As you may know, Lean methodology was born out of manufacturing (specifically Toyota) and improving the flow of products through machines. While Peak Academy is lean methodology-based and therefore cares about the flow in processes, our team has always believed that the humans behind the work are the lifeblood of any innovation. Shae Ortega is a stand-out example of an inspiring human who is elevating others through  innovation. Shae is an Eligibility Specialist with Denver Human Services (DHS) and supports the individuals that work directly with DHS’ external clients to secure government benefits.  

Shae recently completed the Peak Academy Black Belt training which culminates in an Ignite presentation. In this presentation, future Black Belts are asked to identify three innovations using the tools they have learned in the class. One of these tools is that the “why” behind an innovation is critical to its success. Shae’s presentation was inspiring because at the root of all of his innovations is a compelling “why” that ties right into DHS’ #BeHuman campaign and Human Together vision. Not only does he lead in with a story about people, but each of his innovations is rooted in valuing humans and improving their experiences:  

Image of Shae Ortega sitting outside

Innovation #1: Valuing clients by making sure their needs are met holistically without having to make return trips.  


Innovation #2: Valuing the clients’ time and changing the interaction with them from a checklist to a conversation.  


Innovation #3: Valuing internal staff and the contributions they bring to the table. 

Watch Shae’s full video here to see for yourself his powerful example of tying innovations into the bigger picture, leading with a compelling “why”, and most importantly, keeping humans central to innovation.  

We can’t wait to work with Shae as he implements these innovations!   

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