The Government Services Administration (GSA), which was the dinosaur of all snails, was mired in red tape when Dave Barrum was brought on in 1996 to run the agency. He brought his experience from Silicon Valley to re-invent the organization. But you don’t change an organization of almost 15,000 people (at the time) and $24 billion in assets overnight. They were successive steps or peeling back the procurement policy to “open” the door for more agile and cost-effective solutions - such as picking up supplies at the local Office Max, if need be.
|GSA Sustainability - New Target Set at Net Zero|
The biggest shift was encouraging candor – which was a big leap of faith from the current office culture. Training was offered in planning, teamwork and creativity. The agency has adopted “Slams,” where they slam all the major stakeholders of a project together in a room for a day and say, "How can collaborate and jump through the hoops more efficiently?" A type of kaizen event.
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Her motto: "Fail forward, fail fast and fail fruitfully, because you never learn or innovate if you always do it right.” And so this massive agency is learning to be agile, creative, and to jump straight to the top rank of sustainability leaders.
The take-away from this little exposéis that “green” comes from within. It goes beyond just sticking solar panels on a roof. The GSA couldn’t even begin to achieve a net-zero without all the internal housecleaning. You can’t deliver a lean and efficient product through a cumbersome, disjointed delivery. And you can’t be nimble and efficient in delivery if the supporting structure is stodgy and bureaucratic. So it starts within. And if the GSA can do it, then it effectively raises the bar for every other public and private entity. No excuses. Go get’em Martha!!