Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) occupies a campus in Sacramento that we have expressly built to maximize collaboration and reduce costs. CWDS worked with the California Department of General Services Real Estate Leasing and Planning Section to design a workspace that would be conducive to the needs of agile development teams at equal or lower cost than traditional office build-outs.
When we started organizing CWDS, we decided that one of the really important barriers we had to overcome is that staff don’t collaborate in the public sector the way they do in the private sector. So we had to look at the environment: our office. People need to have the mobility to move around and participate in conversations, participate in working design sessions, and be able to carve out time for themselves to do their own personal work.
One of the things I really want our organization to do is to own its own destiny. We put together a design team and we asked them to come up with ideas. They chose “innovation” and “fun” as themes. For our big collaborative work spaces, they selected the names of famous innovators such as Nicola Tesla and others who we thought had done something amazing. They also recognized that we need to have fun in the workplace. So it is this mixture of serious innovation and serious fun.
I see that conversation is occurring as a part of the natural dynamics every day. That makes me think we are on the right path to collaboration and increased productivity as a mainstay of our workspace.
About the Author: Peter Kelly is Chief Deputy Director for the Office of Systems Integration.