innovation lab


The goal of this project is to produce a guide for transportation leaders who want to create or sustain a culture of innovation. This is not the guide.  The research team is in the process of developing the guide – and we need your help.  Think of yourself as a taste tester while a chef prepares a meal.  We need you to sample the ingredients, let us know what’s working and what’s not, and what to add.  You can do this by submitting content, commenting on posts or simply liking posts to let us know what content is helpful or relevant to you.  Please send your thoughts and examples on innovation culture today!  

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We would like to hear and learn from you. What else should the research team consider?

Tell us about innovation programs that have or have not worked at your agency.

Send us an example of an innovation program or practice you have implemented at your agency.



The five components of a culture of innovation according to initial research.


With words and actions, agency leaders must make a visible and continuous commitment to a culture of innovation. This means swimming against a conservative, hierarchy-driven, and standard operating procedure-focused culture where innovation is slow to take root.


In innovative organizations like Google and Amazon - new ideas are not the domain of the CEO, but rather they steadily emerge from deep in the organization, where all employees are invested and authorized to act on ideas for getting their jobs done better, rather than passively following rules set from above.


Constant communication keeps employees informed and motivated to innovate. This means communicating stories about innovation continuously across all channels with a steady drumbeat of new content and regular reinforcement.



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Employees who innovate often say the limelight is not a motivator, however, most agencies find that small efforts to recognize successes reap big rewards in terms of enthusiasm for innovation and in building greater awareness across their organizations.


Once you have the basics mastered –tracking performance is key in innovation culture. It shows what works and what doesn’t. Measures don’t need to be prescriptive. Look for simple ways to gauge progress and refine them over time.