Yes, we made up a new word. COVInnovation = an innovation from City of Denver public servants implemented during the COVID pandemic. Thank you so much to each and every one of the dedicated City of Denver public servants who gave their time and energy during the pandemic. We are truly grateful for your service! If we missed an innovation that you’re proud of, please let us know and we will feature it in a future post.

Denver Elections Curbside Ballot Requests

In order to ensure each citizen’s ability to vote safely and securely, Denver Elections Division and the innovation lead, Shelby Miller, created a new procedure in which voters can request a replacement mail ballot ahead of time and schedule a pick-up at one of 19 Voting Service and Polling Center (VSPC) locations. In the November 2020 Election, a total of 1,920 requests were received, reducing in-person turnout by eight percent and providing Denver Residents an opportunity to vote safely in a socially distant manner.

DPL Curbside Pick-up Process Improvements

Due to temporary library branch closings, Denver Public Library had to revamp the way that they delivered services to customers at the height of the pandemic through implementing the curbside pickup process. The University Hills Branch, one of the most frequented branches in the city, completed a hybrid virtual/in-person Process Improvement workshop focused on reducing bottlenecks in the process and delivering a more seamless experience to the customers.

Virtual Court 

Within a very short time window, the IT team at Denver County Courts transitioned court staff to a work from home virtual environment, while establishing virtual courtrooms through MS Teams so court cases could continue to be heard virtually. The virtual courtrooms provided defendants with the option to join court directly through MS Teams, or to call into the courtroom.

Virtual EOC 

A team from Technology Services worked diligently to virtualize operations within the City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the way of digitizing forms, creating virtual status boards, setting up virtual communication and file sharing channels, establishing a governance process for forms, and training EOC team members. The team’s virtualization effort made for a smooth transition to a partial, and sometimes fully virtual EOC, without limiting it’s effectiveness; ensuring that members could physically distance.

We Are Open Denver 

Early on during COVID, Denver City Council in partnership with the Technology Service GIS (Geographic Information Systems) team, worked to create a public map where businesses could register to highlight that they’re still operating, their hours, services being offered, and other related information.

Pepsi Center COVID-19 Testing Project 

Denver Peak Academy helped Denver’s Department of Safety (DOS) design and implemented a system to provide COVID-19 testing for constituents that don’t have affordable & easy access to testing. With the help of the project’s leads, Murphy Robinson (DOS), Zachary McDade (DOS), Jon Fischer (Technology Services – TS) & Kevin Anthony (TS), the City & County of Denver (CCD) effectively established COVID-19 testing for thousands of constituents at the Pepsi Center & multiple locations around the CCD. 

COVID-19 Virtual Happy Hours

With Melissa Wiley’s help (Director of the Denver Peak Academy), Peak facilitated multiple virtual happy hours to help staff stay connected with each other. These virtual happy hours helped the teams align themselves to the COVID-19 Public Safety Mandates & inspire other Peak Partners to facilitate virtual events dedicated to elevating and sustaining positive team morale & culture during remote work/the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

Emergency Operations Center and PPE Supply Management

To acquire all the personal protective equipment (PPE) that the city required, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) had to streamline their procurement process to maximize resources across departments at a time when the supply chain was incredibly taxed. EOC staff and representatives across agencies came together to update ordering forms, develop a new process for managing and delivering inventory, and improve communications to agencies requesting supplies to ultimately ensure that employees and community members were protected.

After-Action Improvements for Emergency Operations Center

After everybody had some breathing room from the EOC’s 88 day activation period, it was clear that there were opportunities for improvements to set the EOC up for success for the next activation. A team developed a “run book” to map the plan to quickly set up all need technology for an activation, streamlined, and in some cases eliminated, duplicate forms, and made improvements across the board that will help the EOC more seamlessly navigate between in-person and digital work spaces.

UV Disinfecting Light Stand

Luis Martinez, an essential Utility Worker on the General Services team, purchased a UV disinfecting light to assist with essential cleaning needs. The light was missing a necessary stand, so Luis used some ingenuity, an existing speaker stand and some wood to create one, saving the city a minimum of $5,060.17. 

Denver Youth Commission

Mikhail Vafeades and Joey Pace are the city’s liaisons to the Denver Youth Commission, and when the pandemic hit, they decided to take the meetings virtual. Attendance increased from 78% of commissioners at each meeting to 92% of commissioners at each meeting, and has resulted in time savings for commissioners and staff alike as it relates to driving to and from meetings.

Healing Government Training

Peak created a new training, based on feedback from city employees, that addresses the feelings of personal disconnection from colleagues, widespread citizen distrust of government, and stalled innovation in a time of need. This training is still in it’s pilot phase, but Peak hopes to deliver this more widely in the future to help public servants and citizens heal and grow together in response to unprecedented challenges that COVID has presented.

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