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Western Economic Diversification Canada staff accept the mission to innovate

Western Economic Diversification Canada’s (WD) Employee Innovation FundNow in its second year, Western Economic Diversification Canada’s (WD) Employee Innovation Fund (EIF) is empowering staff to be more innovative in how we serve Canadians and how we work. Once again driven by a team of volunteers from across the department, this year’s EIF posed three challenges:

WD staff responded to these challenges with ideas that were bold and creative. The proposals selected for funding included  providing applicants the opportunity to pitch their proposal using video, “gamifying” the submission of financial reports, creating opportunities for staff to work more closely with counterparts in other regional development agencies, and holding cultural awareness events.

Building a workplace culture that encourages innovation and experimentation is a journey. The EIF team was given an open mandate, the latitude to take risks and make decisions. This included the choice to include and set challenges, develop selection criteria and select proposals for funding.

Reflecting on what worked in the first round of the EIF and exploring what could be done better was an important part of the team’s work. For example, in the first round, the submission criteria was intentionally broad to encourage more applications, which resulted in primarily internally focused ideas. To encourage more external-facing ideas, the team opted to pose ‘challenges’ in the second round for a more focused approach. The results were outstanding, as many of the submissions were not only external-facing, but also larger in scale and improve the way WD does its work. This progression suggests the EIF has effectively empowered staff to think about doing things differently, experimenting and taking intelligent risks that will benefit clients and WD’s workplace.

WD Employee Innovation Fund Round II Projects:

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