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Council / SIC looks to enhance ‘internal innovation’

SHETLAND Islands Council is set to embark on a new scheme to “unlock potential” in its staff and better support them in proposing ideas on how services could be delivered differently.

SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison pictured in February.SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison. Photo: Shetland News

The council is currently tendering for the delivery of an “intrapreneurship programme” which aims to enhance “internal innovation”, with the contract valued at £100,000 excluding VAT.

Chief executive Maggie Sandison said what this means in practice is that staff will be taught how to better raise ideas from the ground up in the hope of ultimately having their proposals come to fruition.

She hopes this could result in better services and results for the community.

“What we wanted to do was to develop a program that coaches and supports staff to develop an idea, and then we’ll help them work through to testing and pitching the idea so that it gets funded,” Sandison said.

“What I see is that some staff feel that if they’ve got a good idea that it may not be taken forward, and this is really about trying to unlock people’s potential because actually nobody’s preventing change. It’s more of a perception that the council wouldn’t value those ideas.

“So what we want to do is try something completely different from what we’ve done before, which is very much about growing our staff, building their confidence and helping them to see that you can challenge the way things are done and think differently.”

Sandison suggested that managers and directors may not always see the day-to-day challenges, and subsequent potential solutions, that some frontline staff do.

“We have so many staff that are really creative and enthusiastic about the jobs that they do, and they see the problems or challenges every day,” she explained.

“I don’t, because I’m not on the frontline, and what I really want to do is to unlock that innovation for change.”