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Fostering innovation to achieve mission critical goals

As new Federal, state, and local administrations take office, and the speed of technology changes the way we work, it’s important to create an environment where employees and agency leaders are empowered to bring forth new solutions.

But what does innovation mean in a government setting? And how do we achieve innovation while operating within policies and laws? We'll highlight obstacles that often stall innovation within government agencies, and present solutions to help teams achieve shared goals.

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Fostering innovation to achieve mission critical goals

  1. Fostering innovation to achieve mission critical goals April 12, 2017 Deanna Grady, Sr. Manager, Government Sales - LinkedIn Robin E Hunt, CoFounder and Partner - ThinkData Solutions, Inc.
  2. 2 Deanna Grady Sr. Manager, Government Sales from LinkedIn Fostering innovation to achieve mission critical goals
  3. Agenda • Introduction: Robin Hunt • Innovation in the context of government • How to foster innovation as a team leader • How to innovate as a team member • How to use technology to drive innovation • Takeaways • Resources • Q&A 3
  4. 4 Robin E. Hunt Co-Founder and Partner, ThinkData Solutions, Inc. author, developer and educator Fostering innovation to achieve mission critical goals
  5. inəˈvāSH(ə)n/ 1: the introduction of something new 2: a new idea, method, or device Innovation can happen anywhere 5
  6. Why is innovation important? “By putting innovation at the center of the organization, from top to bottom, you can improve the numbers; at the same time, you will discover a much better way of doing things — more productive, more responsive, more inclusive, even more fun.” - Fast Company 6
  7. Achieving mission critical goals ● Requires alignment across the team and agency ● Works best when goals are clear ● Benefits from advance planning ● Succeeds with disciplined project management “Customers are wrestling with mission-critical decisions, evaluating solutions that all sound the same, and struggling to achieve the value they expect, when experience has shown them that far too many solutions come packaged with a high degree of risk and a low probability of success.” - Jeff Thull Prime Resource Group 7
  8. 8 “Invention is about creating something new, while innovation introduces the concept of “use” of an idea or method.” - Bill Walker IT guy and globalization driver “I think innovation also is the ability to re-imagine things that already are.” - Eric Schmidt CEO, Alphabet
  9. Impactful inventions Light bulb 1879 Global positioning 1957 Toilet 1596 9
  10. Innovation arises from invention Light bulb Energy efficient GPS navigation Dedicated devices Toilet Water saving 10
  11. 1. How do governments innovate? 11 “Incremental innovations occur everywhere, but breakthrough innovations— the kind that leverage new technologies and business models to drive down costs, increase accessibility, and improve services—have tended to remain the province of the private sector. “Fortunately, that type of innovation is beginning to trickle into government as well. Leaders inside the public sector are learning to pursue these major breakthroughs without the benefit of the profit motives that drive entrepreneurs elsewhere.” - Stanford Social Innovation Review
  12. Innovate when: ● There’s a better solution ● You’re required to work differently ● The timing is right for change ● Task is done the same way for many years ● You need a better way to measure outcomes 12
  13. Working through obstacles ● Controlled processes ● Legal requirements ● Common objections 13
  14. Controlled processes Often entail: ●More paperwork and documentation ●An act of Congress (literally) ●Typical risks of change However, a framework and documentation can provide guidance that makes projects easier. 14
  15. Legal requirements include: ● Document archiving policies and laws ● Information and privacy policies ● Review board for contracts etc. ● Compliance standards and policies 15
  16. How to move past objections ●“We already have a way to do this.” ○ How is your idea better? ●“It’s too hard to change.” ○ How can you make it easier? ●“There’s too much of a learning curve.” ○ What training is needed? 16
  17. Learning Path 17
  18. 2. How to foster innovation as a team leader. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” - John F. Kennedy 18
  19. Do an innovation assessment ● What are you doing to foster innovation within your team? ● When your team comes up with an idea, how often does it come to fruition? ● What is your reaction when the same person suggests new ideas frequently? ● How often do you think about innovation? 19 Building Creative Organizations
  20. Motivate others to innovate Create a culture that supports innovation and ideas ● Brainstorm solutions as a team ● Encourage the team to embrace new ideas ● Use training to help reduce skill gaps “You've got to think about big things while you're doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” - Alvin Toffler, Futurist 20
  21. Use an innovation framework ● Provides a safe process for the ongoing elimination and creation of ideas ● Ensures your team knows how to handle each step of the process ● Keeps the process of innovation moving forward “Having an innovation framework to support the development of new ideas provides companies with a strategic approach to innovation from the inside out.” - Heidi Hattendorf Dir. Business Strategy, Motorola 21
  22. Walk ideas through the process 22 “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.” -Thomas Edison, Inventor
  23. Learn to spot innovators ●Always discussing a new way ●Seeing problems and suggesting solutions ●Learning something new ●Trying to do things differently Innovators often don’t realize it. Leaders often miss the signs. They are: Innovative Characteristics Strategic Thinker... Curious... Passionate ... Problem solver ... Flexible... Handles objections... 23
  24. 3. How to innovate as a team member "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." -Henry Ford, Inventor 24
  25. 3 Steps to innovate ● Find a real problem to solve ● Identify potential solutions ● Gain buy-in from leadership 25 “Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learnt. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and where appropriate profits.” - Edward deBono, Brain Training And Lateral Thinking Pioneer Breaking Out of a Rut
  26. Find a real problem to solve ● One problem can be a byproduct of another ○ Break it down to isolate the real issue ● List problems and create a hierarchy ○ Main problem → underlying problems ● Agree on which problem you’ll be solving ● Make a plan 26
  27. Identify potential solutions ●Research how others may have solved it ● Evaluate data ●Whiteboard ideas ●Leverage existing technology ●Discuss proposed solution with others to preempt obstacles 27
  28. Gain buy-in from leadership 1.Present the real issue and objective 2.Communicate your vision 3.Evaluate the risks and rewards 4.Estimate pre and post time and effort 5.Develop an implementation plan and projected timeline “You can’t inspire people if you are going to be uninspiring.” - Robert Reich, Commentator and Professor 28
  29. 5. How to use technology to drive innovation “The great myth of our times is that technology is communication.” - Libby Larsen, Composer 29
  30. Technology supports innovation 30 “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” - Zig Ziglar, Author ● Capture and enhance ideas ● Reduce inefficiencies ● Access information faster ● Facilitate iteration ● Gain buy-in and approvals
  31. Technology enables project success ● Target a completion date ● Manage timelines and milestones ● Identify dependencies ●Keep stakeholders informed ● Provide high-level overview 31 Project Management Fundamentals
  32. Online collaboration Create documents and easily share them online. Share within a project file rather than email attachments. ● OneDrive ● SharePoint ● Dropbox ● Confluence 32 SharePoint Online Essential Training
  33. Project management Stay on track, improve time management, and facilitate team communication. ● Microsoft Project ● Trello ● Basecamp ● Visual Studio Team Services 33 Microsoft® Project 2016: Essential Training
  34. Diagram tools and workflow Identify detailed flows and tasks within each phase of the project and across functional areas. ● Microsoft Visio ● Microsoft SharePoint Approval Workflows ● Windows Problem Steps Recorder 34 The Basics of Data for Analytics
  35. Takeaways 35 ● Innovation doesn’t mean a new invention ● Create a shared understanding of innovation ● Encourage a culture, leadership approach, hiring processes, incentives, role expectations and training that facilitates and breeds innovation ● Develop processes to generate ideas ● Ensure you have the technology tools to turn ideas into completed projects ● Share best practices and successes
  36. Resources ● Fostering Innovation - Learning Path ● Building Creative Organizations - unlocked course ● Breaking Out of a Rut ● The Basics of Data for Analytics ● SharePoint Online Essential Training ● Microsoft® Project 2016: Essential Training 36
  37. Connect with us Robin E. Hunt Deanna Grady For more learning on innovation, visit 37
  38. Q&A 38