Cottage Grove Department Showcases Create Cross-Department Connections

Department showcase pop-up events in the city of Cottage Grove are an organic, creative initiative to allow departments to highlight their work in a fun and engaging way to share information with other employees. It was created in the city to break down silos that can sometimes occur in city work. These pop-up events provide staff with an opportunity to highlight their talent and serve as a great opportunity to feature departmental work across the city. Allowing departments to showcase their work creates a broader understanding of what various departments do, generates respect, and highlights the great work across the city.

Pop-up event highlights held in 2019 and early 2020 include:

Tour of ice arena improvements. Employees were invited to attend the department’s pop up event to view arena improvements, including new scoreboards and a mural, come skate and try running the Zamboni. This hands-on experience allowed employees to directly see how operating the equipment can be challenging and requires practice.

Public works equipment demonstration. Another example highlighting how Cottage Grove employees have truly appreciated learning from each other is when the Public Works team helped employees drive a snowplow in the parking lot to learn how challenging it can be to run such a large piece of equipment.

Police department investigation overview. A public safety pop-up event with record staff turn out highlighted a high-profile dark web murder case that Cottage Grove detectives solved. Through the pop up event detectives were able to share their expertise and approaches with employees.

Public safety training facility tour. Staff were also able to take a tour of the state-of-the-art Hero Center (the new public safety facility). Staff viewed how the facility allows for public safety teams, including fire departments, to train in a state-of-the art environment.

To date, there have been minimal costs associated with this program, primarily just staff time. Staff highlighting their work are the experts and often already have a presentation ready highlighting the work for other organizations they can use to share information with employees.

There is no regular set schedule for the pop-up events. Every department has an opportunity to showcase as events and projects warrant. Ideas are generated from staff meeting updates conducted twice a month. Generally, a “save the date” for calendars is shared with all staff two weeks prior to the pop-up event.

Staff say the pop-up programs have been a great success and will continue when normal in-person operations resume, as they are a great way to build camaraderie within and across departments.