In my role as Government Innovation Officer (GIO) for the Commonwealth, there are several ways in which I help move the innovation agenda forward within the Commonwealth’s various agencies.
One category of activity entails my dialoguing with agency leaders to identify opportunities for innovation, and then launching projects that address those areas. We are pleased to have assembled an initial portfolio of significant projects, and we are making excellent progress on them. Governor Patrick’s January 2013 budget proposal contained a section entitled “Innovations to Improve Operations” which lists those initial projects. We have already implemented several of these projects, while other projects are underway. From time to time, we will be describing some of these projects in the Mass Innovation Blog.
Another category of my activity entails me sharing with Commonwealth employees to help them learn ways in which THEY can be innovative regarding how they approach their jobs and objectives. Recently I spoke at a “PM Connect” meeting, which is a quarterly gathering of Commonwealth program managers. About 40 leaders attended, and I had the opportunity to share with them on a variety of innovation topics. I began by recapping examples of how individuals and organizations across our country have increased their productivity by leveraging innovation, and pointed out that our collective challenge is to ensure that the Commonwealth is at the forefront of leading these changes. We touched on the five stages of e-government, and also spent time learning about some interesting government innovation principles described in a new book, Citizenville, by Gavin Newsom.
The leaders in attendance were very enthusiastic and receptive to the innovation principles shared, and readily received one of our key messages, which is that “Innovation is a team sport!” (No-one creates a successful innovation alone.)
I also described “Innovator’s DNA,” which (as described by Clayton Christensen) is “The ability to make connections between seemingly unconnected things.” (For example, a calligraphy class inspired Steve Jobs’ emphasis on typography in early Macintosh computers.)
Here are some techniques to stimulate such innovative connections. You can remember them with the acronym NOOQE which you can pronounce like the word “nuke.”):
- Networking: Interact with people from different backgrounds and different ways of thinking.
- Originating: Think outside the box by talking to someone who plays in a different box.
- Observing: Watch the world around you for surprising stimuli.
- Questioning: Ask probing questions which impose or remove constraints.
- Experimenting: Consciously try new things or go to new places.
The below video provides a quick taste of our session:
2014 Annual Report of the Office of the Government Innovation Officer (OGIO) posted on Dec 23
This past year has been quite an active one as we have made great progress advancing our innovation agenda within Massachusetts state government. Highlights include: Launched a Commonwealth of Massachusetts Innovation Fellows (CMIF) Program to nurture and grow a culture of innovation among Commonwealth employees …Continue Reading 2014 Annual Report of the Office of the Government Innovation Officer (OGIO)
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Launches Its Municipal Grant Finder posted on Dec 3
Local officials in city and town governments interact with the Commonwealth every day on a variety of matters – from accessing resources to understanding obligations and regulations. Sometimes, local officials know which persons, programs or agencies to contact at the state level to access the …Continue Reading The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Launches Its Municipal Grant Finder
The Road to Open Data posted on Nov 24
The topic of Open Data is gaining significant coverage in government news. So amongst the buzz, the Commonwealth and the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) held an open discussion to hear thoughts from the public. According to The Open Data Handbook, “open data is data …Continue Reading The Road to Open Data