Other parts of this series:
- Surveying innovation in government
- Five must-haves of government innovation
- The secret lives of government innovation leaders
- Do you make space for government innovation?
- Government innovation starts with steady stream of ideas
- Ideas to action: Executing on government innovation
- Quantifying the impact of government innovation: The proof is in the pudding
- Weaving government innovation into your strategy
- Lead with Innovation. (Your Culture Will Follow.)
- Remember the “Why” of government innovation
We’ve covered a lot of ground in the “what” and “how” of government innovation. Now I want to wrap it all up with a clear reminder of the “why.”
The purpose of government innovation isn’t to make great use of cool technologies (although that’s a worthy aim). Nor is it to take on new terrain in how you engage and incent your government workforce (though, again, those are important goals).
At the end of the day, the “why” of government innovation comes down to two existential challenges:
- Citizens expect more. Citizens now want government experiences and services on par with, or superior to, what they receive from commercial providers. They no longer give government a “pass” when it comes to responsiveness to their needs.
- Businesses expect more. Global economic competition means government has a critical role to play in economic success. Much like citizens, businesses want to work with governments that are willing and able to meet their high expectations for public infrastructure and services.
As the bar keeps getting higher, government is unlikely to meet these higher expectations by doing more of the same—or by doing more of the same in a more efficient or elegant manner.
The only way to keep pace with the increasing demands of what people and businesses want is through active experimentation: Generating fresh ideas. Testing out the best ideas. Taking advantage of new technologies that make it easy to experiment on a small scale. Being willing to fail, learn and start again.
That, my friends, is what innovation is all about.
So while I hope you’ve learned from the lessons of government innovation leaders, I also hope that what currently constitutes a “leader” will soon become the norm. As our study has shown, there are many ways to do innovation well, but all of them share a common foundation: a willingness to try and a commitment to keep at it.
In other words, innovation is within reach for every government. Get started today. Prepare to be challenged. Prepare to be exhilarated. Prepare to make a genuine and lasting impact on the people, businesses and communities you serve.
Want to know more about government innovation? If you haven’t already, please take some time to review our full report. And stay in touch with me as you move forward with your own experiments in government innovation.