Lessons Learned About Innovation Communications from the City of Calgary

calgary-featureIf you’ve been following IdeaScale’s Innovation Management Awards, you know that this year saw some really thrilling innovation come from some unexpected places. In fact, government is sometimes seen as one of the least innovative industries, but some of our best stories this year came from the government. In this case, the City of Calgary was a leader in generating engagement with their innovation program. But how did they do it? In short, they used multiple channels to communicate with their audience, they empowered their moderators to keep the conversation going, and ideas were constantly being trafficked.

But first a little about their program: myCityInnovation is an internal program which is part of the broader City of Calgary innovation program ‘Civic Innovation YYC.’ myCityInnovation initially invited the City’s 12,000 “wired” employees to share, collaborate, and test new ideas for improving City services.

Well, when myCityInnovation launched in May of 2016, Calgary didn’t just send out an email blast and call it good. They launched a full internal multi-channel marketing strategy. This included nine different channels which included in-person events, meetings, blog posts, newsletters, social media, print media, video, website advertising, on top of the tried and true email.

But that was just to invite people to participate. After members started participating, Calgary continued the conversation by helping their moderators respond to ideas. This meant that advisors and leaders were encouraged to participate, add comments, and provide feedback. In this way, all ideators knew that their ideas were valued.

Finally, ideas were intentionally moved on a “semi-regular” basis from Ideate to Assessment with the goal of establishing a predictable rhythm for the community. This is perhaps the most important engagement tactic you can use: responsiveness. If participants see that real ideas can gain traction (even if they’re not their own) they will develop faith in the program and employee satisfaction increases.

To learn more about the City of Calgary and their myCityInnovation program, download their case study. 

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