Description of Innovation

The Region of Crete innovates by developing and implementing an Integrated Management and Decision Making System for more effective management of its projects. The Management System is supported by an online electronic platform, with the possibility of classified access of users to project data. The new System creates the conditions for an innovative Work Model that aims at the balance of work and personal life, free from spatial and temporal constraints. With the simultaneous use of the Digital Project File and the built-in digital certificates, the executives of the Region are able to have a complete picture of the progress of the projects and to carry out the procedures of the required approvals and signatures anywhere and anytime. The methodology approaches the whole "life cycle" of a project, from its design, the bidding process, the execution phase, to the completion of the construction and the start of its operation. The innovative technological solution actively involves the different levels of administration of the Region, from the Elected Administration, the Chief Authority to the Executive Service and the Supervising Engineer. Each of the above involved has its role in the design and implementation of the project, as the new system provides the possibility of graded access to information, while supporting timely decision-making at all levels. In addition, the information system connects existing information channels, enhancing the output produced. In particular, the interoperability of the new infrastructure with the internal Document Management System is ensured, and thus the integrated electronic project management is achieved, creating a complete digital file for each project with a single subfolder structure. At the same time, with the integration of standard forms, it is possible to automatically create documents for specific issues, uniformed for all the Services involved in the Region. Based on the above, the Region of Crete during the design of the System adopted the basic principles of the Methodology of the European Commission PM2, which describes and includes the entire life cycle of a project. In addition, interoperability is ensured with the Geospatial Data Infrastructure of the Region (GIS Crete), combining information of different levels (infrastructure, climate change, civil protection, etc.) and further strengthening the efficiency of the System. As the new digital method of designing, planning and controlling a project, not only at the stage of implementation but also at every critical turn before, during construction, but also throughout the life of the infrastructure, it will include 2 more innovations, making the overall system "the game changer": Geospatial Information (GIS) and Territorial Vulnerability (SAR Interferometry). Both information are based on the continuous reception of satellite data and their optimal use for the benefit of citizens.

Reasons for Innovation

In an ever-changing environment, the Services of the Region involved face daily technical, regulatory and operational challenges in managing a large number of projects, while being called upon to make the right decisions in a timely manner at different levels of administration. Multilevel governance, complexity of procedures, different management approaches, different interpretations of legal requirements, maintenance of large - often difficult to access - physical records and lack of computerization were factors that greatly hampered effective decision-making. Electronic management systems used in the past were abandoned by their users due to insufficient requirements analysis, their unfriendliness to the user as well as their inability to provide reliable and personalized information. At operational level, the project managers and the heads of the competent units had limited information on the course of implementation concerning physical and financial aspects, on the absorption rates as well as on critical dates and milestones. In addition, the administrative costs were very high due to the different and time consuming procedures, the insufficient standardization and the frequent correction repetitions at critical stages of the bidding process as well as during the execution of the projects. The new Management System addresses the above issues and contributes to the creation of standard Technical Services of the Region, based on the pillars of customer-centric approach, transaction transparency and optimal resource management. Users now have a complete and accurate knowledge of the progress of the projects, concerning physical and financial aspects, while the uniformed recording of the phases of the project, the unified digital archiving system, ensuring the integrity and continuity of information, the ability to monitor schedules, Knowledge management and the utilization of geospatial information significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Services.

Objectives of Innovation

The main objectives of the new Project Management System are to achieve coordination of the unified operation of the services of the Region, the implementation of multilevel governance, the effective management of the complex project life cycle, the active and proactive monitoring of schedules, the common archiving and the between the Technical Services, the acquisition and management of Knowledge, the correct and timely decision-making as well as the design of policies related to public infrastructure projects. With this innovation, the Region of Crete aims at the continuous improvement of the overall quality of the provided services, the provision of quality public infrastructures to the citizens, the improvement of the working conditions of the employees, the enhancement of the efficiency of the Services as well as ensuring transparency throughout process of planning and implementation of a project. Also, the strengthening of the institutional memory, the control and supervision of the processes, the improvement of the communication between the stakeholders, the provision and continuity of the information-knowledge and the alignment of the operation of the services with the Strategic Plan and Operational Program of the Region are achieved.

Innovation results

About 1400 projects and studies of the Region of Crete have been registered in the information system with complete data of physical and economic aspects. The projects concern the entire geographical area of the island and correspond to a program of 685,000,000 euros. Now, for all the above, there is real-time accurate and valid information, adapted to the information needs of each user. The users of the system with graded access are to date more than 190, covering the entire multilevel project management as well as the organizational structure of the Region in matrix form. According to the first indications, there is an estimate for the immediate expected results, such as the reduction of the working time by about 40% and the improvement of the productivity of the workers in telework by 25%. As indirect results, which already come from the use of the information system, the following can be mentioned: 1. The functions of the Services are in line with the Strategic Planning of the Region. 2. Communication between stakeholders is improved as the responsibilities and obligations of each are clearly defined and the continuity of information is ensured. 3. Better control and monitoring of procedures is achieved through standardized and documented procedures. 4. The operation of the procedures is optimized and potential risks are identified, before problems even occur 5. The different information needs of each level of Project Management (Supervisor, Chief, Director, General Manager, Elected Administration) are met.

Design stage

The innovative Management System was designed, standardized and developed by the Project Coordination Team in collaboration with executives of the Technical Works Directorates of the Region. The commitment and practical support of the Leadership was particularly critical to the successful design of the project. At the design stage, a five-member Coordination Team of the Region of Crete was set up for 15 months. The technical support was undertaken by experienced external collaborators. The Coordination Team of the Region includes the Executive Secretary, the General Director of Infrastructure, the Head of the Transportation Department of the Technical Works Directorate of the Headquarters, the Head of the Geospatial Data Infrastructure and the Head of the Directorate. The coordination team collaborated with a wider planning team of the Region, whose members came from the General Directorate of Infrastructure, utilizing their experience and knowledge and incorporating proposals for improving the functionality of the system. The project was presented first to the executive team of the Region Administration and then in the context of 6 scheduled meetings, in all the competent Services and in all the Regional Units. During the above process, feedback was received from the participating executives and their ideas and suggestions were evaluated. The development of the electronic platform included the key remarks of the executives of the Technical Services in the context of participatory design and the development of flexible methodology (agile management). Requirements analysis included recording the needs of users, administration and political leadership for multilevel management, standardization of procedures and documents as well as the ability to communicate, inform and assign tasks to and from all levels of administration. This complex design project incorporates the methodology and basic principles of the European Commission's PM2 project management methodology as well as process management systems, information management and knowledge management (IIMS). These systems met the design need for uniformed acquisition and dissemination of information with graded access levels.

Experimental Implementation stage

The pilot implementation of the project was carried out in the Directorate of Technical Works of the headquarters of the Region, following methodologically the PDCA Continuous Improvement Cycle (Plan-Execute-Control-Improve) and lasted 2 months. The basic steps in the process of experimental implementation of the innovation were: a) Communication and information, b) User training, c) Creation and delivery of access accounts, d) Registration of pilot projects and assignment of documents, e) Implementation and operation of the System, f ) Feedback and evaluation of functionality, g) Design and implementation of improvement measures. The pilot application was attended by 15 executives of the Directorate and during it 40 projects were included.

Implementation stage The operation of the System started in January 2021 with a decision of the elected and administrative leadership of the Region. The executives of the Directorates of Technical Works were informed in individual meetings and teleconferences with all the Regional Units as well as at the headquarters of the Region. At the same time, the training of the executives and the support teams is implemented, who in a short period of time registered their responsibility projects on the platform, following them through it. A detailed presentation has also been made to the management and will be followed by individual trainings on the thematic categories and the functions of the platform. The Elected Administration, the Services of the General Directorate of Infrastructure as well as the General Directorate of Development Planning have access to the new information system.

Dissemination stage

At this stage the innovation is disseminated through its presentation in working groups of other Public Organizations, through its publication on social media and websites as well as through the issuance of press releases.

Collaborations

The external partners, following the design and instructions of the Regional Coordination Team, provided technical support at the development stage, while ensuring interoperability with the Papyros Intelligent Information Management System (IIMS) Papyros and the GIS Crete Geospatial Data Infrastructure.

Financing and costs

The action was financed from the budget of the institution but also from national resources.

Challenges and solutions during design, testing and implementation

The thorough design, the methodologies used, the pilot application, the participation in the design contributed significantly to the absence of problems and delays from the start phase of the design process. The innovation is applied in the whole range of the Technical Services of the Region and is in full productive operation with obvious continuous improvement.

Assessment - description of the necessary conditions for the success and sustainability of innovation

The necessary conditions for success and sustainability of our organization's innovation are satisfied with: a) The commitment and active participation of the elected and administrative leadership, b) The effective communication actions at all levels of our organization, c) The participatory planning and feedback process by users.

Experiences, thoughts, findings

The commitment to change management culture, along with the implementation of technological solutions incorporating innovative design methodologies can rightly contribute to organizational change for the benefit of the citizens, their quality of life, to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SD). Especially in an island region such as Crete, where in recent years the effects of climate change are visible and with a negative impact on the environment and infrastructure projects, this innovative project management and monitoring system with the integration of satellite geospatial information and real-time visualization of vulnerability, enables the planning and monitoring of projects throughout the island that will be located in safe places. All projects will be able to be displayed through an active window on a map, either completed or in progress, while the interoperability of the systems will ensure the recording of One-Only-Time and even in real time. The system will also eventually yield a vulnerability map of the island, on which will be recorded not only the recorded landslides (since 2015), but also the areas of potential instability, based on measurements of micro-movements. Also, at design level, the method will lead to the correct location of the infrastructure, especially if the information is used in combination with movements recorded in the same area, around the project. The Region of Crete, utilizing in the best way the experience of its executives, chose to design from the beginning a new Management and Decision Making System for Project Management, applying the methodology of the European Commission PM2, which approaches the entire life cycle of a project. The innovation is unique for the Greek and European data, contributing significantly to the achievement of the strategic and operational goals of the Region of Crete. The possibility of transferring the proposed innovative solution to other national Public Organizations, Local Government or General Government ,and even to European ones, is desirable.

Agency: Region of Crete

Level of government: Regional

Policy area: Public administration

Year: 2020

Type of Innovation: Process design and redesign, Data management and decision making, Infrastructure and financial management

Innovation Stage: Dissemination

Beneficiaries: Technical Services of the Region, Elected Bodies, Citizens, Public Organizations and Businesses of the Region

Number of beneficiaries: 190 users of the Region, Population of the island (approximately 623,000) and visitors

Sources of Funding: National Resources, Institutional Budget

URL: https://www.crete.gov.gr/press-releases/se-leitoyrgia-to-neo-kainotomo-systima-diacheirisis-ergon-tis-perifereias-kritis/

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