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Business need: Break down silos to enhance collaboration

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) is a large agency with over 45,000 employees working in over a dozen bureaus and offices around the world. The mission of each bureau varies, from demography to patents and trademarks to weather forecasting. Because of this diversity and geographical dispersion, silos have been easily and naturally formed. Lacking collaboration and awareness of internal resources and opportunities, the need for improved coordination and revitalization became clear.

Business solution: Marketing and professional development events

The DOC decided to create a new trial role for a marketing and events librarian, a contract position awarded to LAC Group. The goal was enhanced sharing, awareness and collaboration through outreach, leveraging the agency’s assets and resources. The scope of work was left open-ended, empowering the LAC librarian to dive in with fresh eyes, getting to know the agency and its resources and identifying opportunities to utilize and optimize them. One such asset was the Commerce Research Library’s historic Reading Room—a visually stunning space that had been underutilized. Planning and running events for both internal and external audiences, that room is now hosting high-level press conferences and advisory board meetings, along with all-hands meetings. We also developed and marketed library-sponsored training and professional development. These programs cover something for everyone, including library orientation, use of advanced tools and materials, system training from vendor representatives over coffee and snacks and open houses.

DOC library reading room

To support and promote these initiatives, our duties included creating promotional materials such as broadcast emails and flyers, graphic design, event registration, related webinars, registrant communications and liaising with other offices like Security and Building Maintenance. We handled all the event management details—room set-up, webinar and AV requirements, surveys, displays, ushering guests and moderating audience questions. To extend event coverage, we posted related videos, recordings and documents to the website. And to inform future programming choices, we aggregated and analyzed attendance data, usage statistics and participant feedback.

Business outcome: Improved collaboration and innovation

The silos have become more open, with greater awareness of activities and sharing of resources:

  • Higher visibility and promotion of agency thought leadership.
  • Cost savings by optimizing use of DOC real estate and identifying and focusing on worthy programs.
  • Higher levels of interdepartmental communication, collaboration and innovation.
  • A better trained and more engaged workforce.

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