Facilitating Innovation in Leisure Service Organizations


  • Mat D. Duerden Brigham Young University
  • Neil Lundberg Brigham Young University
  • David Shurna No Barriers USA




Rapid innovation, minimum viable product, evaluation, empathy, prototype


The landscape facing park and recreation departments has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Factors facilitating this change include but are not limited to technological advancements, increasing numbers of private leisure service providers, demographic shifts, and budget reductions. Accordingly, park and recreation departments face a new reality, shared across almost all industries, where organizational relevance and longevity are tied to the ability to strategically innovate. Organizations that effectively innovate to best position themselves to address and take advantage of changing circumstances thrive. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to introduce one nonprofit’s rapid innovation process (RIP) that has facilitated the completion of complex projects in two to three focused days, which previously took months to complete. The RIP is built upon the work of Eric Ries (2011) and the Stanford University Institute of Design (2015a), and details a process involving sequenced preparatory work followed by focused onsite workdays with team members assuming predetermined facilitating roles. The end goal of the process is to produce a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP; Ries, 2011) and provide it to end users as rapidly as possible. The logic behind this approach is that an organization will only know the true viability of their products and services once they are consumed or experienced by their end users. This approach goes against traditional product and service development, which focuses on providing end users a fully polished, complete end product. The RIP makes the argument that most first-version products and services are not what end users actually want, and so the quicker end-user feedback can be obtained the better; thus the need for a rapid prototyping process. This paper outlines the steps, roles, and outcome of the RIP, and presents a case study example of how the process was to create and pilot test a custom outcome evaluation tool. Using the RIP, the project team was able to define constructs, create item pools, develop a pilot test, collect and analyze data, and create a final measurement tool in only two in-person workdays. The authors hope to provide sufficient details and guidance about the RIP to allow for its implementation by other organizations and practitioners. 





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