A little over two and a half years ago, in 2012, Denver Human Services (DHS) had a problem. Amidst all of the applications for benefits that they were receiving, it was taking them up to five days just to put important documents into their system so a case worker could begin reviewing a case and determine if an individual may be eligible for benefits. To better meet the needs of their customers, the scanning team decided that they would take a hard look at their process, and see if there wasn’t something they could do differently.

Over the course of 6 months, process maps were created, rapid experiments were conducted, and the birth of a new way of doing something was well underway. At the end of their efforts, the scanning team had created what they called “flow cells” (pods where groups of workers would process applications as a single unit, moving work down the line as soon as each piece of work was completed). These flow cells took a process that originally included 29 steps, two mail rooms, and three floors, and turned it into a process that includes three steps, zero mail rooms, and one floor – reducing a five day process down to a single day (and in some cases, a single hour).

We at the Peak Academy are so proud of DHS and the new Content Management Flow Cell team for their courage and humility that made this innovation possible. Today, people in need are able to receive benefits more quickly when they need them most, without waiting precious days to find out what their options may be. This is exactly what continuous improvement is all about.

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