Building a culture of innovation through InnoFest

Published on: August 10, 2022

By embracing forward-thinking attitudes and behaviours daily, we can make improvements that help us serve our stakeholders more effectively and efficiently. That’s why we’re nurturing an innovation and growth mindset at WorkSafeBC — one where our employees are engaged in exploring and experimenting.

One way staff explore, and experiment is through InnoFest, an annual initiative to collaborate, connect across divisions, and solve problems. The event, which is now in its fourth year, started as a hackathon in one department, but organizers and leadership recognized the opportunity to invite employees from across the organization to tackle business challenges.

“Through InnoFest, we’ve come up with innovative tools, processes, and solutions to help us work in new ways,” says Andre Kaminski, director of Enterprise Development Ops. “The event brings together employees from across the organization to collaborate and build relationships with people they may not otherwise have a chance to work with.”

The 2022 event saw more than 1,200 people and 40 teams from across the organization engage with ideas and participate in the festival. Those who didn’t join a specific team got involved by attending the pre-event discovery sessions or watching teams share their ideas during the event.

We partnered with Microsoft for the first time this year and InnoFest teams were able to ask Microsoft experts questions about a range of technical topics, including using mixed-reality and Power Platform to explore ideas.

Bringing ideas to life

InnoFest has generated a variety of ideas over the last several years: hazard databases, chatbots, and virtual staff orientations, to name just a few. One example of an idea that was developed into a tangible product because of InnoFest is our E-Limit search tool.

The E-Limit tool houses key information related to B.C. exposure limits in a centralized location. This one-stop resource helps internal and external stakeholders quickly and easily find the information they need around exposure limits to help keep workers and workplaces healthy and safe.

Upon completion of a prototype, WorkSafeBC’s Innovation Services team refined the E-Limit tool to prepare it to go live on The team used several different technologies in the development of the tool, including Python for programming, Django for the framework, and Swoosh for the search engine.

“It’s been great to introduce new technology, test it, and show that it works for our needs. And Agile testing helped the project move swiftly,” says Omar Naser, who led the Innovation Services team in developing the final product.

Another idea that came from InnoFest was our #SpotTheHazards Instagram contest. Its premise is based on research indicating that gamification is an effective way of reaching out to and engaging with young people — especially around the topic of workplace health and safety. The contest, which asked young workers to move through a series of Instagram stories and answer polls to identify hazards, used a strategy that enables a “sticky” learning process to help users keep workplace health and safety top of mind.

Forward-thinking employees drive change

InnoFest is an initiative that engages our employees in a journey toward a stronger future for WorkSafeBC. It also illustrates how there is no single path to innovation: everyone can contribute to improving our organization by having a forward-thinking attitude and a willingness to learn, collaborate, and share their unique perspectives.

If you’re interested in making a difference with your peers in an innovative atmosphere, we want to hear from you. Visit to learn more about our current opportunities.