Process Improvement

The Office of Performance and Innovation (OPI) works alongside City of Durham employees to continuously solve problems and improve service delivery to better serve the community. We utilize tools from Human Centered Design, Behavioral Economics, and Lean methodology to approach opportunities for process improvement and innovation, partnering with departments in three general phases:

Discover. This is where we work to understand the landscape of the current challenge, observing existing processes, learning from key stakeholders, and uncovering unmet needs. It's important to identify and bring in all stakeholders early on to understand multiple perspectives of what can be a complex problem. Prioritizing those who experience the challenge firsthand, this phase might include interviews, focus groups, site observations, collaborative workshops, etc. 

Design. From there, we utilize actionable insights to build and test solutions, incorporating input and ideas from the people who use and administer the service. Developing, and iterating, with key stakeholders is an essential part of co-creating a sustainable solution that works for the owners of the initiative, as well as others who use it. 

Deliver. We continue to work with stakeholders to implement and track continuous improvement, supporting them to make necessary improvements along the way and providing tools to build their capacity over time. 

OPI provides project support and training to build capacity for employees at every level of the organization to rapidly and continuously improve the quality of government services. 


Building on work the City has led over the past year to reform its water billing practices, our team recently partnered with the Water Department to make the process of accessing the Water Hardship Fund easier on residents and staff. To learn more about how we've worked together to make the process more efficient and effective, click through the file below, or download it here. To find out more information about the Water Hardship Fund, visit the City of Durham’s Water Department webpage.

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