D5 Innovation Steward: Greydon Wright            

A few years ago, ITD leadership noticed that great ideas generated out in the field weren't getting submitted into the innovation funnel. The main culprit was not an unwillingness, but rather just not knowing how. So to remove that barrier, innovation stewards were added in each district to facilitate the submission of ideas. We have noticed, though, that these innovation stewards are not extremely well-known in the districts. To address this, profiles of these stewards will be published in these pages in the coming weeks. Below is the first of these profiles, on D5 Innovation Steward Greydon Wright:

What intrigued you about this role?
GW: When I became the Acting Materials Engineer, I inherited the role from Jesse Barrus by choice. Jesse explained the stewards to me, and I thought it would be a great opportunity. The following is an excerpt from my write up related to this position: "I would also propose to temporarily take over the role that Jesse Barrus has been in for the past year, the innovation steward for District Five. I see this as a great opportunity for me to have a broader influence on the District as a whole. I believe that when someone has an idea that they truly believe in, we should promote it. By doing this people see that others care about them and that they do matter."

After I was able to move from acting to permanent, I wanted to keep the role of the innovation steward. I was able to do so, and I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy my time.

How long have you been the D5 innovation steward?
GW: 1 year

What have you found to be most rewarding about the position or the process?

GW: The process gives people a chance to try new things. Not many organizations, especially government, allows its employees this opportunity. The support that the employees receive from management has been fantastic as well.

The most rewarding thing that I have found is the chance to help people share their ideas/innovations and help when I can to move them forward. When you hear that excitement in someone's voice, it is a fantastic feeling/conversation for me. And when they learn that you are here to help and that you support their idea, it is just amazing to see their excitement levels rise. I just wish that I had more time to promote the program. People are trying and doing things every day that I would love to share with others and help promote.

Are there common misperceptions you often hear that prove to hinder the process of submitting ideas? If so, what would you say they are and how would you answer those concerns?
GW: Many people believe that I need to approve their innovation/ideas before it can be submitted. While I really enjoy that people come and talk to me about their innovation/ideas, and it is great to hear what others are doing, they don't need my permission to submit ideas — they can go ahead. That's one of the great things about the program — it gives people a chance to try new things. However, if people need help, I will help. Some need help submitting, getting the idea down in words that are clear to others, and coming up with other documentation such as hours saved and cost.

Once an idea is submitted, there is a perception that someone else will carry it forward. The reality is that no one else will work on implementing your ideas/innovations. They are yours to carry forward. Managers, supervisors, or stewards will support you and do what they can to help, but you need to take charge. It is great to get it submitted, because countless people go online every week and read the innovations/ideas. Some may even call you and ask you more information and how they can help.

Published 04-21-17