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UCOP IT Innovation Week yields great ideas

“Innovation Week was a great way to exercise our creative muscles in a collaborative environment. I enjoyed meeting and working with other people in the organization who we don’t normally work with.” ~ Alex Tayag

“Innovation Week is a great opportunity to step out of my work silo, hang out and work with great people from other teams, understand different perspectives, and together come up with innovative ideas and actually work on them. It’s great to make friends and possibly make a difference in IT’s service to UCOP.” ~ Kai Deng


What happens when you give UCOP’s IT staff a week to come up with innovative products and services?

The 160 UCOP staffers who visited the IT Innovation Fair on Feb. 1 know the answer: A lot of great ideas. After hearing the innovators pitch their creations at the Fair, they voted with play money to invest in those they thought had the most promise. (See the results of their votes later in this article.)

The ideas didn’t come out of nowhere. To foster creativity and generate unexpected results, IT held three workshops leading up to the scheduled Innovation Week. They made sure that the IT staff felt confident and empowered to do something completely different – and even to completely fail. During Innovation Week itself, managers cleared schedules and helped remove roadblocks so that staff could focus on developing their ideas without distractions.

The investment paid off. In a week, IT staff developed 40 new ideas. Fifty staff members worked on polishing 13 of those, ending with a presentation to other OP staff at the Innovation Fair. Not only were the innovators energized by the initiative, but other UC staff are interested in coordinating similar events for their areas. IT plans to carry the energy forward in implementing ideas as is possible and to run shorter “hack-a-thon” type events in the future to encourage out-of-the-box thinking and solutions.

If you missed any part of the Fair, read on for a quick look at each of the ideas, as well as a tally of how OP staff voted on them. We hope you’ll share any thoughts you have about the ideas in the Comments section at the bottom of this article.


IDEA: UCOP Directory lookup application

This app for web and mobile devices would facilitate easy directory lookup for the UCOP employee on the go, providing the facility, floor, department and other handy information about their colleagues. User friendly lookup on the web and mobile devices.

Team: Sushant Prasad, Jaymeson Beck, Bhanu Polakam



IDEA: Document Umbrella

Imagine a central, searchable, shared index for documentation stored throughout ITS and collected under a single “umbrella.” This idea began as an internal infrastructure team project and the team would like to workshop it with a larger ITS group. They are looking for staff who have taxonomy or UX experience, or anyone with strong opinions about documentation. View original proposal at

Team: Deborah Chase, Allan Perry, Kai Deng, Micheal Schwartz, Robert Mijango, Sushant Prasad, Louis Zeoli, Pari Khodayari


IDEA: Job Rotation

The goals of job rotation are to:

  • Retain/reenergize high potential employees and increase engagement
  • Facilitate collaboration
  • Facilitate generation of new ideas and ways of thinking
  • Shift to a culture of calculated risk-taking and improving things
  • Discover untapped talents/skills

This is a big risk for managers but can have big returns. If adopted, it’s a win-win for teams and individuals as untapped skills are used/showcased and talents are discovered. It brings new/fresh thinking and perspective to the way things are done within a team.

Team: Emma Sebastian


IDEA: Online Mentorship

To promote mentorship/partnership across the IT departments within UC, each participant will publish a knowledge or skill that they want to impart and other UC staff can reach out to learn or be guided. This will promote collaboration, learning and transfer of institutional knowledge.

Team: Emma Sebastian


IDEA: Migrate UC Effort Reporting to Payroll Certification

Many universities want to move away from “Effort Reporting” in favor of a simplified “Payroll Certification” process. The federal Office of Management and Budget is responsible for payroll certification requirements, approval, and auditing. This fact-finding project identified payroll certification requirements and made a preliminary assessment of the effort required to implement payroll certification in the UC system.

Team: Faye Isaacson, Larry Scott


IDEA: Automated Web Browser Testing

Two apps were combined to help simplify Automated Web Browser Testing. With the Recording tool, you can record all your interactions with the browser and save it as a CSV file. With the Playback tool, you can take the CSV file and replay your test as many times as you’d like.

Team: Farial Mahbub, Ken Lumnoakrut, Sam Davis


IDEA: App in a Box

It requires considerable time and money to build, host and maintain dozens of web-based applications on the same up-to-date, secure software. With the “App in a Box” approach, each web-based application runs in its own low-cost, easy-to-maintain, secure environment, allowing many more UCOP and UC departments access to low-cost, secure and reliable web application development. The team estimated that it would result in a 25 percent decrease in the cost of building and maintaining custom web-based applications.

Team: Elena Tolpygo Cranley, Rick Kehret, Aymen Manai


IDEA: California Digital Film Archive

UC has invaluable films in its archives, but they are confined to one building and few students have access because of limited time and resources, including from UC archivists. Watching these films outside of UC archives is illegal because of intellectual property law. By carefully digitizing all UC file archive assets and working extensively on cybersecurity measures, all UC film enthusiasts could share archival materials online, in an easy-to-view streaming format.

Team: Alexandria Rivetti


IDEA: Smart Fabric

This team came up with a flexible smart fabric that gently moves skin and/or muscles to relieve pressure points to prevent pressure ulcers (aka bedsores) for patients who are immobile or have difficulty moving. This fabric, embedded with nanosensors, will have the technology to automatically shift any area of the body that has too much pressure on it and functions as early preventative care for at-risk patients. The non-invasive smart fabric can be placed underneath the patient, be part of their clothing or even worn on the skin.

Team: Angela Hom, Jackie Porter


IDEA: Service Now Change Integration

This team worked on integrating third-party cloud-hosted service management tools with UCOP Service Now to automate tracking and scheduling of incidents/changes for ITS.

Team: Pamela Sampson-Smith, Albert Apolonio, Eric Goodman, Long Dang, Rodney Marquez


IDEA: Student Enrollment Data Validation Dashboard

This team investigated validation process options for the DSS Enrollment, Course and Degree data warehouse loads.

Team: Emily Weaver, Chris Handy, Hooman Pejman, Koorosh Ghorashy, Rajani Chalamalasetty, Debra Turnage


IDEA: Service Now Puppet Integration

Looking at Service Now, we investigated building an automation solution using two integration opportunities:

  • VM-ware integration that will pull IPs and build information directly from the source of truth, once approved and completed through the intake process
  • Puppet integration that will allow server configuration information automation

Through this process, the power of puppet’s open source approach can be leveraged with the governance offered by Service Now.

Team: Sara Matthews, Ashley Gould


IDEA: Idea Express_0

Idea Express generated still more ideas for innovation:

  1. UCOP Intranet
  2. UCOP.EDU site redesign
  3. Crowd Testing
  4. Recognition for years of service
  5. ITS Award Program for IT staff across UC
  6. Personality and Skills Assessment Test for job applicants
  7. ITS Technology Week
  8. IT Training Program for UCOP
  11. SOCIAL-network outreach to APPLYUC and AYSO users

Team: Vyacheslav “Slava” Pankov

How UCOP staff voted on the ideas at the Innovation Fair

All attendees were given $1,000 in play money to invest in $100 increments in the ideas that they thought had the most merit. Here’s the final tally of the dollar amounts that each idea received:


See even more ideas here:

Comments ( 2 )

Have Something To Say ?

  1. Larry Delaney February 14, 2017 Reply

    Intrapreneurship in action!

  2. Shirley February 14, 2017 Reply

    Great event ITS! Congratulations on a very successful Innovation Fair!

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