How do you scale government innovation?

How do you scale government innovation? That’s the question Jay Nath, San Francisco’s Chief Innovation Officer wants to know.

Nath sat down with Chris Dorobek on the Dorobek INSIDER program for a 30 minute in depth interview that covered the gamut of government innovation: apps challenges, budget constraints, culture changes and more.

“If we aren’t able to lead and accomplish little things than the public won’t trust us on big things like healthcare. A big part of my job as the Chief Innovation Officer is to show the public that the government can be nimble, that we can collaborate and we can learn from the private sector,” said Nath.

Biggest Obstacles to Innovation:

  • Procurement: Oftentimes regulations are overly burdensome. The cost of procuring an item is often more than what we are actually buying.
  • HR: Less than 5% of recent grads say they are considering government. And its not about the salary. We need to reframe the way they see the government. We need a new identity and brand.

Risks to Innovation: Part of the goal of government is to mitigate risks, after-all we are dealing with the tax payers money. But innovation doesn’t always have to mean risks. We can team with startups and create pilot programs.

Leadership:Needs to be both top down and bottom up in order for innovation to happen and flourish.

Tight Budgets: Budget constraints lead to innovation because we have no option. And really innovation is more about doing things differently with people not really new programs.

San Francisco just wrapped up an apps contests that looked for a new app to track the city’s transportation system. Check it out here.

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