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updated: 7/9/2014 4:39 PM

'It's not the same old Lake Zurich,' says employee who shifts to innovation director

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  • Michael Duebner has shifted into a new role as Lake Zurich's innovation director. He had been technology director until the village board approved the move to the innovation post Monday.

      Michael Duebner has shifted into a new role as Lake Zurich's innovation director. He had been technology director until the village board approved the move to the innovation post Monday.
    Courtesy of village of Lake Zurich

 
 

Lake Zurich government not only has new logos and a fresh village slogan, but officials there also want to innovate.

Similar to private sector businesses, Michael Duebner has become Lake Zurich's innovation director. He had the conventional title of technology director until the village board approved the shift Monday.

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"It's not the same old Lake Zurich it used to be," Duebner told the Daily Herald on Wednesday. "We keep moving things forward."

While an innovation boss is common for private businesses seeking competitive advantages through strategies and practices, Village Manager Jason Slowinski informed elected officials, such is not the case in local government. He said village research showed the position exists in a few cities on the East and West coasts.

Slowinski said eliminating the technology position in favor of an innovation director better addresses village needs.

In a memo, Slowinski outlined seven key responsibilities for Duebner. They include serving as a resource to other village departments in creating an innovative, customer-driven mindset and using new technology to advance civil engagement.

Slowinski said achieving greater efficiency in village government will be another focus for Duebner. He credited Duebner for already improving electronic communication with residents through social media, online surveys and creation of the village's new website.

"This technology strategy has been, without doubt, an overwhelming success," Slowinski said.

Duebner departed as Des Plaines' information technology director in 2012 for a similar job in Lake Zurich. His annual Lake Zurich salary of $124,862 won't change with the new title of innovation director.

In May, Lake Zurich trustees approved a new village seal, flag, logos and slogan in what was described as a rebranding effort for about $3,000, which included work by a graphic designer. Officials said they want to establish a contemporary, consistent brand through the new images and the slogan "At the Heart of Community."

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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