Badges – Rewarding Data and Innovation Work
The Louisville Metro Badge Program rewards employees for tasks like creating an open dataset, crowdsourcing information from citizens or collaborating with other departments on projects. There’s a tiered reward system for civil servants who participate, with prizes ranging from LinkedIn recommendations to recognition at a city-wide awards ceremony.
The idea is to ingrain innovation in all government departments, rather than concentrating efforts in the typical fields for government innovation, data and digital.
Employees can join the Louisville Metro Badge group to browse available badges and track their progress. Once they finish a task, they submit evidence – a dataset, testimonial, screenshot or photo of them at an event – then can add the badge to their digital profile.
To complete a track, employees must collect 10 out of the 15 possible badges. They range from simple tasks – like reading an innovation-themed book – to more complex endeavors, like integrating voice activation into a project.
The Metro Badge Program is part of a larger effort to advocate for more innovation across all levels of government.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Embedding and fostering innovation and data skills across all of our city government by rewarding existing work and encouraging new work by employees. The project encourages and recognizes employees for their efforts, where previous attempts at this have failed. It's a fun and light touch way to build a culture of data and innovation.
What is the current status of your innovation?
Over 50 employees have signed up to participate, and we've awarded well over 100 badges in less than a year. We've also created a framework for other departments to create their own Badge program, and it's been adopted by Cyber Security and Resilience and Community Services, with Information Technology and the Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods both working on creating their own programs. We have handed out many of our tiered rewards, and plan to have an end of year celebration and award ceremony with the mayor.
Collaborations & Partnerships
Badge List is the private company's platform we use to track all the progress. https://www.badgelist.com/Louisville-Metro-Badges
It's a program that spans all departments and aligns with the work of our Data Governance city-wide team.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Employees are the ones earning badges, at all levels, including front line employees up to leadership.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
We've increased our participation in our Data Governance data trainings, innovation projects, data analysis, and open data because people are using the Badges as a way to justify this work and be recognized for their efforts.
Challenges and Failures
So far we haven't had any failures and the program has been positively received. I would like some funding for it to increase the value of the rewards - right now all the rewards are mostly free to create.
Conditions for Success
You need a leader to run the program (ie, Chief Data Officer, Innovation Office, Performance Improvement, etc) and a small group to create and manage the Badges. A method of communication or group to have adopt the program is good to have. Leadership buy-in (eg, mayor) is important to show this is going to stick around. And you have to follow through on your rewards and recognition.
Pretty easy to replicate because we created a step by step framework for this on our informational website. Two departments have used this info to create their own program with only one meeting with the Innovation team to answer simple questions.
It's a simple and fun way to embed innovation in your government, and drive participation.
We are very excited about the success of our Badges program and hope to grow it more next year and spread it to other departments and to residents too.