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Inspiring Workplaces of the Future - CDOT's Lean Everyday Ideas Wins Nationwide Innovation Award

#InspiringWorkplaceAwards #InnovationWinner #Lean#CDOT #LeanEveryDayIdeas

By Kelly Hanson, Process Improvement & Change Management Intern

November 1, 2020

Inspiring Workplaces, a global organization committed to sharing innovative workplaces, announced the winners of their 2020 Inspiring Workplaces North America Awards on September 23, 2020. The Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) Lean Everyday Ideas (LEI) initiative won the “Innovation in the Workplace Award,” which is awarded to organizations that are “creating innovative new ways to drive inspiration.” CDOT was the only public sector nominee in this category, and one of two government agencies across all categories, to be award-winners! Way to go CDOT and congratulations!

CDOT’s LEI program was recognized for putting people at the heart of its business by encouraging everyone to make improvements to their workplaces and work processes. Inspiring Workplaces plans on sharing this innovative, award-winning idea to a global audience through articles and interviews on their website to inspire other organizations to follow suit.

With the goal of fostering a culture of improvement, a cross-functional CDOT team was formed in 2013. This team developed the LEI initiative to give employees the opportunity to fix what bugs them and to focus on continuous improvement. Over the past seven years, over 345 innovative and creative solutions have been shared across CDOT.

Example of a Lean Everyday Idea Idea Card

LEIs put employees at the center of improvement by motivating every employee to submit solutions to small problems, to reach out for help when needed, and to share ideas throughout the state. On CDOT's LEI website, one person (or a small group of people) can:

  • Submit innovations and improvements to problems with the "I fixed it!" button.
  • Suggest opportunities for improvement with the "I suggest!" button.

Innovations are posted on LEI’s website as Idea Cards that provide employees with quick information on the idea, such as the challenge, innovation, and benefit. To help narrow down the 345 ideas, you can search the Idea Card database by the description, categories (construction, maintenance, engineering, etc), and region.

CDOT believes that ideas can save time and energy by simplifying frustrating tasks, improving the safety of their staff and the traveling public, and saving resources while highlighting the skills of our workforce. CDOT believes in a culture where ideas are valued, tested, and shared organization-wide can improve every employee’s job, and hopefully, CDOT as an organization. CDOT’s LEI initiative embodies this and CDOT’s Excellence value of “continuously improving our products and services in support of our commitment to provide the best transportation systems for Colorado."

Lean Everyday Ideas is a collective, organization-wide effort, and everyone at CDOT is part of its success. Gary Vansuch, Director of Office of Process Improvement, adds that “LEI’s success is the result of many people over many years to engage everyone at CDOT in improving our processes, products, and services, to benefit all of our customers. Each and every one of you have been part of that success, and I thank you!"

We would like to give thanks to ALL Team CDOT'ers for contributing to LEI’s success! A special thank-you to our terrific LEI innovators, LEI Leaders, and LEI Committees at CDOT. Thank you to the team that developed the LEI initiative in May 2013: Team leaders Mark Eike (Craig Maintenance Section 6/Team Lead)), Brad Bauer (Pueblo Maintenance Section 4), Kirk Lane (Denver Maintenance Section 8), D’Wayne Gaymon (Grand Junction Maintenance Section 2), Mickey Madalino (Greeley Maintenance Section 1), Ken Martinez (Alamosa Maintenance Section 7), Guy Norris (Region 6 Traffic & Safety Section), Chris Brewer (Aurora Maintenance Section 5), and Roselle Drahushak-Crow (Staff Branches) and the Executive Sponsors from 7 years ago: Heidi Humphreys (Director, Division of Administrative Services), David Eller (CDOT Region 3 Transportation Director), Thomas Wrona (CDOT Region 2 Transportation Director), Tim Harris (CDOT Chief Engineer), and Don Hunt (CDOT Executive Director), and, thank you to the CDOT Office of Process Improvement for supporting LEI behind-the-scenes - and especially Gary Vansuch (Director, Office of Process Improvement), Michelle Malloy (Senior Program Manager, Strategy & Change Management Services), Geneva Hooten (Innovation and Improvement Lead), Cheryl Wright (Project Manager) and their team of interns!

View all of the Idea Cards from our Lean Everyday Ideas program