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There is a problem. Have an idea to fix it? Submit now and you could win an iPad!

The "Paying Forward: Investing in the Future" campaign, which ran from January 18 - April 14, 2013, invited employees to submit suggestions to university leaders about how to improve processes in central administrative and financial services. Sponsored by Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Hogan, the contest focused on identifying potential cost-savings and efficiency in 12 areas throughout the University: athletics, budget office, development, emergency preparedness, facilities, finance, human resources, ITS, police department, procurement, research, and student affairs.

Kicking off the campaign, Pat Hogan reported that while working for a global organization he learned that the best ideas were not generated in headquarters but by employees on the ground. "There are always ways to improve our processes, and our employees are the most likely to know what they are," he said.

Employees submitted 145 ideas to this campaign. A cross-functional assessment team evaluated every submission in terms of feasibility and impact. The team used three criteria to prioritize submissions: (1) the clarity of the problem and the proposed improvement; (2) the impact and potential cost-savings of the proposal; and (3) the estimated costs, resources, and complexity required for implementing the solution. Each employee who submitted an idea received a response from the Paying Forward team.

Of these 145 ideas, twenty suggestions were ranked as having the potential to make a significant impact to the University in the near or long term. Environmental sustainability captured the attention of twenty percent of the employees who submitted ideas, and many of these suggestions were incorporated into the University's Green Workplace certification. Over half of the ideas were considered to have a localized impact and will be sent to individual departments for the appropriate review and possible action.

Read an update on current initiatives that are related to Paying Forward ideas.

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The Winning Ideas

The winning categories and submitters to the Paying Forward Campaign were:

  • Highest Cost-Saving Potential: Elizabeth Muse, director for alumni and parent engagement, for a suggestion on how the University could reduce the current annual cost of more than $1.2 million for employee mobile device services.
  • Feasible Ideas Award. Kevin Crabtree, senior buyer, Procurement and Supplier Diversity, submitted the largest number of feasible ideas, including suggestions to (a) review select services to determine if the University is sourcing business in the most efficient way, (2) consolidate the University's 584 service vehicles into a vehicle pool to optimize use, and (3) make enhanced use of the U.Va. Foundation-owned facilities and services to generate additional revenue, benefitting the University
  • Efficiency Award. Katherine "Kobby" Hoffman, assistant director of accounting, Office of Sponsored Programs, noted that the University processes more than 4,000 research grants at any one time. Hoffman offered multiple suggestions including repairing current Oracle software issues, enhancing financial reporting and using imaging technology for awards records for online availability likely to reap multiple process efficiencies.