How Law Enforcement Benefits from Cutting-Edge Innovation Management

Law enforcement has no choice but to adapt to changing technologies and the changes that technologies cause among the populations they serve.

Two police officers in uniform.
Innovation may not change what police officers do, but it can improve how they do it.

Making law enforcement simpler, better, and safer in a world that is changing more rapidly than ever is a gargantuan challenge. Many law enforcement agencies are turning to new technologies like body cameras and license plate readers, and as they choose and adopt technologies, they must also allot the necessary time so officers can learn how to use them.

In short, innovation is necessary, as is managing innovation. Innovation management software can be the key to successful innovation, as was brilliantly demonstrated by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) in 2018.

QPS: Sharing Knowledge in New Ways

Police in the Australian state of Queensland serve over 700,000 square miles. Fifteen thousand staff members work at over 300 individual police stations. Officers must be prepared to engage with the public in a variety of ways, and non-enforcement staff must be ready to take care of all back-office processes so that officers can do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

In 2018, the QPS launched an initiative called Ideas Connecting Our People (iCOP). The purpose was to offer a collaborative space outside the chain of command for staff members to submit ideas and share knowledge.

Managing Innovation Among 15,000 Staff Members

Undaunted by the large scale of the project, the QPS took every opportunity to invite participation across multiple communication channels including email newsletters, in-person events, ordinary meetings, social media, website messaging, screensavers, and even postcards. Successful idea contributions were rewarded with small incentives like pens and coffee cups.

As a result of strong encouragement to participate, staff members from every rank, region, and command submitted ideas – more than 600 in total. More than 40% of the workforce participated in iCOP, and as the program has progressed, this number continues to grow. Innovation management software from IdeaScale was the key to managing the execution of the initiative and the great ideas it produced.

Person presenting to a team.
Innovation management can ensure complete follow-through on winning innovation ideas.

A Response to Every Idea

One particularly important aspect of iCOP was a commitment from the beginning that team moderators would respond to every idea submitted. They were instructed to ask questions, stimulate discussion, provide advice, and connect key decision-makers. Furthermore, team moderators were instructed that when they rejected an idea, they were to explain why they did so.

This “if not, why not” approach was designed to manage expectations while still making clear that every idea was worthy of exploration. When ideas addressing especially challenging topics were received, the administrators would then target specific groups and individuals with particular interest in the topic to ensure all relevant staff members could participate in the conversation.

Results Speak Loudly

One new initiative showcased existing QPS priorities for the community at large, inviting feedback for two weeks. Afterward, some of the tasks of frontline officers were re-prioritized to accommodate that feedback. Perhaps most importantly, however, staff satisfaction “innovation enabler” measures increased measurably over the course of 12 months.

Overall, the program helped increase staff engagement, which is a strong predictor of good work culture and lower staff turnover. You can download a summary of the QPS iCOP initiative here.

Innovation management software is the tool that businesses, governmental organizations, and nonprofits need to make the best use of the innovative ideas that their people and surrounding communities offer.

By facilitating sharing, collaboration, prioritization, development, and deployment of ideas, IdeaScale innovation management software ensures that great ideas don’t fall by the wayside. It has been used by a range of organizations, from software companies to media to governmental departments, enabling them to encourage, evaluate, prioritize, and implement innovation. IdeaScale invites you to learn more by downloading our Crowdsourcing to Innovate Products white paper.

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