Defining a Model of Open Innovation: MPA Capstone

This week was the first week of my MPA Capstone Project. I am in a group of six working on a project called Defining an Open Innovation Model for Government. The first week went well, it’s a really exciting project to be working on and I am excited to see the final product the group is going to produce.

I wanted to take a moment to share some of the resources that I have found particularly helpful this week, share some insights and would love any feedback the GovLoop community has to offer.

Part of my responsibility this week was looking at the history of open innovation. Most the research I was looking at was coming from the private sector. One of the key points from the readings was that private sector agencies made a shift from a closed innovation model to an open model. In other words, a closed model is simply keeping research and development within the agency. An open model is the idea of the widsom of the crowds and tapping into the collective knowledge of stakeholders to develop a better product. Clearly, the shift occurred because private sector companies began to realize that knowledge and thought leaders exists outside their company, and by tapping into the collective knowledge of their market, ultimately a stronger, more targeted product will be produced – providing the company with a competitive edge in their market.

Now, the fun part for a MPA student, we take this shift and apply it to government. Government is in the same position, rather than focusing on a product, the demand is to provide a better service to constituents. Moving to an open model is challenging and there are barriers facing the public sector that do not exist in the private sector. Our report is working to identify both commonalities between private/public sector innovation and also providing an analysis of what barriers exist in the public sector for open innovation.

One article identifies that government will typically becoming innovative when a crisis hits or there is a champion within the agency who is able to take his/her idea and move it through the innovation cycle. The article also identifies that neither are sustainable, and what is needed is the development of an innovation strategy and culture. This was one of the big take-aways of the week for me. It’s not only having a great product or platform, it’s also having a culture and environment that enables innovation. So what constitutes an innovative culture and what are the barriers? Interesting questions, that I believe the group is looking forward to exploring further and will be one component of our final product.

Here is a link to the Deloitte report with the graphics below.

All in all, it was a great week. I learned a lot and the group is ready to start rolling on Monday. I’d appreciate if anyone has any great resources they would like to share. Also, if anyone is interested in learning a little more about the project, I’d be happy to explain more.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Hey Patrick – Did your analysis lead you to any Defense R&D examples? I’d actually bet that a solid percentage of private sector innovation: (a) comes from DoD research or (b) is done under contract with DoD.

Possible starting points:




Interesting innovation contest being hosted by DoD (similar to President’s SAVE Award:


Pat Fiorenza

Thanks Andy! I will check out the Defense R&D examples, that all sounds really interesting – we are just getting into the analysis part of the project. The project runs just about a month – lots to get through in a month, but it’s been an exciting project to be part of.

Pat Fiorenza

Thanks Neil, just checked out your site – lots of great resources. The project is really quick, 4 weeks – I’d love to discuss the findings and get some of your insights – let’s be sure to chat in a few weeks! Thanks again.