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This article was published 27/6/2018 (578 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg city hall is inviting its employees to come forward with innovative ideas to save money or improve service delivery.
The move is a follow-up to the three-year-old capital innovation fund, which encouraged departments to come up with innovative ideas that wouldn’t normally be funded through the budget process.
Now, the city is appealing directly to all of its 10,500 employees.
"We want good ideas, leap innovations that we don’t have at all right now," said chief innovation officer Michael Legary.
Legary sent an email to all civic staff June 22, inviting them to submit their ideas. The best will be reviewed and considered for funding through the capital innovation fund.
"We know that city employees have hundreds of good ideas each day on how city services can be improved or delivered more efficiently," Legary told civic staff in his email. "This is your opportunity to have your idea considered fairly and seriously."
The capital innovation fund was established in 2015 to spur departments for some out-of-the-box thinking. At the suggestion of then-finance chairman Coun. Marty Morantz, $1 million was set aside for programs that weren’t being funded through the normal budget process.
However, Legary said, too often civic departments used the fund to finance projects that had been rejected by the budget process but didn’t meet the definition of being innovative.
"Sometimes, when a department did not get what it wanted in budget, an operational idea they had (that they considered) core to what we do, they would actually apply for the same funding they missed out on in the budget process and to the fund, and that’s not really the intent of the fund," Legary said. "The fund itself, we wanted to make sure that we’re getting those leap innovations on things we’re not doing."
The dollar amount for the capital innovation fund was cut in half for 2018, Legary said, so more money could be provided in the budget for department priorities, leaving $500,000 in the fund for purely innovative approaches.
City employees have until July 20 to make submissions, which will be reviewed by Legary, chief corporate services officer Michael Jack, and chief transportation and utilities officer Dave Wardrop.
Those deemed the best will be developed into a formal administrative report format and submitted to the September meeting of council’s innovation committee.
Legary said he wants to expand the approach outside city hall next year, inviting residents to pitch their innovative ideas on how best to deliver civic services.
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.