Everyone knows the story; a few years back, after Eric Wolf, a Business Data Analyst with the Denver Department of Finance, took Denver Peak Academy’s Black Belt Training, he started innovating. And not just innovating, but changing the way the City and County of Denver, and its innovative employees, solve problems.

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Everyone knows the story of Eric Wolf, pictured above, going into one of the Webb Building’s conferences rooms to create a scheduling guide.

One of the first things he did was decided to collaborate with Denver’s Department of General Services, and Technology Services, to improve the Conference Room Scheduling Process in Denver’s Wellington Webb Building (Webb Building). And why not? Denver did it at Denver’s International Airport (DEN/DIA).

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According to Eric Wolf and others, “rooms were double booked due to lag in approval time or lack of cancellations.”

According to Eric Wolf and others, “rooms at the Webb Building were double booked due to lag in approval time or lack of cancelations. An actual person spent five to six hours per week getting requests, opening them, checking the schedule for that room, ensuring there were no conflicts, resolving conflicts, approving requests; manually processing cancelations, Etc. Employees could not see the availability of the room concerning other rooms, or concerning an invitees’ schedule.”

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If you spoke to anyone back in 2014 and most of 2015, one would also agree with Eric’s perspective, with a familiar anecdote alongside a funny expression.

And that was just the beginning if you spoke to anyone back in 2014 and most of 2015, Denver employees agreed with Eric’s perspective, with a familiar anecdote alongside a funny expression. The Conference Room Scheduling System was not the most popular kid in school, but it was not the most disliked. Over a period of roughly eight months (not exclusively), Eric Wolf, alongside his change agents, planned, executed, checked, and acted on their analyses of the Conference Room System, thus delivering time savings to the employees and customers of Denver’s Webb Building.

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A screenshot of a Denver employee scheduling a room in the Webb Building with the new process – Microsoft Outlook Calendar.

Eric, his ability to collaborate, and be persistent in spite of the weight of improving the Webb Building’s Conference Room System, helped the Webb Building Improvement Team decrease actual human time lost, and countless soft dollars wasted. Moreover, Eric and his cohort helped improve meeting room requests in the Webb Building by more than 90%. Furthermore, these innovations saved about 20k per year of an actual Denver employee’s time, which also helped efficiently reprioritize that employees workload.

Eric and his cohort, through research, trust, and a few Denver Peak Academy tools, like Standard of Work (SOW/instruction guides) and Gemba Walks, turned the Webb Building’s Room Scheduling Process around wholly; time spent scheduling a conference room in the Webb Building decreased by roughly 95%.

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Eric explains that “now over 90% of conference room sessions are booked without error [and] employee time spent scheduling a conference room in the Webb Building decreased by roughly 95%.”
Moreover, Eric, his cohort’ ideas, and experiments were a total of low efforts with high impacts (quick-wins), like leveraging evidence-based methods (SOW), existing technology and processes from Denver entities like DEN/DIA (and their use of Microsoft Outlook Calendar for scheduling Denver Conference Rooms).

In the end, Eric’s story teaches one that there is always room for improvement, and leveraging cohorts or evidence-based solutions can easily result in the elimination of “deadweight time loss.” But most importantly, true change comes from within and “being the change you want to see,” is the first step towards continuous improvement.

Innovate, elevate, and repeat.

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