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Balanced Innovation and What It Means for Governance Technology Leaders

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Over the last century, the American defense industry has been arguably one of the most innovative sectors in the world. However, when it comes to information technology innovation, there is a perception that this level of dominance has not kept up with the commercial sector, both domestically and internationally. Many expect government agencies to create and embrace a culture of innovation and environment like Silicon Valley startups. , but I think the reality is that this doesn’t always translate and shouldn’t.

Driving innovation across government is multifaceted and complex. Commercial best practices, technological advances, and strategies abound, but given the way various government agencies build, deliver, and maintain software, they are not always applicable or workable. Hmm.

Definition of innovation

There are many different types of innovation, but sometimes we forget that they all share one common goal. Whether it’s new technology, new business models, or new ways of doing things, innovation is about making improvements and driving progress.

This helps define U.S. government innovation as balanced innovation. Balanced innovation is the process of creating change by developing and implementing new ideas while focusing on the efficiency and effectiveness of traditional processes and products. To achieve this across government, the agency maintains a balance between top-down and bottom-up approaches, focusing on both short-term and long-term results. The goal of balanced innovation is to help governments respond to a rapidly changing world while ensuring that each institution’s mission remains a top priority.

Balanced innovation in government may appear to distribute resources more evenly among various agencies and departments. Focus on collaboration between inter-agency and inter-agency initiatives. Increased use of data and analytics to drive decision making. Or focus more on the customer experience. It can even be a complete network or software overhaul. The bottom line is that the culture, mindset and mission of government are incomparable with the private sector. So it would be unwise to impose the same innovation standards on government agencies.

Splits for various motives

Making long-standing organizations within government “look like” Silicon Valley start-ups without acknowledging the existing culture is usually futile. There is a fundamental difference between software development companies and organizations such as governments whose primary business is not to sell software.

This split can be traced back to various motives. Software development companies are profit driven. To keep your business running, you need to sell your software. Organizations like governments, on the other hand, are motivated by mission accomplishment. They use the software internally to help them reach their goals. For software companies and many private companies, continuous experimentation is the norm for staying relevant, engaging with users, and staying ahead of the competition. That is not the case and not feasible for government agencies.

Many of our peers become disillusioned with government because it is perceived as bureaucracy and resistance to change when it comes to proposing new technologies or questioning why organizations are using old solutions. I’ve seen Anyone who has worked for a Fortune 500 company also knows that these attributes are not unique to government. Red tape, delays and decision fatigue are rampant in every industry.

But for government agencies, it’s a little more expensive because technology isn’t their core mission. Technology continues to inform and support us, but software is a means to an end, not an end in itself. This can cause dissonance when engineers feel that the ultimate mission is software, but that is seldom the case. Instead, the focus should be on how the system supports the final stages of the mission and how to avoid straying technology decisions or keeping the mission from moving forward.

Successful innovation

The most successful technology leaders in government have one thing in common. It is deeply aware that the agency’s “customers” are incredibly unique and leverages his practice of balanced innovation to serve them. It looks like this:

  • The services provided by the agency are patron Actively partner with functional stakeholders for the greater mission
  • Learn to build partnerships over time, understand the challenges of each agency’s stakeholders, understand their domains, and speak their language
  • Remember, the role of technology is just a supporting cast. You will never be the star of a show.
  • Focus on practical solutions, Mission Necessity Drive technical solutions
  • Recognize the need to consider return on investment even in non-profit settings, especially government agencies

A balanced approach to innovation, done right, will create institutions that can successfully achieve mission-critical goals, continue to tackle new challenges, and are ready to meet what the future brings. I can.

Vice President of Solutions Development at TIAG, an innovative technology company providing strategic, transformative commercial and defense solutions.