Critical Read

What CIOs need to lead innovation

org chart in 3D

What: "Playbook for CIO-Enabled Innovation in the Federal Government," from the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

Why: Federal CIOs are expected to wear many hats, and "chief innovator" is an increasingly important one. Innovation efforts are often stymied, however, by bureaucratic obstacles, unclear lines of responsibility and uneven executive buy-in.

In this new report, Arizona State University's Gregory Dawson and the Royal Military College of Canada's James Denford deconstruct the innovation life cycle, then detail the most common challenges and offer five specific recommendations for CIOs seeking to drive innovation in their agencies.

Through interviews with nearly a dozen current and former agency IT leaders, Dawson and Denford identify practical examples from recent government projects and argue that committed leadership and a well-established ecosystem are required to foster an innovation-oriented culture. Agency leaders must bring other key participants into the process, and CIOs should document the baseline levels of innovation and create a formal process for their colleagues.

Verbatim: "Not surprisingly, process discipline is often lacking.... While everyone we spoke with is very supportive of the need for innovation, few agencies have a defined and repeatable process for enacting innovation. Rather, often the person who generates the idea is unaware of a process to enact the innovation, and either tries to create a process or simply gives up trying to implement it."

For the full report, go to www.businessofgovernment.org

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.


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