The ClientThe Canada Revenue Agency interacts with millions of Canadians. It has a substantial workforce, spread from coast to coast. The agency collects taxes, administers tax law and delivers benefit programs for the federal government and many provincial and territorial governments as well. How do you harness the creative energy of more than 40,000 workers dispersed across the country? The innovation process designed and taught by DFFRNT did just that.
The ChallengeA few years ago, CRA launched an innovation incubation program. For the second year of the program, they enlisted DFFRNT to scale up the effort and help move employee-generated ideas from idea to prototype. CRA wanted to tap into the potential of employee-generated ideas and guide them from the idea stage to the concept and pitch stages, and maybe to prototype. The innovation program solicited ideas from all departments, from engineering to customer service. All ideas were welcome. They asked DFFRNT to build a curriculum to teach employees with ideas how to develop a good, viable concept. Given the cyclical, process-heavy and risk-averse nature of government, the public sector often does not have people skilled in the kind of thinking and perspective needed to nurture innovation. While CRA has knowledgeable project managers and designers, the organization found there was a lack of experience with managing “big I innovation.” That’s where DFFRNT’s experience comes in.
Very few people have actually studied and practiced innovation in any systematic and sustainable way. We have. To a lot of people, innovation is: Let’s get in a room, do a little bit of brainstorming and come up with some cool ideas. But when it comes to prototyping these solutions, making sure they align with organizational goals, scaling them and putting them into production, that’s where a lot of teams fall short. They don’t have an innovation process.
The SolutionDFFRNT embarked on a three-pronged strategy to help CRA scale up their innovation incubation program.
- DFFRNT performed an environmental scan of public sector innovation programs and reported on the strengths, weaknesses and best practices they found.
- DFFRNT developed an Innovation Bootcamp curriculum and instructed the participants.
- DFFRNT trained CRA employees who would administer this innovation accelerator program going forward. These employees were taught to present, moderate and teach the content DFFRNT had created for the courses aimed at idea-generating employees.
- An introduction to design thinking
- Principles of innovation
- Human-centred design
- Value propositions, and
- How to develop a concept and make a pitch
We talked about mapping stakenolders and systems mapping, ideation, co-creation, understanding problems, prototyping and measuring.