City employees engage in a learning session offered by Denver Peak Academy (Photo by Christopher Stark)

The famous author and science/policy communicator Vaclav Smil said, “collaboration and augmentation are the foundational principles of innovation.” One cannot make improvements to the world around themselves without collaborative augmentation. We need each other to share, create, and bring to fruition things and ideas of value (innovation).

Jason & Jason, two city Finance employees; collaborating to increase the efficiency of their internal service to the City & County of Denver (Photo by Denver Peak Academy)

1. Collaboration

What to know – The American science author of “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation” – Steven Johnson said, “luck favors the connected mind.” To collaborate is to willingly connect to others and foster an environment of luck in regards to innovation & new ideas.

What to do – create and sustain a “psychologically-safe” space for yourself and your cohorts to “gel.” (Charles Duhigg) Consistently connect with your team and their ideas to generate and deliver the best insights.


City employees collaborate in a learning session offered by Denver Peak Academy to augment a broken system through collaboration & Lean tools (Photo Denver Peak Academy)

2. Augmentation

What to know – W. Edwards Deming, an American engineer, and father of Performance Management, said, “learning is not compulsory; it’s voluntary. Improvement is not compulsory; it’s voluntary. [However], to survive, we must learn.” Improvement is optional, a choice to augment the systems & organizations of our world for the better, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Growth requires people, ideas, & time: the “Diffusion of Innovation” (Rogers).

What to do – Volunteer to improve or augment something for the better. Set “Wildy Important Goals [WIGs]” that are realistic (Sean Covey – “4DX”). Establish a “cadence of accountability” against those WIGs to ensure you & your cohorts are continuously moving towards your improvement-goals. Create and support a professional environment where it’s okay to fail against your WIGs. Consistently create a space to hear and take what you & your cohorts have learned from your failures to augment your systems & organizations for the better.

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