What is True Government Innovation?

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News

August 9, 2017

What is True Government Innovation?

Each year government agencies are asked to do more with less. Budget pressures, calls for increased accountability, and taxpayers’ expectations of transparency – all of these factors can stress existing government systems and processes. It’s no surprise that most organizations simply end up doing less with less.

The only way we can actually do more with less is to change the way we operate. In other words, we must innovate. But what does true government innovation really look like? And how can we achieve it?

This conundrum is certainly not helped by the traditional government contracting business model, which encourages contractors to secure a contract with an agency and then do everything they can to keep the customer in the scope of the contract. This model, by its very nature, prevents innovation.

On the other hand, completely upending the contracting model hasn’t historically worked either. Many government agencies have tried to partner with Silicon Valley businesses, but their lack of experience working within the boundaries of procurement and contracting norms has led to lackluster results.

Instead, we need to change the way we think about solving government problems and replace the “keep the customer in scope” approach with a “pilot and prove” approach that leverages design thinking and lean start-up methodologies:

Design thinking requires shifting to a solution-focused and action-oriented mindset. Beginning with targeted research to help you understand and empathize with your user base, you define true needs, develop a range of creative solutions, prototype the most promising ones, and continuously measure results.

Lean Start-up methodologies build on the design thinking mindset by favoring experimentation, feedback gathering, and iterative design. Instead of investing in expensive, laborious development upfront, lean start-up follows a “learn-build-measure-repeat” workflow.

Embracing these mindsets reduces risk, accelerates results, and delivers more value. By focusing on a pilot and prove model, and being willing to enter into flexible contracts that deliver business outcomes rather than bodies, Qlarion has been able to achieve real innovation with our government customers and accomplish more in a year than most typical contractors do in a lifetime.

If you’d like to learn more about how Qlarion can help your agency modernize and innovate, contact us here.