Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Innovation

Why Teamwork is Necessary for Innovation in the Public Sector

Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, IT Modernization, Project Management, Public Sector, Sacramento, Team Building, Technology

By Todd Wallace, PMP

Thomas Edison did not invent the lightbulb. Henry Ford did not invent the assembly line. Elon Musk did not invent electric cars. While these men all had a hand in growing the success of these products, none of them was the actual inventor, and none of them did it all on their own.

Much like any accomplishment in the public or private industry, it is easier to associate a major innovation with a single person—this is called the Great Man Fallacy.

However, it is a larger group with input from many sources that moves a concept forward—if two minds are better than one, then a team of minds is best.

Thomas Edison had a team of inventors working at his “invention factory” in New Jersey. Edison was the boss, but the team members helped with the various inventions that came out of their shop. It’s said that Edison tested 6,000 materials before he found the right combination for his version of the lightbulb and it is highly unlikely that he tested all 6,000 materials himself while his team stood by and watched.

Elon Musk is the face of electric cars with Tesla. His name is associated with the revolution of alternative fueled vehicles. However, before Elon Musk was even involved, Tesla was utilizing game-changing lithium ion batteries instead of the bulkier lead acid batteries used by other electric vehicles of the time. Before even this, other car manufacturers had already tried their hand at electric cars—in fact, in 1884, Thomas Parker produced the first electric car in London. Elon Musk may be the face of the modern movement and people may associate him with the invention of the electric car, but in reality, it was a long line of tweaks and updates by many teams consisting of many great minds—before Musk even entered the game.

These examples may be from the private sector, but the same concept applies to the public sector. While the head of a state agency might be the only person named in the news headline, a successful project implementation is due to the hard work of a large team.

The primary difference between innovation in the private sector and innovation in the public sector is the importance of teamwork.

In the private sector, it is possible for one person to invent something in their garage and bring it to market entirely on their own. In the public sector, nothing is done entirely by one individual. Gathering requirements for a project must reach across departments or other agencies to ensure the application will work in the larger ecosystem. Development is a constantly evolving team effort and closely tied to testing, which goes back to the multi-departmental team for review and approval. Implementation needs to be coordinated with everyone to ensure no reverberating effect on other teams and departments. Throughout all of this, there are competing priorities by various key stakeholders that need to be negotiated in order to keep the project moving forward.

In the private sector, negotiations can involve many different variables and creativity in terms of what can be offered. In the public sector, you cannot offer nearly as much in negotiations, so a relationship and understanding of how groups work with each other is key. Having an established relationship is the strongest negotiation piece in the public sector. Teamwork allows for smoother negotiations and effective advancement the project.

Teamwork is what makes a project a success. The ability to work together and build relationships allows a project to move forward. It would be a lot easier for a “Great Man” to implement a project and not have to worry about anybody else—but the results of the “Great Team” will always create something better.

About the Author: Todd Wallace is a Senior Project Manager with KAI Partners, Inc. He started his professional career as a student assistant in the special projects department of a state agency and worked as a state employee for over 7 years before transitioning to private sector and consulting to state agencies. He has a BS from CSU, Sacramento in Small Business Operations and an MBA from UC, Davis in Entrepreneurship and Strategy. In his free time, Todd loves tinkering on cars and motorcycles and has a passion for innovation.

Sacramento’s Commitment to Community through Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development

Community Service, Coworking, Entrepreneurship, Event Recap, Hiring, Human Resources, Information Technology, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Learning, Non-profit, Public Sector, Sacramento, Startup Company, Technology, The WorkShop, Training, Workforce Development

By Lucie-Anne Radimsky, CSPO

It’s an exciting time to be in Sacramento—especially if you’re looking at it from the perspective of our sports franchises. From the King’s most successful season in over 10 years to a potential Major League Soccer bid and subsequent arena built in the Railyards—the sky is the limit and our local economy benefits from this success.

Beyond making headlines in the sports pages, nothing screams vibrant economy like a strong workforce and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

KAI Partners takes our community engagement role seriously. Our leadership not only makes community engagement possible—they make it a priority. Community engagement is fundamental to our values, and it is what helps us continue to thrive as an organization.

KAI Partners recently had the opportunity to participate in two events focused on community engagement through workforce development and entrepreneurship.

The first event, sponsored by Valley Vision, was the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Advisory Committee meeting. This event brought together educators and employers to continue to push forward important work around developing the ICT Workforce and relevant pathways.

A strong turnout by educators allowed for interesting discussions around curriculum and its relevance to various industries’ skill demands. In the future, I hope more employers attend events like these. Employers are one of the most important stakeholders in this ongoing conversation and after the ICT meeting, one thing was clear:

More exchange is needed between educators and employers.

An exercise we performed within our breakout group highlighted this disconnect between employers and academics. We were given two job descriptions and were asked to give feedback on the skills—both technical and soft skills—needed to perform these jobs. We found that the technical requirements that employers associated with specific degrees did not match the actual skills acquired through that academic program and were outdated. This highlighted another reason why all stakeholders must work in tandem to ensure perception matches reality.

Next up on KAI Partners’ agenda was Pitch Week, sponsored by Sacramento State’s Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The day-long event included two afternoon sessions of startup pitches sponsored by StartupSac and Future Four & More (an annual regional Business Concept Competition for northern California community college and California State University students, hosted by one of the participating schools in the region).

According to Katherine Cota, the Executive Director at the Carlsen Center, “The purpose of this event is to develop business startups, boost economic development, encourage entrepreneurial thinking, connect students to angel investors and venture capitalists, and provide them with a wider, regional network of students, mentors, and professionals.”

From a plant-based prepared meal service exclusively for kids, to a blockchain solution to reduce efficiencies for real estate land registries, it was gratifying to see entrepreneurs of every age and creed participate.

The future looks bright and KAI Partners looks forward to continuing to support the innovation ecosystem.

We will continue to partner with academia, non-profits and public servants alike to ensure our region becomes stronger, more innovative, and more resilient. KAI Partners is always looking to meet new people, support organizations, and help cultivate solutions—especially solutions around public sector innovation.

We’d love to get to know you better—drop us a line in the comments below, or stop by our coworking and collaboration space, The WorkShop Sacramento.

About the Author: Lucie-Anne has over 15 years’ experience in communications and business development in the U.S. and Europe, on behalf of start-ups and non-profits. She has represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, press, and industry analysts throughout the world. Lucie-Anne has both American and E.U. citizenship. She is fluent in English and French. Lucie-Anne is an active community volunteer and has served on numerous non-profit boards and led alumni groups in Paris, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. She currently resides in Sacramento with her Brazilian husband and two boys.

KAI Partners News You Can Use

Agile, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Co-working, Government, Healthcare, Hiring, Human Resources, Information Technology, Innovation, ITIL, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Learning, Managed IT Services, PMP Certification Bootcamp, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Public Sector, Sacramento, Scrum, Technology, The WorkShop, Training, Workforce Development

There’s always a lot going on at KAI Partners—from training opportunities to networking events to new job listings, we always have something afoot! Today we wanted to share with you some KAI Partners news you can use!

Professional Development

Our training division, KAIP Academy, has some great courses coming up, including:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification exam prep (4-day course)
  • Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) Certification via Scrum Alliance (2-day course)
  • Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) Certification via Scrum Alliance (2-day course)
  • ITIL Foundation 4.0 certification exam prep (2-day course)
  • PMI-ACP certification exam prep (3-day course)
For more information, including course schedule and registration, click here.

Collaboration Destination

Our coworking space in East Sacramento—The WorkShop Sacramento—recently turned one year old!

To celebrate, we are offering a free day of coworking any weekday through April 15, 2019.

If you’re reading this after April 15th, not to worry—our daily drop-in rate is only $20, which is probably what you spend on parking and beverages at the coffeeshop where you normally work! Since we have free parking and coffee, the decision is easy! Come join us at 3301 C St., Bldg. 1000.

We are Hiring!

KAI Partners is hiring for a Managed Services Systems Engineer. The Managed Services Systems Engineer will support the completion of critical infrastructure management tasks, provide Tier 1 support to clients, configure new computers for deployment, and more.

For more information or to apply (and to view all our current job openings), click here.

Events for Everyone

In addition to being a place to rest your laptop, The WorkShop is also an event space! Here are some upcoming events taking place at The WorkShop:

Innovation Corner

We are all about innovation in the public sector, so we wanted to highlight some great innovation happening in that space.

Innovation doesn’t have to be technology forward. Yuba and Sutter Counties recently innovated their mental healthcare services by implementing a new partnership and best practices.

Check out this quick video discussing the Counties’ new venture.

KAI Partners’ Agile Services [INFOGRAPHIC]

ADKAR, Agile, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Continuous Improvement, Corporate Training, Digital Transformation, Infographic, Innovation, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Learning, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Prosci, Public Sector, Sacramento, Scrum, Technology, Training, Waterfall

Did you know KAI Partners provides comprehensive Agile services? Check out this infographic to see what Agile is, why your organization should think about going Agile, and how KAI Partners can help.

StateScoop’s California Innovation Summit Event Recap

Agile, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Corporate Training, Digital Transformation, Event Recap, Government, Information Technology, Innovation, IT Modernization, KAI Partners, Lean Six Sigma, Learning, Professional Development, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Public Sector, Sacramento, Technology, Training, Workforce Development

Photo Credit: StateScoop

By Lucie-Anne Radimsky, CSPO

The ballroom at the Kimpton Sawyer hotel was lit in neon pinks and purples; stylish tulip chairs graced the stage and large screens sprouted up from each side of the stage. This was not your typical public sector event—you could feel a sense of energy and possibility usually reserved for private sector sales events.

The event was StateScoop’s California Innovation Summit, which brought together agency CIOs, technology vendors, consultants, and public sector employees who filled the room to capacity (exemplified by the crowd of latecomers who lined the back of the room two rows deep).

We can safely assume that this event benefited greatly from the new Governor’s recent pronouncements and Executive Order, which clearly sent a signal as to his priorities for a more innovative and dynamic public sector.

Speakers included a formidable group of CIOs—some who are innovating locally, such as Ann Dunkin of the City of Santa Clara, and some who come from agencies where innovation and technology are critical to provide lifesaving services, such as Carla Simmons from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

I’ve attempted to summarize the highlights and calls to action that I took away from the event, including:

  • The public sector needs to focus on solutions that are citizen-first.
  • Trending technologies in the government sector include players like Smart Communities, AI, Digital ID, Blockchain, NIST/IO, and Gartner’s Digital Government Framework.
  • Hybrid IT is the new normal.
  • Collaboration is paramount, i.e., sharing information and resources like templates and best practices.
  • Exploring the potential of Sacramento as a Public Sector IT Hub.
  • Technology procurement demands improvement to keep up with technology advancements and collective bargaining opportunities.
  • Workforce gaps are real due to the speed of technology innovation.
  • A cultural shift is needed to support innovation.

From KAI Partners’ perspective, this is an incredible opportunity to address the multitude of challenges facing the public sector and help ensure a seamless, secure, and efficient delivery system where citizens are considered from the onset in developing strategic plans and programs.

KAI Partners has the privilege of working with complex systems and diverse projects across the public sector, where we can apply best practices and technology solutions through our network of partners and subject matter experts.

We also work hard to address the technical skill gaps in the region through our KAIP Academy. Our training courses include Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, and Agile/Scrum—these courses empower everyone from beginners to those more advanced in their careers to build their professional skills and respond to the needs of the market.

Amy Tong, CIO of the State of California, closed the event by reiterating the importance of a culture of innovation and encouraged attendees to be bold in developing new and creative ways to address problems, even if there is a risk of making mistakes or failures.

It’s clear the new normal that is beginning to envelop the public sector is a step in the right direction. KAI Partners is excited to continue to do our part to encourage and support public sector leaders to ring in this innovative chapter of government.

About the Author: Lucie-Anne has over 15 years’ experience in communications and business development in the U.S. and Europe, on behalf of start-ups and non-profits. She has signed and represented clients within the technology, energy, and telecommunications sectors to government agencies, journalists, and industry analysts throughout the world. Lucie-Anne has both American and E.U. citizenship. She is fluent in English and French. Lucie-Anne is an active community volunteer and has served on numerous non-profit boards and led alumni groups in Paris, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. She currently resides in Sacramento with her Brazilian husband and two boys.