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
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

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