Help me in congratulating the participants of Black Belt Cohort 79, Thunder Pyramid!

Since joining the Peak Academy two years ago, I’ve had the honor and privilege of helping train over 600 Peak Academy Black Belts. I’m continually blown away by our amazing employees across the City and County of Denver who are dedicated day in and day out to making the city a better place to live, work, and play. The 20 individuals from Cohort 79 did not disappoint.

For those who aren’t familiar, the Friday of Black Belt training is filled with a series of five minute Ignite Presentations in which each participant highlights three innovation opportunity ideas. Over the course of the morning, we witnessed 60 amazing ideas that identified nearly $1 million worth of potential savings.

Innovation can take a fair amount of time and energy to see our ideas actualized, with the average innovation in the City and County of Denver taking 86 days to fully actualize. We’re one month removed from the completion of Cohort 79’s Black Belt class, and three individuals from the cohort have already actualized and submit their first innovation!

  • Abby Rainer – Abby implemented a standardized schedule for public safety testing assessments which reduced candidates wait times during assessments to 10 minutes when previous wait times could take up to three hours for candidates. This improvement not only saves a candidate’s time, but will also likely reduce candidate’s frustration and anxiousness during testing. Way to go, Abby!
  • Angus Strayhorn – Angus created a standardized template for capturing information within his team at Denver Human Services. Angus piloted the template with his team and ran a time study to track the results. The template has helped reduce each entry from an average of 10 minutes to around 4 ½ minutes, improving the efficiency of his team. Angus has since been asked to implement his template with other teams in his agency. Nice work, Angus!
  • Doug Genzer – Doug worked to improve an issue that had been bothering him, and his GIS customers, for years. He worked with colleagues to address the root cause of an issue with the GIS software install package. Because the software would fail after install, it was causing four days of downtime for GIS users in the city. Not only is the install package now fixed, Doug also created standard work for how to quickly resolve the issue if the install ever fails again in the future. Great job, Doug!

Congrats again, Thunder Pyramid Cohort Black Belts! We cannot wait to see all the great ways you continue to make our communities better.

Innovate. Elevate. Repeat!

Agencies represented in Cohort 79 include:

  • Civil Service Commission
  • Community Planning and Development
  • Denver Human Services
  • Denver International Airport
  • Denver Public Library
  • Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Department of Safety
  • Office of Economic Development
  • Public Works
  • Sheriff’s Department
  • Technology Services
  • City of Arvada
  • City of McKinney, TX
  • Colorado State – Denver Extension
  • Harvard Government Improvement Lab


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