How Innovation Stands to Benefit Federal Agencies

 
 
By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 02-09-2015 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Why Federal Employees Want to Innovate
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    Why Federal Employees Want to Innovate

    60% of respondents said they are motivated to innovate because of their commitment to public service. 49% are propelled by their desire to improve job satisfaction. 46% say they wish to innovate because they desire to improve job satisfaction.
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    Federal Agencies Could Support Innovation More
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    Federal Agencies Could Support Innovation More

    53% of respondents say their agency either has not taken concrete steps to encourage innovative thinking, or they are unaware of steps that may have been taken. 64% say their department or agency lacks clearly defined processes to develop new ideas.
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    New Initiatives Not Tracked
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    New Initiatives Not Tracked

    49% of respondents disagree with the statement that their department or agency tracks performance of new initiatives after they have been implemented. 66% said their agency does not set benchmarks for innovative goals.
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    Facilitating Innovation Is Unclear
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    Facilitating Innovation Is Unclear

    Respondents are split over what agencies can do to facilitate innovation. 48% of respondents said their agency should make incremental adjustments in order to become more innovative. 42% of respondents said they believe a total overhaul is needed.
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    Inspiration for New Ideas
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    Inspiration for New Ideas

    46% of respondents said their co-workers inspire new ideas, 43% said they seek inspiration from private sector companies, and 40% said they draw on other departments and agencies. Only 23% named universities. 16% indicated citizens, and 15% draw on think tanks.
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    Innovation Support Gets Mixed Grades
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    Innovation Support Gets Mixed Grades

    45% of respondents rate their department or agency's support for innovation as unsatisfactory or poor. But 55% said their organization's support for innovation is good, satisfactory or excellent.
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    Employees Recommend Overhaul
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    Employees Recommend Overhaul

    42% of respondents said they believe a total overhaul of the current system to foster innovation would be best. 48% recommend making gradual adjustments.
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    Funding for Innovation
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    Funding for Innovation

    44% of respondents said their department or agency uses current funding streams to fund innovative initiatives. Only 14% said their department or agency creates new funding streams, or acquires outside money to drive innovation.
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    Innovation Squelchers
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    Innovation Squelchers

    Lack of leadership support, risk-averse culture and lack of institutional support are the main reasons respondents give for the barriers to innovation, at 60%, 59% and 56%, respectively.
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    Independent Projects Foster Innovation
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    Independent Projects Foster Innovation

    Some agencies are encouraging innovative thinking by letting employees work on independent projects. An example is BusinessUSA, a virtual solution started in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration, which facilitates the exchange of information between government and businesses.
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    Digital Tools and Innovation
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    Digital Tools and Innovation

    Asked to rate their department or agency's digital collaboration tools, such as social media, mobile apps and cloud-based, life-sharing tools, 42% of those surveyed said their tools were unsatisfactory or poor, 31% said they are satisfactory and 14% say they are good.
 

Every organization could benefit from supporting innovation in the workplace, and federal agencies are no different. A new survey identifies steps federal agencies can take to foster innovation, which include implementing clearly defined processes with specific targets for innovation, improving tracking how new initiatives have performed and enhancing digital collaboration tools. Accenture Federal Services and the Government Business Council researched the report, "Is Government Making Inroads to Innovation?" It assesses the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of 334 federal defense and civilian agency executives in 30 different civilian and defense agencies about their support for innovation. The report identifies top agency drivers of federal innovation including reduced costs, improved mission delivery and increased efficiency. "When presented with an environment that encourages innovation, federal employees have been able to create a positive impact on their agencies," said Tom Greiner, who leads Accenture's federal technology business. "By taking concrete steps to foster increased collaboration and innovation in the federal workplace, agencies will be better equipped to address current and future challenges."

 
 
 
 
 
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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