Voices from Accenture Public Service

Accenture’s survey of governments across 10 countries uncovered some surprising insights: Government innovation leaders are more likely to carve out space for innovation. They’re more likely to use creative incentives to encourage government innovation. And they generate a steady stream of ideas through a greater number of ideation sources.

In this post, I’d like to share what we learned about the Execution pillar of the Accenture Innovation Framework.

Execution is about turning government innovation ideas into reality. It requires a sound process—and the right skills—for evaluating ideas, using a Proof of Concept (POC) to test those with the most potential and rigorously assessing the results of every POC. The final steps? Scaling the innovation and then continually evaluating how it’s performing in the real world.

While the benefits of strong Execution are clear, Accenture’s survey found that it remains difficult for many governments around the world. About three-quarters (77 percent) reported that moving from pilot to broad implementation at scale is a significant challenge. Not surprisingly, budgetary constraints and lack of technological capabilities emerged as the most pervasive barriers (cited by 82 percent and 83 percent, respectively). Interestingly, 77 percent of respondents told us they have a risk-averse culture, while nearly as many (73 percent) indicated a lack of support from leadership and key decision makers.

Another key obstacle: lack of skills. Sixty-two percent of governments told us they need more access to user experience (UX) design skills, design thinking skills, and user research skills—competencies that have become essential when serving digital citizens.

Does all of that mean Execution is a lost cause? That governments are not able to move from POC to full-scale implementation of innovative ideas helping citizens?  Not at all.

Based on what we’ve seen work in government and its constraints, Accenture has identified four key steps to better government innovation Execution: Start by talking with citizens. Put a process in place. Think like entrepreneurs. And honestly assess your available skills (both technical and “soft”) and which ones you’ll need. Explore the how and why of those steps as well as more about the Execution pillar here.

My next post will share what we discovered about the Impact & Benefits pillar of the Accenture Innovation Framework. Until then, please weigh in about your own experiences with executing government innovation. Where are your opportunities to strengthen your process and/or your skills? How might you lean on partners to fill skills gaps and improve your ability to turn great ideas into real-world results?

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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