On May 25, FI$Cal wrapped up its third Imagine FI$Cal event. This year the workshops were held virtually with interactive, hands-on activities to help participants “imagine” ideas to improve FI$Cal. The 95 participants at the four workshops generated 23 concepts for FI$Cal staff to takeaway for review.

These workshops, the brainchild of FI$Cal Director Miriam Barcellona Ingenito, launched almost two years ago as a series of design thinking workshops where FI$Cal staff invited system users to brainstorm ideas that could enhance their FI$Cal experience in the areas of system performance, training and customer service. The first event was held at our FI$Cal headquarters in April 2019, and a second event took place in Los Angeles in November of the same year.

This year, we held four sessions, each of which occupied two half-days. The events were virtual, using Zoom and Mural and were facilitated by FI$Cal’s relations’ coordinators. Imagine FI$Cal facilitator, Laura Hill, led the team that administered the virtual part of the workshop. “The team took nearly 100 hours preparing the virtual white boards and other functionality needed for the workshop, but it was worth the effort”, Hill said,” because the participants really enjoyed using the virtual tools.”

One of those participants, Rebecca Ball of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, said she really enjoyed the workshops. A first time participant, Ball said it was fun to learn about the concepts from previous workshops and how they have been implemented.

“It was nice to see and collaborate with other end users and realize that everyone has the same thought processes and issues and want to see the same thing and want to see FI$Cal be more robust and user-friendly for everyone,” Ball said.

The topics of the four sessions were, the FI$Cal Manual, the FI$Cal Learning Center Certificate, Reporting and ServiceNow. Some of the concepts generated included, the ability to add multiple staff to FI$Cal Service Center ticket submissions, workflow and diagrams for easy reference and more contact with FI$Cal subject matter experts.

At the end of each session, participants created a matrix to determine the impact vs. the difficulty of implementing their concept. Moving forward, follow-up teams at FI$Cal will use the matrix along with the concept information to create initiatives to present to FI$Cal leadership, said Stacy Meza, FI$Cal Client Relations Manager and Imagine FI$Cal lead facilitator, and down the road, participants will see their ideas implemented in the system!”

The interest in Imagine FI$Cal and similar events is growing. The response to the email request for participants this year was overwhelming, Meza said, and unfortunately we had to limit attendance to one participant per department.

“The message was received, end users, that you guys are interested and want to participate and you want to provide your feedback, stay tuned, because there will be many more events in the future, such as focus groups and other outreach opportunities to gather end user feedback”, Meza said.