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

3 Ways to Find Innovation in Your Organization

ARCHIVES
Image via Peshkova/Shutterstock.com

This fast-paced political city has an atmosphere thick with ambition. Everyone seems to have a mission in Washington D.C. I admire the air of professionalism on the morning commute, the suits and ties, the business skirt-sneaker combos. We walk with purpose, aiming to accomplish our daily tasks efficiently, awaiting relief on Friday at 5 p.m. This world is new to me and when I first joined the Veterans Affairs Innovation Initiative team (VAi2) I did not expect my daily tasks to bring about actual change. But they have.

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” The internal working environment at VAi2 is coherent and fluid; not only do my teammates succeed by working together, but this collaboration is the essence of innovation. It results in and an abundance of productivity and perspective.

As a result, we recognize that some of the best ideas lie outside our little office. “VAi2 brings fresh thinking to Departmental challenges,” says Jonah Czerwinski, director of VAi2, “by sourcing ideas from VA employees, entrepreneurs, and industry.”

In order to reach those ideas, we gather information from the VA employees working on the front lines with our Veterans. To do so, we host:

  1. Industry competitions. We find new solutions outside of government. The Industry Innovation Competitions are held annually and are designed to obtain ideas from the private sector in order to solve the Department’s most pressing challenges. Solutions will then come from all sorts of organizations - businesses large and small, start-ups, non-profits, and academic/research institutions.
  2. Employee competitions. Employees on the front line are often in the best position to identity areas for innovation. They know their needs; they understand and see problems firsthand. By providing these innovators with funding and support, we enable them to transform their ideas into reality.
  3. Prize contests. These contests are an alternative method for engaging the private sector. We voice a problem at hand and outline the solution we are trying to achieve, and then award prizes to contestants with the best solutions.

Veterans have put their lives on the line for our country. They deserve the very best in care and benefits.  And by tapping into the talent and expertise of individuals in and outside of government to contribute creative ideas, we get results.

Check back for upcoming posts where we'll detail some of those innovations.  In the meantime, what challenges does your agency face when implementing innovations?

(Image via Peshkova/Shutterstock.com)

Joy H. Hahn is a special contributor to Government Executive. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park and earned her degree in Communication Studies with a double major in English Language and Literature. She currently co-hosts with VA News.

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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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