September 29, 2016 3:30 PM, EDT

Idaho DOT Named Finalist for State’s Most Innovative Company

Dave Griffiths/Flickr

The Idaho Transportation Department is an Idaho Innovative Company of the Year finalist. The government agency was surprisingly named as one of three finalists by the Idaho Technology Council. The winner will be announced on Oct. 25 in Boise.

“I think ITD stood out in the mind of the judges because what we are doing — innovating at the roots of the organization — are things that many in private industry are striving to achieve,” said Charlene McArthur, the department’s chief administrative officer. “As a state agency, we are supposedly handcuffed by regulations, policies and compensation caps, yet we are still able to inspire and engage with a workforce determined to deliver the maximum value to our stakeholders and customers.”

With an annual funding shortfall in the hundreds of millions, the department began in 2014 its “Innovate ITD” strategy to engage its 1,500 employees to find solutions to everyday problems.

Since then, 405 ideas for improvement have been implemented statewide saving $2 million as well as more than 66,000 man-hours of contractor and employee time.

“Innovation is the most constructive way to change and get better. We do not reject ideas. Rather, we empower employees to look for innovation in all we do from basic, yet effective, process improvements to the most creative ideas,” ITD Director Brian Ness said.