In the book Peak Performance by Brian Elms (Innovation Practice lead at Change and Innovation Agency) with J.B. Wogan (Journalist at Governing Magazine), we investigate the new science of success and the idea of continuously improving workflows and systems through the views of the people that do the work. Through the lens and lead of Denver employees, we learn and leverage ‘Lean’ techniques, to continuously improve everyday work processes, like issuing a Residential Parking Permit.
Through the lens of local government and simple data points, we find the history and approach of Denver’s “Peak Performance” program. Exposing what continuous improvement is; a constant and conscious effort to collaborate and improve, from the inside out of an organization. Elms and Wogan help us to believe in people again, despite living in a world flooded with disconnection and antitrust. Peak Performace is refreshing in that it offers us an alternative and a real-world proven-solution to the status-quo: “Innovate. Elevate. Repeat.”
Furthermore, “as of April 2016,” roughly nine years after ‘Peaks’ initiation, we see just what the “Peak thing” is and can be for any organization, regarding a Return On Investment (ROI); over 700 Denver employees trained in Lean Methodologies. 4,300 Denver employees were actively innovating through pieces of training and Improvement events.
Moreover, 2,000 plus innovations documented by Denver employees. 15+ million dollars was saved by Peak trainees in four years. According to Elms, there was roughly (and probably still is) a “$1.2+ million annual budget for the Peak Academy.” Approximately nine people were working for Peak at the time.
Lastly, to quickly cultivate the big concepts from Peak Performance, try focusing on the following ideas from each chapter of Peak Performance:
Idea #1: Peak believes in putting value back into the “Trust Bank” of employees and
Ideas #2: Make your message stick.
Idea #3: No risk, no reward.
Idea #4: Focus on results – Think data.
Idea #5: The ‘Peak’ mindset and skills are tools, not weapons.
Idea #6: Always celebrate honest attempts to innovate.
Idea #7: Failure helps us learn and grow.
Idea #8: Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate.
Idea #9: Run small experiments, Randomized Control Trials (RCTs), and pilots of future solutions/innovations often.
Idea #10: Blame the system, not the people.
Idea #11: Focus on one to three prominent goals per year.
Idea #12: Build bridges across organizations, not mountains.
Idea #13: Know your widgets and what your customers value.
Idea #14: Finance is the best place for a program like ‘Peak.’
Idea #15: ‘Peak’ believes in the power of belief, not buy-in.
Idea #16: Some rules were made to be broken.
Idea #17: Go forth and ‘Peak’: Innovate. Elevate. Repeat.