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Suggested Citation:"4.0 Case Study Survey Summary." 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:"4.0 Case Study Survey Summary." 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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Page 7
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"4.0 Case Study Survey Summary." 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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Page 8

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6 4.0 – CASE STUDY SURVEY SUMMARY More than 300 respondents responded to the electronic survey from July 28 to August 26. The overwhelming majority of respondents (96%) who answered the demographic questions indicated that 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 Thanks in large part to the efforts of the NCHRP 20-108 panel, this survey was distributed to more than 800 potential recipients, including DOT CEOs through the 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, State Transportation Innovation Councils, the PNWER Innovation Working Group and the Transportation Lean Forum. In addition, survey recipients, NCHRP 20-108’s panel members and the research team were encouraged to forward the survey to anyone they felt might be interested, including individuals outside of the transportation industry, which is why approximately three percent of respondents came from different fields. Below is a summary of key themes that emerged from the respondents’ answers and how these themes connect to the literature review and guidance modules that were initially proposed. Quotes from the surveys are also provided in blue to illustrate the relative strength of these themes. The full results of the survey are presented in Appendix B. ► Employees need more time to devote to innovative pursuits. Not surprisingly, 48 percent of survey respondents indicated that being too busy managing day-to-day activities precluded them from being able to make significant innovative changes. Lack of funding to pursue the talent or equipment needed came in second at 18 percent. LITERATURE REVIEW CONNECTION: Multiple articles allude to a lack of time, including the Lowe and Dominiquini reference in their 2006 article for the Strategy & Leadership Journal, in which they surveyed 550 companies. The authors addressed six major obstacles, including: short-term focus; lack of time, resources or staff; leadership expecting payoff sooner than is realistic; management incentives not structured to reward innovation; lack of a systematic innovation process; belief that innovation is inherently risky. “A culture of innovation encourages new ideas, allows room and time to try new ways of doing things, does not punish failed attempts but looks at them as experiments and learning experiences, listens to multiple perspectives, and tests ideas to determine their merit, even if they challenge the conventional wisdom.” “Promotion of innovation by upper management and freedom (and TIME) for employees to explore new methods, ideas, etc. This seems to be easier implemented in the private sector than it does in the public sector, as State government in particular seems to have much more restrictions, red tape, etc. Plus at [our agency], we are so busy with the whirlwind of day to day required procedures, job duties, etc. that it seems we have little time to devote to exploring new methods or innovative ideas.” of doing things, does not punish failed attempts but looks at them as experiments and learning experiences, listens to multiple perspectives, and tests ideas to determine their merit, even if they challenge the conventional wisdom.”

7 MODULE CONNECTION: EMPOWERMENT | Google 20% ► Employees need to feel that failure will be tolerated and that leadership will be supportive of them trying new approaches: Many respondents expressed that not all innovative ideas and approaches will ultimately pan out. Employees need to feel they will be supported regardless of the outcome if employers want them to continue to suggest and pursue new approaches. In the case study survey, 226 responses were provided with thoughts on how to define a culture of innovation. Seventeen of those comments specifically mentioned the need for management to accept failure or provide support for employees who fear repercussions for failure. Similarly, thirteen comments referenced the importance of being able to take or manage reasonable risks. LITERATURE REVIEW CONNECTION: Multiple articles discuss the importance of allowing organizations to fail. For example, Smart Growth America’s The Innovative DOT notes that innovative DOTs understand that risk and failure are necessary components of innovation. According to the report, this concept is illustrated by Minnesota DOT’s (MnDOT’s) value to “Be Bold,” which includes the statement: “I take risks and accept failure. I will use my failures to identify ways to get better.” MODULE CONNECTION: LEADERSHIP | Managing Risk ► Organizations can influence innovation by rewarding employees and implementing an agency-wide initiative to highlight its importance. In the survey, the two most highly rated activities for influencing the establishment of an innovative culture were creating an agency-wide initiative to educate people about why innovation is important (2.53 weighted average out of 4) and rewarding employees/departments that produce innovative results (2.49 weighted average out of 4). In response to the question about what activities would be most influential in helping organizations become more innovative, survey participants listed creating an agency- wide initiative that would educate employees on why innovation is important and generate buy-in among employees. Additionally, there were several survey comments which described in greater detail that being able to monetarily reward or even just recognize employees who made significant innovative contributions would be very beneficial for creating a positive change in their organizations. “A culture of innovation is one where innovation is encouraged, recognized and rewarded while measured risk is tolerated and failure related to innovation is seen as a key to moving forward.” “An organization that is focused on continuous improvement where everyone is open to new ideas, provides critical resources, and understands that failure is part of the process.” “An environment where employees feel free to bring ideas to the table and not afraid to try them out. The organization realizes that employees may fail but encourages the efforts.” “Creativity is valued and rewarded. People are satisfied with simply doing their jobs efficiently but strive to improve the manner in which work is done. Don’t take current objective and standard operational procedures as a given but rather challenge them.” “A public sector organization whose leadership encourages and "rewards" ideas, suggestions and pilot projects that deliver public services in a more contemporary fashion, and whose leaders are not afraid to invest in new ideas that may not work.”

8 INNOVATION THE LAY OF THE DOT LANDSCAPE ► More than 60 percent of respondents indicated that they did not have any metrics in place to track innovation. This trend is notable because agencies need metrics or performance measures if they are going to be able to reward employees. Additionally, it would be very difficult to implement an agency-wide initiative that did not feature some way to track how the agency is progressing in order to continue to cultivate employee buy-in. The research team will seek ideas and input from the case studies about how they or others track innovation. ► Highway construction, traffic operations, research and highway maintenance received the highest marks (2.30 or above weighted average out of 4) for being innovative among respondents. It is worth noting that these areas have seen many advances in technology in recent years, which may have influenced responses. Additionally, this may be an area for the research team to investigate further as it seeks input through the Transportation Innovation Lab. SURVEY RESPONDENTS VERY ENGAGED There is strong interest in the topic of innovation, as noted by the more than 300 respondents to the survey and the fact that over 77 percent of respondents expressed an interest in being part of a pilot program for this project. Through the survey, the research team was able to gather the contact information for more than 180 transportation officials that have interest in this project, which will serve as the audience for seeking input on the guidance materials.

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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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