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Suggested Citation:"2.0 Research Process." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Research on Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Innovation for Departments of Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25308.
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Suggested Citation:"2.0 Research Process." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Research on Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Innovation for Departments of Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25308.
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3 2.0 – RESEARCH PROCESS The following key components of the research effort were undertaken from the spring of 2016 to the fall of 2017. The research team initially identified Leadership, Empowerment and Collaboration as the key principles of creating and sustaining a culture of innovation. Based on results of the literature review and outreach to the transportation community through an online survey, those initial three principles were refined to form the five building blocks, which make up the guidance: Leadership, Empowerment, Communication, Recognition, and Measurement. ► Literature Review: The research team reviewed more than 50 publications to identify key themes of an innovation culture and the challenges to establishing it. The results of the literature review were used to formulate the questions for a survey distributed to transportation officials. The full literature review is available in Section 3 and citations are provided in Appendix A. ► Case Study Survey Results: More than 300 people responded to the electronic survey from July 28 to August 26, 2016. The research team distributed the case study survey to more than 800 potential recipients, including DOT chief executive officers through the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). It was also sent to the following AASHTO Committees: SCOH, RAC, SCOA, SCOE, SCOFA, SCOP, SCOPM, SCOPT, SCORT, and SCOWT. Additionally, it was distributed to the TRB ABC30: Performance Management Committee, TRB ABC 20: Management and Productivity Committee, TRB ABC 10: Strategic Management Committee, State Transportation Innovation Councils, the Pacific Northwest Economic Region’s (PNWER) Innovation Working Group and the Transportation Lean Forum. The research team sent panel members a draft of a transmittal email for them to distribute the survey to anyone of their choosing. The overwhelming majority of respondents (96%) who answered the demographic questions indicated they are employed by transportation agencies. Respondents ranged in age from 28 to 62, were geographically diverse, and represented a variety of disciplines and levels of authority in their respective agencies. In addition to identifying some of the challenges DOTs face as they encourage more innovation, the survey helped identify potential case study organizations. The survey results summarized in Section 4 and complete results are presented in Appendix B. ► 20-108 Innovation Lab: In a unique approach for NCHRP, the research team launched the Innovation Lab website and mobile application (app) to allow users to review and provide input on the research as it unfolded. Through the lab, users could comment on the draft building blocks and case studies articles and offer their own examples of innovation. Notably, a case study about the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) was submitted and is presented in Section 5. The Innovation Lab has received 1,339 unique visitors and 3,747 page views since its launch at the TRB Annual Meeting in January 2017. It can be viewed at www.transportationlab.org. Lessons learned from creating a crowdsourcing platform for TRB research are presented Section 6. ► Culture of Innovation Definition: As part of project, the team researched and sought to define “a culture of innovation.” Culture is difficult to define as demonstrated by the literature review results and panel input which provided many different options for how it could be defined. The research team also sought input on the topic in the case study survey – and received 226 different responses for how innovation culture could be defined. At its core, the culture of innovation is about how innovative efforts are achieved in an agency. The most common themes include the following: “A culture of innovation is found in organizations where employees at all levels in an organization work routinely and organically together to propose and implement new approaches for achieving desired organizational outcomes [regardless of magnitude]. Workplaces that

4 foster a culture of innovation believe innovation is not only for top leadership, but can come from anyone in the organization.” For more information on defining a culture of innovation, see Section 7. ► Guide Validation Plan: To assess the effectiveness of the draft guide, focus group webinars were conducted with California, Massachusetts and Nebraska DOTs. Participants, which included DOT executives, innovation team leaders and influential team members, reviewed the guide in advance of the focus group and then were asked a series of questions to evaluate the guide’s effectiveness during the webinar. To gather more input on the draft guide, an online survey was distributed to 300 members of the project’s community of interest. The survey was available from June 8, 2017 to August 3, 2017. Recipients had the opportunity to respond to a survey about the entire guide or to offer feedback on certain sections of the guide. The research team received 20 responses to the surveys. For more information about the focus group findings and an overview of the survey results, see Section 8. Detailed responses to the survey are presented in Appendix C. ► Implementing the Research: To maximize the value of the guide, the information team has developed a series of recommendations for implementing the research. For more about these recommendations, see Section 9. ► Future Research Opportunities: Based on input from case studies, surveys and focus groups, the research team has identified future research topics for consideration. For more about future research opportunities, see Section 10. The graphic in Figure 1 depicts the NCHRP 20-108 research process which combined a traditional approach of literature review, case studies and guide validation supported by more innovative approaches like an electronic survey and an open research space delivered via Innovation Lab, a website and mobile app. Figure 1: The NCHRP 20-108 research process.

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TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Web-Only Document 248: Research on Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Innovation for Departments of Transportation documents the research process and provides key guidance to implement the research produced in

NCHRP Research Report 885

: Guide to Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Innovation for Departments of Transportation. This guide provides insight on encouraging and sustaining a culture of innovation within the organization, its partners, and other stakeholders. A culture of innovation supports agency managers and staff efforts to encourage and accept innovation as a means to enhance the agency’s success. This guide is designed to assist agencies in assessing their culture with respect to innovation, identifying ways to make the organization more adaptable and open to beneficial change, and sustaining the organization’s adaptability to respond effectively to evolving technology, workforce, and public priorities.

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