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Agile is possible, even in government

Even if you’re not a federal, state or government employee, you’ll appreciate this story:

Imagine you went shopping, put nine things into your cart, and then, when you went to check out…you had to pay for them one at a time, in nine different lines.

It’s not hypothetical. Our colleague Michon Hicks at the DC Department of Employment Services has been using Strategic Doing at that agency for several years now, and has used it to tackle some challenges that had stymied the organization for some time. One of them: DC residents who needed to access multiple DOES programs (eg, job training, child care, veteran’s assistance) had to go through a separate intake process for each one.

Within just a few 30/30s, Michon’s team had a pilot launched to align just two of the intake processes.

Ever since, we’ve wanted to do a customized Strategic Doing program just for government. While the SD principles still work – as Michon’s experience shows – they have some unique challenges, and we wanted to develop an offering that recognized those.

So, we’re doing two workshops this summer in DC to introduce Strategic Doing to federal and District employees – with Michon presenting with Liz Nilsen from the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab. Like our other trainings, this one will have lots of group involvement, and participants will leave with concrete steps they can take immediately. We’re calling these two-hour sessions How to Get “Unstuck”: 10 Things You Can Do to Make Collaborations Work.

The sessions are June 21 and July 12. If you’re at a public agency, join us. If you’re not, forward this post to a colleague. Even at a time when it seems that our governmental structures are in gridlock, there are still thousands of employees doing good work to serve citizens, and who are desperate for new tools.

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Liz Nilsen