Monday, December 14, 2009

Looking For Internal Solutions

I know that many of the postings on this blog may seem like I am asking some other organization or entity to do the heavy lifting when it comes to solving some of the bigger issues surrounding the developmental disabilities community in Colorado.

But I want to make clear that I believe that Imagine! is not exempt from exploring solutions to some of our biggest challenges. That is why the administrative team here is looking very closely at everything we do in order to maximize efficiencies in our service provision and delivery.

The reason for this is simple. Every inefficiency we have cuts into our ability to serve consumers and families. That is not acceptable.

Despite my misgivings about recent system changes and concerns about recent budget cuts, I do think they have produced an unexpected and potentially valuable side effect. All of us who provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities are being asked to provide the same amount of services while having access to fewer resources to provide those services. Funding has been reduced, expectations haven’t.

Facing this situation, we have a couple of options: ignore the expectations and provide lower quality services, or find ways to meet those expectations despite the challenges.

I’m proud to say that we at Imagine! have chosen the latter option, even considering the daunting nature of the task. However, this means that we will have to examine everything we do from top to bottom.

Here are a couple of examples of what we have already been doing to achieve the lofty goal of continuing to provide quality services despite a decrease in available resources:

I have already discussed our efforts to use social media to improve our communication with all of our constituents and to better engage the community in the conversation about our services. The early results of these efforts have been extremely promising, and as we move forward into 2010 we will be exploring how we can implement social media platforms across our organization.

We have also engaged in ongoing efforts to improve our data collection, storage, and access. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, we don’t have good enough data to even know what the most effective way to deliver services might be. At Imagine! we have been steadily upgrading our data systems and either eliminating duplicative databases or improving our ability to share data across platforms, with an end goal of having all the knowledge we need when making programmatic decisions in the future.

These changes aren’t easy, and often such difficult changes meet resistance, both internally and externally. However, I think they will be very beneficial to us in the long run. That’s why we’re working hard to inspire and motivate members of our staff every chance we get.

Our mission at Imagine! is to provide innovative supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. In order to meet that mission, I believe it is imperative that we never rest on our laurels or assume we have arrived, especially considering the challenging environment we find ourselves in right now.

Then again, what do I know?

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