Voices from Accenture Public Service


You need to develop a strategy for innovation before you start doing it, right?  Well, not really. It may seem counterintuitive that we’ve discussed Ideation, Execution and Impact & Benefits before exploring the Strategy pillar of the Accenture Innovation Framework. But, that wasn’t an accident. The order reinforces the importance of doing government innovation over getting caught up in crafting a “perfect” plan.

The Strategy pillar is about much more than simply including innovation as part of an agency’s strategic plan. It’s about recognizing the importance of innovation—and focusing on strategically advancing external partnerships and fostering internal collaboration to make innovation happen.

How do government innovation leaders manage the Strategy pillar? Accenture’s survey of nearly 600 government leaders across 10 countries identified no single path to success. However, some leading practices did emerge.

For starters, government innovation leaders (56 percent) are more likely than other agencies (40 percent) to have different people overseeing the different parts of the innovation process. Similarly, while agencies around the world use a variety of communication tactics, government innovation leaders are much more inclined to adopt these two:

  • Dedicating executive time regularly to discuss innovation (65 percent compared to 43 percent of all other agencies), and
  • Soliciting innovative ideas from employees regularly via email (60 percent vs. 38 percent).

Beyond management and communication, government innovation leaders stand out for their approach to collaboration, particularly with external entities. We saw evidence of this in two areas, where government innovation leaders are more likely to:

  • Partner with external parties to help identify priority themes and build an innovation agenda (54 percent vs. 39 percent), and
  • Partner with external parties for oversight and governance of innovation (54% compared to 37%).

The research findings and Accenture’s frontline experience suggest that agencies can improve performance by establishing an ‘ecosystem approach’ partnering across multiple aspects of managing innovation. As previously discussed in the Ideation blog, cast a wide net—seeking ideas from a wide range of sources, including current employees. And diffuse innovation through the organization so that many people are overseeing different parts of the process.

To learn more, spend some time reviewing our full report, where we share additional findings and recommendations related to the Strategy pillar. Soon I’ll be wrapping up this series with a post on the Absorption pillar of the Accenture Innovation Framework. Until then, I hope you’ll share your ideas and questions about how you are driving government innovation in your agency.

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