In a report released in March, the Partnership for Public Service found that innovators in federal government face huge barriers. It looked at the characteristics of innovative leaders and the hurdles they face.
According to the report:
Federal innovation leaders stand out from their private-sector counterparts because of their ability to drive innovation despite complex processes, competing agendas, deep hierarchies and static cultures that can stifle even the most insignificant collaboration and risk - let alone real innovation.
My colleague Ann All noted in a 2008 post that with IT projects, the feds cling to the status quo, rather than seeking real innovation. Yet in establishing a career track for IT program managers and expanding the roles of agency CIOs, there's certainly more drive now to at least keep major projects on the rails.
However, there's much more to be done in establishing a culture of innovation. The Partnership for Public Service, drawing from the 2010 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey conducted by the Office of Personnel Management, found that although 91 percent of federal employees are looking for ways to perform their jobs better, only 39 percent believe innovation and creativity are rewarded.
Federal Computer Week quotes the report, saying the results indicate:
... federal workers are motivated to drive change through creativity, but need stronger support from their organizations and leaders to do so.
It found the top five agencies to encouraging innovation were NASA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the General Services Administration, the State Department and the Army. Meanwhile, the least open to innovation included the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, Transportation, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.