NASA scores high on innovation

Federal employees are eager to innovate, but garnering enough support from their managers and agency leaders to do so has proven to be anything but easy. 

Analysis by the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte revealed an overwhelming majority of employees (91.5 percent) said they are exploring new ways to do their jobs better. However, only 60 percent said they are encouraged to think creatively and come up with innovative ways of doing things. Additionally, just 40 percent said creativity and innovation are rewarded in the workplace, according to the "Achieving a Culture of Innovation” report.

“These scores suggest that the government needs to improve and is at risk of falling behind as the nation’s problems and challenges grow more complex,” the report stated. “Federal workers are motivated to drive change, but need stronger support from their organizations and leaders to do so.”

For the second consecutive year, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ranked highest on agency innovation. NASA’s score of 75 is almost 12 points higher than the governmentwide average. The space agency was followed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the General Services Administration and the State Department.

The least innovative agency was the Securities and Exchange Commission, whose score dipped 2.1 percent from 2010. Slightly more than one-fifth of SEC employees said creativity and innovation are rewarded – a 17 percent decrease from the 2010 worker survey. The departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Labor and Housing and Urban Development scored five points or more below the governmentwide average for innovation.

The report called on government leaders to bridge the innovation gap between the federal and private sectors, urging leaders to “take the initiative to foster a culture of innovation, engage, empower and encourage employees and reward creativity.”

The data for the report was taken from the 2011 Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to examine the views of government workers on innovation in the workplace.


About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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