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Innovation Team

Hillsboro Public Library, Oregon

Innovation Summary

Hillsboro Public Library empowers staff to create change from the bottom up via the "Innovation Team." The "Innovation Team" makes staff ideas a reality. Ideas range in scope from small, such as adding bird feeders to the patron viewing areas, to big, like our collaborative service staffing model.

Problem Statement

All organizations face change. In the library world, staff rise up to meet the shifting expectations of patrons by adding a variety of elements to enhance interactions. The "Innovation Team" leads from the ground up by using innovative ideas brought forward by staff members, fulfilling that desire to engage patrons in a different way. Staff who work directly with patrons are often in the best position to make recommendations for changes which benefit those patrons.


We place a genuine emphasis on innovation at the front lines, collecting ideas and vetting them against library goals. Staff members and leadership have a chance to interact on a more personal level through this vetting process. It takes courage to share an idea and it gives transparency to the decision-making process when staff members walk through the costs, benefits and risks with the "Innovation Team." Externally, great ideas improve the services patrons receive.


Through a transparent and clear process for collecting and vetting staff ideas, we find ways each day to improve patron service, provide in-the-moment learning opportunities for staff at all levels, and celebrate great ideas! The "Innovation Team" has already given us, as an organization, a way to build a cross-classification, cross-departmental team with training and expertise in process improvement and design thinking, as well as a way to synthesize this expertise for colleagues.