On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
- Workforce = mission. If you don’t have the right people it is a recipe for disaster. But getting the recipe right is a huge challenge. So how do you make it work? Insights from the Government Accountability Office.
You can find all of our programs online: DorobekINSIDER.com and GovLoop Insights at http://insights.govloop.com.
But up front: Making government innovation work - and matter
I have a few theorems about government -- theorems that I think can be proven by data. One is that the business of government is generally more difficult than private sector work. Another is that government -- again, generally -- and an inferiority complex. That is understandable given the public perception out there right now, but… in some ways, government insiders are even harder on themselves, if that’s possible.
One of the data points is government innovation. Despite the innovation that comes out of government -- the Internet and GPS are the most common, but there are the remarkable transformations to wartime health care, where fewer people are dying. Yet I think few people would say government is innovative.
I would generally say "no", especially as a govt gets larger and more complex. I am not talking about govt workers in general; I am talking about the overall organization. Read two recent articles in The Washington Post: A Watchdog Grows Up: The Inside Story of the CFPB (1/11/14) which talked about how the stand-up was led by people who sought to be very innovative, but as the bureaucracy settled in, they became frustrated and left. And Federal Senior Executives Growing Weary and Risk Averse (1/24/14) about how Federal senior executives are becoming more risk averse, afraid to take chances for fear of damage to their careers.
There are bright spots, but for govt to change dramatically, it will take a top down movement to either train, appoint, or hire managers who want innovation, who support their staff, who are willing to fight the bureaucracy, who are willing to go to their managers to go to Congress/Legislature/Parliament to get things changed.
And, of course, the bureaucracy, which is both required and needed, must be tamed for the mission and not for the bureaucracy.
This will be among the issues we discuss on GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER LIVE on Wednesday at 12n ET as we discuss government innovation. I hope you will join us.
Some of my topic areas:
- What is government innovation?
- Why does government innovation matter?
- How do leaders spur innovation?
- How do others in government find a way to be innovative?
And we have a great panel to discuss these issues:
- Lena Trudeau (@ltrudeau), Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic Innovation, General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service. She also runs the Presidential Innovation Fellowship.
- Matthew Burton, (@matthewburton) who served as the deputy CIO and acting CIO of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Jay Nath, (@Jay_Nath) Chief Innovation Officer, The City of San Francisco
- Jason Shen, (@@jasonshen), Presidential Innovation Fellow. He is author of the book, Winning Isn't Normal: Meditations on the Art of Ass-Kicking
Some of the innovation prep work that I’m doing:
- Matthew Burton in O’Reilly’s Radar: Lessons learned from my time at the CFPB.
- Jason Shen: These 3 Federal Government Jobs Might Actually Just Change Everything and A New Adventure: Working at the Smithsonian as a Presidential Innovation Fellow.
- Fast Company’s list of the world’s most innovative companies. The list include one government organization, from India -- Universal Identification Authority of India. FYI: Google tops that list. Also: Fast Company: Twelve innovation lessons for 2014
- FastCompany: Why Innovation Matters
- Forbes: Innovation Matters; It's Why You Care More About Apple than Kraft
- BusinessWeek: Making Innovation Matter
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
- GovExec: More Snow Days No Longer Means Less Work for Feds - “Increasingly, when an agency is closed, employees with telework agreements are expected to conduct their work from home.”
- FCW: IP switch could threaten FAA systems, says integrator - “The rogue wireless access points and frequency-jamming strategies that hackers have sometimes used to prey on wireless customers using public networks could be a threat for the FAA facilities in a new IP-based network.”
- Washington Post: Congress focusing on significant changes to federal security-clearance process - “The outbreak of comity in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, often a sharply partisan place, means the government’s security-clearance process is in for significant changes.”
- Washington Post: NSA employee implicated in Snowden probe resigned, memo says - “A National Security Agency employee has resigned from his job after admitting to FBI investigators that he allowed Edward Snowden, then an NSA contractor, to use his personal computer credentials to gain access to classified information, according to an agency memo.”
- Oregon Live: Frustrations mount as Oregon secretary of state databases remain offline after website breach - “The department's Central Business Registry and ORESTAR, the state's online campaign finance reporting system, were temporarily taken offline as a precaution after officials detected "an intrusion" around Feb. 4.”
- Federal Times: Poor IRS customer service hurts taxpayers - “Poor customer service means that many more people will pay someone else to do their taxes, which simply becomes another cost of dealing with the federal government. ”
- Federal News Radio: Army enlists public to solve battlefield equipment gaps - “The service is testing a new concept that asks soldiers to identify combat equipment challenges, but lets the public help solve them.”
DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder... yes, we’re trying to help you make your water-cooler time better too...
- USAToday: Poor IRS customer service hurts taxpayers: The IRS lost 10,000 employees between 2010 and 2012
- The New York Times: Using Addictive Games to Build Better Brains: Researchers are studying the qualities that make video games like Flappy Bird hard to put down, in order to build games that improve memory or other functions or even treat disorders.
- FirstRound Capital: Unlocking the Power of Stable Teams with Twitter’s SVP of Engineering: Build strong teams first. Assign them problems later; Keep teams together; Go modular. Remove dependencies; Establish a short, regular ship cycle.