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Suggested Citation:"6.0 Innovation Lab Lessons Learned." 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 14
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"6.0 Innovation Lab Lessons Learned." 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 15

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14 6.0 – INNOVATION LAB LESSONS LEARNED In January 2017, the research team launched the Innovation Lab website, www.transportationlab.org, and mobile application to allow transportation officials to contribute to the research as it unfolded. Through the survey effort, more than 100 transportation officials registered receive email updates on the research progress. This group formed the project’s community of interest. The research team sent an email on January 17, 2017 encouraging the community members to view the website. In addition, a letter was sent to all CEOs of DOTs from Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness on the research team’s behalf encouraging them to refer their staffs to the site. The research team continued to contact the group throughout the project to make them aware of new content added and to encourage them to submit their own examples of innovative efforts. A case study about Florida DOT experiences and example an innovation challenge from the Nebraska DOT were submitted through the website. Crowdsourcing research and allowing users to see the research as it is developed represented a new approach for an NCHRP-sponsored project. The following points summarize the lessons learned from using this new approach. ► Strong interest in website, though research team needed to be clearer about how users could contribute to it. With more than 3,700 hits, there was significant interest in the website. However, requests for comments on posts or submitting innovation examples may not have been clear enough as evidenced by the ongoing struggle to gather contributions to the site. Given that this is a new approach for TRB, there may be a bit of learning curve for the transportation community to become comfortable commenting on research publicly. In hindsight, the research team could have clearer in emails to the community of interest that submitting examples was encouraged and how to do so. The NCHRP 20-108 panel also noted that it is important not to “burn out” users by sending too many emails and suggested exploring other outreach tools to generate more contributions to the research. ► Need to appeal to younger audience to increase interest in apps. There were only 32 downloads of the Innovation Lab app. However, apps tend to appeal most to younger audiences. The research team did not target younger transportation officials. If apps are developed in the future, the research team may need to reach out to younger audiences to make the effort worthwhile. The screenshot in Figure 2 shows how users could contribute to the research by making suggestions, posting comments or submitting their own examples on the Innovation Lab website: www.transportationlab.org

15 Figure 2: 20-108 Innovation Lab

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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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