When we began our Top-to-Bottom review of the entire agency, I wanted to find a way to engage employees in the process of improving the agency and making it more efficient. We came up with the Great Ideas Hunt and from the first day of the hunt I was impressed with the quality of responses received from GSA employees across the country. We wanted to send a strong message that everyone in GSA is responsible for and plays a critical role in reforming and improving the agency. Employees generated more than 600 ideas and posted thousands of comments, demonstrating their commitment to our mission of saving taxpayer dollars.
To date, GSA received a total of 632 ideas submitted via the web from employees across the country. GSA staff then voted for their favorite submissions, registering close to twenty thousand votes online. Even before the results are tabulated, we are taking action on the five most popular ideas that can be implemented immediately:
- Reduce Subscriptions: A GSA employee highlighted the fact that GSA can save money by reducing the number of newspaper and magazine subscriptions and choosing online versions when possible. By doing this the GSA can save up to $630,000 agency-wide.
- Eliminate Redundant Survey: Three suggestions were submitted urging the agency to retire a costly and redundant employee survey. It turns out that the survey costs $1 million annually and virtually all of its questions are addressed in the Office of Personnel Management Employee Viewpoint Survey, which is free. GSA has now stopped its use of the survey.
- Create Web-based Surveys: Four GSA employees submitted an idea to replace the paper-based Public Buildings Service (PBS) Tenant Satisfaction Survey with a web-based solution instead. PBS is making this change immediately, which will save about $1.2 million annually.
- Expand PrintWise policy: Two entries noted that setting the default printing settings to ‘double-sided’ will save money on paper and reduce GSA’s impact on the environment. As a result, GSA will roll out this policy agency-wide, and could realize a savings of $2.7 million.
- Implement External Great Ideas: GSA received so many helpful ideas through this campaign internally, that three employees suggested the agency create an external website to allow federal partners and vendors to share ideas and feedback on how GSA can better manage our offerings.
The string of comments from the ideas was active and vibrant, and I’m impressed at the level of involvement from every corner and every level of GSA. In the coming weeks, the leading suggestions will be evaluated to determine which are actionable and will have a meaningful impact on GSA and the agencies we serve. The Great Ideas Hunt began May 31 and ended July 6. In addition to these five ideas, we are reviewing and researching 40 other ideas submitted through the program and expects to implement them on a rolling basis.
The success of the Great Ideas Hunt demonstrates our commitment to having a positive impact across government. We continue to show that GSA is focused on its core efforts of promoting efficiency, delivering better value, and saving taxpayer dollars.