U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

In April 2010, HUD decided to create an Innovation Lab to accelerate the formulation of transformational ideas into solutions, which are then implemented more efficiently than other approaches. Working closely with HUD’s program areas, the Innovation Lab provides the framework, strategies, tools, techniques, and supplemental resources for exploring compelling new ideas. The Innovation Lab Director, staff, cross-departmental teams, and external partnerships are formulated to develop and launch new ideas using a formal application process to select the ideas with the most potential. The Innovation Lab works in tandem with “Ideas in Action,” a public-facing online portal operated by HUD that enables its stakeholders to share and vote on the best new ideas based on specific topics of engagement.

Why This Matters To You

Bureaucracy-busting and positively transforming organizational culture are difficult especially when budgetary resources are scarce. HUD’s Innovation Lab provides a safe place where new ideas can grow, be tested, and begin providing essential value to the community. The up front costs to explore new ideas is minimized and shared across multiple programs and Federal agencies before larger investments are made based upon a more well-rounded business case.

HUD becomes a better place to work as a result of employees receiving due credit and recognition for suggesting and implementing positive change. More broadly, the Innovation Lab fulfills the tenets of Open Government by supporting participation, collaboration, and transparency within HUD and across the Federal government. All of us benefit when the government uses ingenuity to solve problems and reaches beyond its own walls for expertise. Creating systematic processes for purposeful collaboration and moving towards a culture of innovation shifts the fabric of government. As a result, taxpayers receive better services and their confidence in government increases.

How We Helped

Phase One provides Open Government and Innovation support at HUD under the direct purview of the Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Phase One works with the Director of the Office of Innovation and Open Government to plan, coordinate, and manage the implementation of department-wide initiatives that pertain to the generation and implementation of innovative ideas from both internal and external sources.

Phase One worked with HUD to create its well-received 2010 Open Government Plan, which featured the Innovation Lab as a flagship initiative and is working with HUD to execute this vision. In this
role, Phase One assisted HUD in developing its comprehensive framework to accelerate innovative concepts including supporting procedures, governance, and related communications content such as HUD’s Open Government site. Phase One also helped develop a plan to refocus HUD’s existing idea tool, Ideas in Action, to identify compelling engagement topics and ensure forums are well publicized to relevant audiences. New forums began in January 2011 and have significantly increased the number of ideas for consideration by the Innovation Lab or have resulted in the immediate implementation by a HUD Program Area.