Federal Manager's Daily Report

The Partnership for Public Service has identified common barriers that prevent innovative ideas raised inside the government from coming to fruition, while also providing tips for overcoming them.

“At the agency level, innovation requires an organizational culture that encourages employees to take risks by developing and implementing new ideas. But employees do not always have leadership support or the skills needed to break through the status quo. In addition, agency officials often find it difficult to reach consensus on how to move forward, and are reluctant to provide the resources to test and, if successful, expand the new approaches,” it said in a posting.

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“On the government-wide level, policy differences from one organization to the next prevent innovation from being quickly applied to new contexts—what is permitted in one agency may not be permitted in another. In addition, without consistent technologies across government, programs created in one organization often cannot be adopted by another that uses a different technology platform,” it said.

Suggestions, in a second posting, include: defining the problem to be solved in terms of the needs of the customer or user; deciding what success will look like and how it could be achieved; getting buy-in from leadership and establishing funding in advance; creating a sustainability plan including both the skills and funding that will be needed after the initial stage; creating metrics to measure success or failure and holding team members accountable; and using existing processes such as incorporating the innovation in regular budget requests and agency strategic plans.

Federal Manager’s Handbook, 5th Ed.