Critical Read

Government innovates, and people notice

IBM Center Innovation Report

What: "The Persistence of Innovation in Government: A Guide for Innovative Public Servants," by Sandford Borins, published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Why: Over the past two decades, government agencies have increasingly collaborated with other public entities and the private sector. Approximately two thirds of the applicants for the 2010 Harvard University Kennedy School's Innovations in American Government Awards reported collaborating outside the government, compared with 28 percent of award semifinalists between 1990 and 1994.

And as collaboration has increased, so has attention. Applicants for the 2010 awards have reported significantly more coverage of their projects than their counterparts from the early 1990s. Almost 90 percent of the 2010 semifinalists said their projects got some attention from the media.

The report also details the common obstacles innovators faced, and distills their experiences into a list of broad suggestions for both innovators and government executives.

Verbatim: "Societal awareness of public sector innovation has increased to the point where it is no longer a matter of only specialist concern among public servants, the proverbial inside baseball," Borins writes. "Public sector innovation has become more transparent, with increased media attention, more external evaluation, and more transfer of innovative ideas and practices."

Full Text: www.businessofgovernment.org

About the Author

Reid Davenport is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him on Twitter: @ReidDavenport.

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