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El Campo: Perspectives on “Getting the Work Done”

Posted on October 1, 2019

Innovation post

The Innovation Cohort read Hana Schank’s “Getting the Work Done: What Government Innovation Really Looks Like” as part of their cohort learning. Today’s reflection post is by the City of El Campo, TX’s Courtney Sladek and Jai McBride.

Government innovation involves overcoming old structures and modes of thinking and embracing new technologies and ideas. The potential of innovation in government is massive; however, the challenges governments face are significant.

The report, “Getting the Work Done: What Government Innovation Really Looks Like by Hana Schank and Sara Hudson”, provides a glimpse into real world challenges governments tend to face when attempting to innovate processes. 

Despite the challenges, government innovation is hard but not impossible and governments are transforming the way they work to improve processes and increase efficiency. Innovation contributes through creating a greater variety of solutions to problems, challenging unwarranted assumptions and identifying problems before seeking solutions.

Any organization that does this more will function more effectively. Like all challenges, there are steps to building a successful process.

The three most important steps in applying innovation to improve government process include collaboration, transparency, and value creation. 

Collaboration is key to government innovation.

When looking for innovative approaches to government’s biggest challenges, there is a diversity of knowledge, ideas, experience, and creativity across agencies. Some agencies are at the cutting edge while others are starting their journey. Agencies today need solutions that are flexible and agile to keep pace with the rapidly evolving landscape.

Government strategy needs to be more than just a checklist of new technologies. As partners, we need to share our vision of the future with government. Collectively, we can anticipate the challenges. And collectively we can outline a strategic technological approach to be successful.

Transparency is another key component to government innovation.

Transparency is government’s obligation to share information and data with residents that is needed to make informed decisions, and hold officials accountable. Transparency drives government innovation by fostering greater collaboration between government departments, and between the public sector and its private sector allies.

Open data is critically important to increasing transparency and making operations more effective and accountable to the public. By opening up data, governments and their partners can analyze previously siloed data sets to improve services, streamline processes and optimize internal resources.

Value creation is the third key component to government innovation.

Innovation does not exist if your new ideas aren’t creating value. Organizations must implement ideas and programs identified as most effective in delivering value to its stakeholders. Generating value is one of the most misunderstood tools of innovation. But it’s also one of the most important.

Value is often misunderstood because it isn’t fixed or tangible and only rest in the benefits of the beholder. When applying government innovation to processes it’s important for municipalities to understand what value means to their citizens so they can generate it and provide it.

The City of El Campo has a history of innovative, forward thinking management along with performance excellence. The City is committed to continuous improvement in the way it conducts business and delivers services.

El Campo has already taken steps in either addressing or starting to address each of the key elements the, “Getting the Work Done: What Government Innovation Really Looks Like”, report hoped to spark conversation around.

Additionally, The City of El Campo knows the importance of transparency and is committed to be a transparent government.  The City of El Campo recently received The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ Transparency Stars Certification which recognizes local governments for going above and beyond in their transparency efforts.

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