Is Innovation Alive In Your Agency?

The Center for American Progress in partnership with The Young Foundation recently teamed up to identify ways public leaders can ensure a constant flow of promising ideas into the federal government.

This report, How to Generate Innovation in the Public Sector, provides the following recommendations:

Identify priority fields for innovation: The government must first identify the fields of public action where innovation is most needed.
Open up the space for ideas: The second priority should be to widen the range of options, creating more space for creative and entrepreneurial solutions.
Finance innovation: At least 1 percent of agency budgets should be used to develop, test, and scale up new and better ways of doing things in the public sector.
Fix incentives: Greater recognition may be both more effective and more efficient than existing programs and initiatives.
Change the culture: Innovation has to be supported from the top, and senior leadership in the executive and the legislative branches should signal that they recognize that some ideas will fail, and that’s acceptable.
Grow what works: There should be a much stronger focus in government on trying to scale up ideas that work—even if that means closing down popular programs or initiatives that have been less effective in the past.

This report also identifies over twenty ways governments around the world have generated ideas to stimulate innovation in government. They are organized under five themes:

• Unleash the creative talents of agency staff
• Set up dedicated teams responsible for promoting innovation
• Divert a small proportion of your budget to harnessing innovation
• Collaborate with outsiders to help solve problems
• Look at an issue from different perspectives to notice things you wouldn’t otherwise

You can read about these innovative ideas here.

In a white paper published by The Ken Blanchard Companies, Managing and Motivating Intrapreneurs, intrapreneurs are described as “someone who innovates inside a company.” A common characteristic is that “intrapreneurs like to push the envelope of the status quo.” This white paper goes on to say, “(Intrapreneurs) motivation for innovation is not necessarily increased tenure with the organization, or even to get rich, but rather their desire to leave a mark, to make a difference.” Does this sound like many of your public sector employees?

Read Managing and Motivating Intrapreneurs.

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