Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

The 3 Kinds of Innovation

ARCHIVES
Image via Dusit/Shutterstock.com

The term innovation makes people nervous—we often think “innovation” requires us to come up with something entirely new. But that's not the only approach to innovation out there. I agree with the view offered by The Partnership for Public Service, that there are three types of innovation:

  1. Adapting a proven practice into a new context
  2. Improving what is already being done
  3. And developing an entirely new approach.

So, as we see, innovation does not necessarily mean doing something completely new. Within the context of OPM’s Innovation Lab, we believe that innovation requires three key elements: empathy, diversity, and risk taking. 

First, we build empathy with methods that let us walk a mile in the shoes of those who are part of a problem’s ecosystem.  You do this by giving everyone a chance to observe and listen to the experiences of others they may not fully understand. 

Second, diversity has a great deal of importance in innovating—different voices must be brought to the table to get representation of diverse perspectives on a problem. Those in the room must be open to all participants, regardless of status in the organization, sharing their own ideas.

Lastly, people must be willing to take risks—try something different, be willing to voice your “wild” idea without fear of personal repercussions.  These three elements are what drive innovation, collaboration, and results.

Though OPM’s methods work for us, we’re always trying to improve. My fellow panelist Dave Uejio, Lead for Talent Acquisition at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, introduced me to a lean start-up approach to innovating. He said, “Start with the question, ‘What are we solving for?’”

Bring strategy, operations, and technical employees together at the beginning and have a minimum viable product released within 4-6 weeks. This gets you through failure and iteration faster. I realized these lean start-up methods fit nicely with the Human-Centered Design approach we use in OPM’s Innovation Lab, which focuses on rapid iteration and prototyping—we plan to integrate lean start-up practices and principles into our program.  

We can always improve what is already being done, adapt a proven strategy into a new context or develop an entirely new approach. Innovation, I’ve learned, is not exclusive to any of the above. 

Dr. Sydney Smith-Heimbrock served on a panel entitled “Collaboration, Innovation and Results: Leveraging the Pathways Programs to Meet Your Mission" at Excellence in Government Live on Sept. 6. 

(Image via Dusit/Shutterstock.com)

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.