Innovation and Excellence at Karsun

Excellence in all we do, innovation, teamwork, integrity, commitment, and fun are the core values that guide and inspire us. Throughout our journey, our Karsun Innovation Center (KIC) not only empowers innovative work at Karsun, but also connects our teams, advocates for excellence, and strengthens our commitment to our customers and integrity in our work. Of course, they introduce an element of fun too! 2022 was a year that encapsulated all of these qualities at the KIC. From renewed validation of its quality assurance programs to continuing development for experimenters and innovators at all levels.

The KIC breaks its activities broadly into three components: training through Karsun Academy, research and development, and an employee-centered approach to managing excellence through its Practice Areas. This includes the development of best practices at Karsun and ongoing investment in quality assurance programs. This year Karsun was appraised at CMMI v2.0 Level 5 (DEV). At the time of its assessment, Karsun was among a handful of U.S. companies with the updated v2.0 appraisal. Organizations audited under this new system demonstrated their methodology was optimized using a data-driven approach to development. Karsun’s development toolkit features 25+ health and diagnostic visualizations to help teams improve their practices.

This year the Karsun Academy team announced new study groups, remote workshops, and an evolving set of certification opportunities. It also hosted weekly brown bags. This employee-to-employee format invites team members to share personal experiences on topics from coaching to AI/ML. It also expanded programs for future technology leaders and champions.

Karsun’s internship program added a new cohort this year for high school and early career college students. This junior-level internship class focused on applying emerging technology to real-world problems facing government agencies. These students participated in related codeathons and completed a research project that was presented to Karsun’s senior leadership. Meanwhile, the cohort with more experienced students addressed challenges surrounding personally identifiable information when conducting research. Their work on synthetic data was presented at a company-wide innovation town hall.

Those monthly innovation town halls were also the forum to showcase groundbreaking work from teams across Karsun. Showcased ideas are first submitted to the center’s innovation radar. From there, the research and development unit works in conjunction with delivery teams to prototype, build and test the application of those ideas. Successful implementations are presented monthly, bringing fresh attention to experimenters and builders at Karsun. To date, over 100 ideas have been submitted to the radar for inclusion in this process. This is also the forum where the center announces its Karsun Academy training agenda. 

Karsun Practice Areas drive excellence through the establishment of guidelines, industry certifications, and technology partnerships while enabling teamwork and collaboration among employees. In addition to the ongoing development of toolkits and other assets to guide teams toward best practices, the KIC launched new expert tools in the Karsun Konnect workplace app. These help delivery teams solve problems by connecting them with subject matter experts within Karsun. This proactive approach enables collaboration and helps teams not only maintain their commitment to Karsun customers but exceed their expectations.

Through the Innovation Center, teams also accessed industry thought leaders. The center kicked off its Expert Talks series this year. This interactive session brings in external experts on topics like cybersecurity or AI/ML. Practice advocates and leaders also brought new resources into Karsun teams. Senior Director and Data Practice Lead Srikanath Devarajan continued his ongoing blog series on topics including scoping AI/Ml projects and understanding data mesh. Meanwhile, Karsun experts returned to conferences this year and took the stage for panels ranging from procurement innovation to human centered design

Through the KIC excellence and innovation go hand and hand. Entering 2023, the center held its first town hall. Presenters previewed new approaches to microservices and user interfaces and introduced a new brown bag and workshop series. Join us in 2023 to discover what’s next from the Karsun Innovation Center.

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