innovation lab



Over the past year, a research team and panel sponsored by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) examined the components necessary to build and sustain a culture of innovation in the context of departments of transportation. The initial result of that research is this draft guidance document: NCHRP 20-108 - Guide to Sustaining a Culture of Innovation in Departments of Transportation

The guidebook features a set of practical tactics that encourage department of transportation employees to remain inspired and empowered to innovate. Included in the document is a self-assessment to help you determine where your agency falls in the continuum of innovation efforts, a getting started guide to help jump start your efforts, and an examination of the five building blocks to build and sustain a culture of innovation. Your feedback is part of the validation effort of this research project.


This section will walk you through a series of questions that help you to think about the status of of current innovation efforts at your organization. The process helps you calculate an overall "score" indicating the relative maturity of your DOT's innovation culture and can assist in prioritizing areas for improvement.

Please take a moment to download, print, and complete the draft self assessment, and then provide feedback on the associated online survey. Your input will help refine the approach and validate the self-assessment tool.


This section explores what a culture of innovation means and explains how it applies to the work you do in the public sector.  In this section you will discover the groups most responsible for innovation and the fundamental concepts that will assist you to navigate the process of implementing and sustaining a culture of innovation in your organization.  

Please take a moment to review the Innovation 101 section and take the associated online survey. Your input will assist the research team as we refine the materials.

This section is organized around five principles of building and sustaining a culture of innovation - leadership, communication, recognition, empowerment, and measurement. It is based on the literature review and case studies conducted by the research team. This content is intended to give you practical advice and real-world examples of innovation in both the public and private sectors.

Please take a few moments to review the five building blocks and take the associated survey. Your input will help to validate the research and refine the building blocks in the final guidance document.

In the course of this project, a literature review was conducted, surveys were administered, and case studies were documented. Feedback from panel members and practitioners from across the country helped to shape this draft guidance. The related documentation for this project can be found in the appendices.