony Express review. With the help of surveys and focus group feedback, the team anticipates more changes in the future.

The Planning and Development Innovation Team wants to give a big thank you to everyone who took part in our Development Review surveys and focus groups. A total of 69 employees and 321 customers filled out our surveys, and we value the insights you shared. Throughout October, we held 14 focus group sessions to hear from both customers and staff. In each session, we showed participants 8 potential solution ideas and asked for their thoughts and preferences. We successfully got feedback from 40 customers and 52 employees. A forthcoming report will summarize findings and recommendations, underscoring our commitment to transparency. We appreciate your collaboration in shaping our innovative initiatives.



Elizabeth Faw
Administrative Supervisor
Planning and Development

Planning and Development
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