Impacts of participatory strategic planning on advancing innovation at the Volpe Center

Eran Segev, Joyce Chen, Brendan English, Robert C Johns

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Strategy and innovation arc critical in ensuring the continued success of research organizations in the face of rapid economic, technological, political, and social changes. In 2010, the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe), a fee-for-service research organization in existence for more than 40 years in the U.S. Department of Transportation, embarked on a participatory strategic planning process. This paper presents a case study of this process, which used crowdsourcing as a tool for staff engagement. In addition, the paper evaluates the effectiveness of Volpe's strategic planning efforts through the lens of the literature on strategic planning and innovation. Employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, the paper examines two questions. First, has the participatory strategic planning process strengthened Volpe's ability to carry out its purpose of advancing transportation innovation for the public good? Second, docs the employee engagement and crowdsourcing approach used by Volpe offer an effective and successful alternative to the traditional model of conducting strategic planning at the top organizational levels? Strategic planning and innovation literature provided quantitative metrics with which to measure characteristics associated with innovative organizations. Findings indicated that six completed strategic initiatives were perceived by staff as contributing positively to Volpe's purpose of advancing innovation. Differences between managers' and nonmanagcrs' Perceptions were found. Findings also indicated that crowdsourcing was an effective tool with high participation rates and positive comments in the qualitative analysis. This research demonstrated the continuing need for further research on the impacts of strategic planning and on the use and effectiveness of crowdsourcing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransportation Research Record
PublisherNational Research Council
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780309295086
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameTransportation Research Record
ISSN (Print)0361-1981


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