Innovation

Photo of an incandescent light bulb with a purple glow and a white glowing filament image on a black, rectangle background; the image represents the 'Innovation' Transformation Focus Area.
 

The NRC has embarked upon a transformation effort to become a modern, risk-informed regulator. To achieve our vision, we will be innovators who make timely decisions that take into account different viewpoints and fully explored options.

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Fostering Agency-wide Innovation

The NRC has initiated several activities in recent years to drive a shift in the agency's culture to be more receptive to innovation and transformation.

One of the primary activities to support and sustain long-term innovation at the NRC is InnovateNRC. This initiative began as a staff-led effort, called the Idea Greenhouse, to collect and refine staff recommendations to improve NRC operations. The Idea Greenhouse was implemented via pilot projects in various NRC offices with great success. As a result, an Agency Innovation Forum was officially established in April 2017, then later renamed InnovateNRC to incorporate all of the agency's innovation programs under one umbrella.

There were many lessons learned from InnovateNRC and the NRC saw a need to continue to enhance our approach to innovation. InnovateNRC 2.0 is one of the transformation initiatives and is the NRC's formal innovation program. The InnovateNRC 2.0 program allows NRC employees to submit innovative ideas, conduct crowd-sourcing challenges, and capture and share examples of innovation occurring throughout the agency through IdeaScale, a collaborative innovation platform. The IdeaScale platform was provided in response to staff requests, from the Futures Jam, for a virtual, real-time way to collaborate and brainstorm across the agency.

In June 2020, the agency held an Innovate-a-thon to officially launch the InnovateNRC 2.0 program and the IdeaScale platform. During the Innovate-a-thon, crowdsourcing campaigns were launched so staff could offer ideas on ways to improve some of our existing processes and programs. The crowdsourcing challenges received ideas related to improvements in the resident inspector program, use of agile teams, the way staff uses licensee information for regulatory decision-making, and document development and concurrence. These crowdsourcing challenges received over 50 ideas and more than 200 comments, all from NRC staff seeking innovative ways to be more efficient and effective in meeting our important safety and security mission.

Employees from across the agency, at all levels and in all fields contributed ideas, solutions and potential areas for improvement. Essentially, we leveled the playing field by allowing each employee to freely contribute to open discussions on ways we can improve how we work.

Using Signposts and Markers for Future Decisions Regarding Our Work

The Signposts and Markers transformation initiative team focused its efforts on expanding the work done under "The Dynamic Futures for NRC Mission Areas" report and identified signposts and markers for external factors that would have the greatest effect on the agency's future. The initiative team identified 39 signposts and markers that will help us be better prepared for future challenges and workforce needs, including developing staffing and budget plans and metrics that are based on relevant data


 

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, November 25, 2020