Nominated for and Winner of: 2019 Peak Academy Awards Best Individual Innovation

Agency: Denver Human Services

Individual: Angus Strayhorn

Why Change Was Needed: Denver Human Services Child Support Services (CSS) technicians were using multiple computer programs (web pages, ACSES, word documents, excel, PDF chronology template) to document a case in the child support system (ACSES). Due to the manual nature of inputting information into this system, reporting could be inconsistent in content and formatting, and speed of entry was greatly impacted.

Innovation: Angus Strayhorn identified an innovation opportunity during his Black Belt training and began implementing a solution soon after training ended. He quickly received support from his director and set about piloting a Standard Chronology Template with his team. The template created by Angus allowed technicians to easily document needed information in a standard way and allowed them to verify the information before inputting into the ACSES system of record.

Benefits: Angus piloted his tool with his immediate team and since the initial pilot, the tool has been adopted by 23% of staff in the division and has reduced the time for inputting each case Chronology by 4 minutes on average. This has equated to nearly $55,000 worth of time saved annually. Angus is now working with his agency trainers to incorporate the tool during training of new division staff.

Q&A with Angus Strayhorn

What about your innovation are you most proud of? I am proud of the fact I did not have to reinvent the wheel to come up with a creative innovation. I found inspiration in a slightly similar tool made in my prior division that with a little changing fit the scope of tool’s use and the work we do here in Child Support.

What is the biggest lesson you learned for future innovations? I learned how important it is to network with other coworkers and keep a good working relationship with them, as those individuals will likely be the ones you are introducing an innovation to and are ultimately seeking their approval. Depending on how you have presented yourself and maintained your working relationships with others can play a big part in getting them to accept a new idea or innovation.

What advice do you have for other innovators or people seeking to innovate? Reach out to your PEAK division or someone else who has implemented an innovation in order to gain helpful insight into applying your own ideas. Everyone involved in this process was very helpful and willing to share their knowledge on process improvement.

Angus’s Chronology Template was built in MS Excel and allows users to document required lines by case type directly into the tool. Users can then copy and paste the required lines directly into a case in their child support system.

Angus was unable to attend the Peak Academy Awards and accept his award for Best Individual Innovation. His award was accepted by Denver Human Services leadership on his behalf. Left to Right: Don Mares, Joseph Homlar, and Jennifer Yeaw.

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