Voices from Accenture Public Service

In my last post, I shared one of the most important findings of Accenture’s recent government innovation study: that leaders don’t approach innovation as a DIY effort. They’re more likely to work with multiple external partners, to seek collaboration from unexpected sources and, ultimately, to create “innovation ecosystems.” In this post, I want to share some of the other thought-provoking findings about what sets the leaders apart. 

Compared to everyone else (38.1%), government innovation leaders (60.4%) are more likely to email employees regularly to solicit ideas for innovation. They’re also more likely to dedicate time to discuss innovation (64.6% of leaders, 42.9% of other agencies).  

Interestingly, government leaders also make space—both literal and metaphoric—to nurture the work of innovation. For example, more than half of leaders (52.1%) offer coaching/mentors for innovators facing new challenges, while less than a third of others (30.9%) do. Leaders are more likely to have introduced design-thinking methods in the way the workforce collaborates (47.9% vs. 29.8%). And, they are more apt to have physical space—labs or studios, for example—to support ideation, prototyping and other innovation work (72.9% compared to 35.9%). 

The study also revealed how government innovation leaders overcome a common perceived barrier: lack of budget to compensate employees for innovation. Proving that money isn’t the only reward, leaders use creative incentives to help engage and encourage talent to drive greater innovation.  

Among the incentives that emerged in the research: 

  • Holding innovation- and ideation-related workshops with both internal and external participants 
  • Offering relevant training and learning for employees 
  • Having opportunities for honorary placements or fellowships inside OR outside the agency 
  • Providing opportunities to work and collaborate with external partners 
  • Associating employees’ names with specific innovative ideas 
  • Identifying the “innovator of the month” 

Are you making time and space for government innovation? Are you thinking outside the bank account when motivating your workforce? In the coming weeks, we’ll dig deeper into our research findings for each of the five pillars of Accenture’s Innovation Framework—starting with Ideation.  

In the meantime, please share your thoughts on what we’ve learned about government innovation leaders. For additional insights on bringing the back office to the forefront of government innovation, visit us here, and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. 

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