How CIOs Can Enable Innovation
Innovation plays a key role in government transformations at all levels. Over the past several years, governments have increasingly established chief technology officers, chief innovation officers, chief data officers, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and similar roles to promote new approaches to innovation. The Obama Administration has moved forward with an innovation agenda driven by new offices including the US Digital Service in the Office of Management and Budget, Presidential Innovation Fellows, 18F in the General Services Administration, and Digital Services offices in individual agencies. Because many innovations are rooted in the use of technology, agency Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have a strong role to play in the innovation ecosystem as well. The successful application of CIO-enabled innovation within the federal government offers a sustainable way to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and performance of government while often also reducing costs. For this report, the authors interviewed nearly a dozen senior leaders, most of whom currently or recently served as Federal CIOs in a wide range of federal agencies. The report identifies how these leaders undertook technology innovation initiatives, such as moving agency operations to a cloud environment, or upgrading technology in the global environment of an international agency. The authors then distilled a series of findings and recommendations for how CIOs could enable innovation. Among the findings are that CIOs recognize the value of innovation and have participated in a larger innovation ecosystem to make real progress, and that agency leadership can foster an innovation-oriented culture. From the analysis and based on these findings, the authors make five recommendations for federal agencies to stimulate innovation within their organizations: involve key participants in the innovation lifecycle assess current and desired levels of innovation maturity create a formal process for enabling innovation within the agency foster a culture and space for experimentation identify and implement appropriate metrics We hope this report helps CIOs and other stakeholders to foster innovation that enables federal agencies to meet their organizational mission more effectively and efficiently, and capitalize on innovation that can better serve citizen needs.