Business Center

Spotlight on Innovation: Clair Anderson

By Michael Avery, Process Improvement Intern

April 4, 2018

Clair Anderson

Clair Anderson

Clair Anderson is an intern with CDOT's Human Resources (HR) Department. As a previous intern with the Office of Process Improvement (OPI), Anderson understands the importance of process improvement and its impacts across CDOT.

While at CDOT, Anderson and a team of interns created multiple standards of work templates and process documents including an e-communications document for the Transportation Lean Forum and an intern offboarding protocol which will improve processes and save time.

What is the most creative idea or project you have generated in your current role?

Anderson submitted numerous ideas to the Lean Everyday Ideas database but the most rewarding idea she brought to the team was the creation of a skills matrix for the OPI interns. With her current role in HR, the idea of a skills matrix has peaked the interest of the HR Director Susan Rafferty as a supportive document that would help identify skill gaps for new interns.

How was your idea received?

The idea was carefully thought through and, after writing a work plan, Anderson and the team presented it to Gary Vansuch, director of OPI. Anderson sold the business case, and Vansuch sponsored the initiative, though there were refinements made along the way, knowing the process would go through several iterations before implementation. She says, “it is in OPI's interest to develop and implement a skills matrix (and end-user process)."

Describe a time when you had to think ‘outside the box’ and how did you go about it?   

Recalling to her previous experiences with process improvement initiatives, Anderson said it was best to know one’s subject thoroughly to establish a baseline and make small changes to get the results envisioned. Anderson cites her high capacity for creativity and curious nature as the keys to innovation. Perhaps her inquisitive nature and the fact that she enjoys scripted processes allows for the improvements to come to fruition.

Would you consider yourself a risk taker?

"Yes, within limits," when referring to process improvement initiatives that are under her control. Critical thinking to streamline a process may not seem risky but many would overlook the process deficiencies for the more stable processes. Risk-taking does not come naturally to everybody.

The biggest reason that people are reluctant to take risks is the fear of failure. CDOT is encouraging risk-taking through their Lean Everyday Ideas program where employee ideas are encouraged and welcomed, idea submission is simple, and people are recognized for their contributions to make CDOT the best DOT in the country.