It has been 5 years since President Obama named Aneesh Chopra as the first CTO of the United States. It has been 4 years since the US government launched Challenge.gov as a platform for the government offices in the United States to drive innovation and collaboration with its citizens.
They were great initiatives, but not much has happened since then.
Just as it is in the private sector, governments must continuously reinvent themselves and their approaches and given the lack of new bold initiatives from the United States government, I am now wondering who will take the lead on government driven innovation. I think the future winner will originate from a country that has the following nine elements in place:
- An existing (strong) platform for government driven innovation.
- An understanding on the highest level that you can’t control things; you can only create the right frameworks and conditions needed for things to happen.
- A high level understanding of innovation and more importantly the willingness to continue to experiment with the processes themselves.
- An educational program targeted towards the specific needs of government employees.
- A sense of urgency that breaks the “business as usual” thinking that is too often associated with the public sector.
- A strong understanding on how communication works. Perception is just as important as proof.
- The ability to create a methodology and concept that can be applied within many government entities – and perhaps even outside their own country.
- An ability to balance the need for control with the need for letting things flow freely – often from the button up.
- An ability to merge internal resources with external partners – locally as well as internationally.
This is just my quick and dirty list of things that needs to be in place in order to become a world-class government innovator. This needs more work so I appreciate your comments and suggestions.
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Stefan Lindegaard is an author, speaker and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, social media and intrapreneurship.