Fostering innovation: a shared learning experience

Building a culture of innovation where staff ideas, empowerment, and leadership drive change and improvement
Published on 25 Mar 2014

Darren Levine is Manager of Innovation and Research for the Social Services Department, The Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario, Canada. This role involves supporting the development, implementation, and evaluation of staff-driven innovation and research across the department's divisions - Children's Services, Family Services, Income and Employment Support, Housing Services, Long Term Care and Services for Seniors, and Business Affairs and Financial Management.

Darren delivered a session in partnership with Iriss on Fostering Innovation at the Social Services Expo, 2014. The focus of this presentation is all about building a culture of innovation where staff ideas, empowerment, and leadership drive change and improvement.

Participants feedback from the session

"Thank you for a really interesting and inspiring session. In order for innovation to be supported cultural change is a must. We know that top down approaches disempower those in frontline positions. Greater use of frontline staff opinions and ideas is needed in order for these important voices to be heard."

"Leadership should be reflected throughout our organisation and not seen as a position power by those at the top."

"Build confidence in staff, opportunity to contribute and say 'thank you' more often. Face to face is best and more personal. Make it real - feedback is so important."

"Innovation requires a healthy infrastructure - but this doesn't guarantee positive outcomes. We need effective leadership."

"How do we support organisations through funding and contracts to prioritise development and innovation? I think we need to see change as a continuous process, rather than an acute event."

"What role might leadership through influence play? Senior colleagues model 'good behaviour' in valuing innovation and encouraging people to try, and fail in a safe way."

"I think the knowledge sharing around innovations that are simple right through to ground breaking and awesome is important. Thanks for the session."