Moving Past ‘No’ to ‘Yes…And’

Innovation is scary in the federal workspace. Although the Department of Defenses’ Better Buying Power initiatives call for the ‘elimination of unnecessary process and bureaucracy,’ people are scared to let go. I have a secret for those people, they don’t have a choice. Tomorrow’s leaders do not care about the way it was done in the past. We are disruptors. We are innovators.

I now know how Neo (obscure Matrix reference) felt when he suddenly woke up in the real world. A group of us came back from the NextGen conference alive for the first time. We were wondering around the Matrix for a long time wondering if anyone else noticed the glitches in the system. NextGen found us and offered up a decision. We all took the red pill.

The Challenge

How can we fit into the real world and act normal as we begin to implement these changes? I am willing to bet some will read my opening remarks and say that I am scary. In our group’s effort to bring NextGen to our Agency, we hit our first ‘opportunity.’ It was difficult being in the presence of such negativity when our ideas have been so widely accepted to that point. It was certainly a learning opportunity. To our benefit, we had our mentor, and champion, who happens to be a senior leader herself, teach us a thing or two about coalition building along the way.

Our new ideas and passions radiated and scared people. The sentinels realized who we were and went on the offensive. Taking the time to reflect, and beating the Matrix reference to death, we should have laid low once we were found out. Drawing lines in the sand will only turn us into the government we are trying to change.

The Opportunity

Our passion and desire to improve the workforce through informal processes will need to be reshaped. We are working to ensure we are building coalitions while paving the way for the NextGeners out there hoping to be found. Our vision is to ensure ‘Passion to Purpose.’ Before this can become a reality, we have to move the senior leaders past no to yes, and.

We are excited. We are disruptors. We are innovators. We are NextGen. We will hack the bureaucracy, politely.

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