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Making Little Bets on the Future – Plus Your Weekend Reads

Welcome to GovLoop InsightsIssue of the Week with Chris Dorobek where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

A busy week on GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER

  • The Election’s over – so now what for feds? — “What you will see in the next term is a fundamentally different President. He now understands the business of government,” said Steve Ryan. So what will that fundamental shift impact you — the federal worker? We get the inside scoop.
  • Efficiencies and Government— Is that an oxymoron? Tackling the biggest problem at your agency first is a great way to make things more efficient. But agencies can’t seem to get their priorities straight. So what’s the holdup? Deloitte survey 600 feds for the answers.
  • Portfolio Stat – Can it help your agency save money, innovate? Portfolio State, ever heard of it? The six-month old program is starting to get some traction. So can Portfolio Stat and can it really make a difference at your agency? We hear from the man in charge at the Office of Management and Budget.
  • Is Being A Fed A Thankless Job?– Ok, let’s get real, you don’t go into a career as a federal worker for the glory and adulation. But sometimes toiling in an all too often thankless job can get tiring. And budget cuts aren’t helping. So what can you do? Insights from Partnership for Public Service.

Our issue of the Week: Little Bets

With the election behind us, what will President Obama’s approach to our nation’s problems be?

One way to think about government innovation is through the lens of “Little Bets,” a book about the creative process written by Peter Sims. He was a keynote speaker at GovDelivery’s event “Digital Government: The Transformative Power of Communications.” Sims’ keynote focused our country’s need for transformational leadership and government innovation. With our growing debt, aging baby boomers, and rising need for energy alternatives, we need creative solutions from our leadership. Listen below for Sims’ keynote speech:

Making “little bets” means that we need to try options that may fail. We ask ourselves, “what’s an affordable loss?” and try our hand at the strategies where the benefits could outweigh the costs.

“When you’re thinking about doing something new in your job, don’t put the pressure of trying to g

et it all figured out up front because that’s not the way innovation works… The research is very clear on this. You have to start by getting out of the perfectionist mindset.”

With some of the large challenges our government is facing, there is no precedent for us to build our solutions from. In order to come up with real solutions, we may have to try innovative strategies, and some may fail. But these are all part of the learning process and will ultimately lead to improvements.

Learn more about Peter Sims’ book, “Little Bets,” by listening to his interview on the DorobekINSIDER. Sims’ book was also featured in the DorobekINSIDER book club, which you can access here. Finally, check out a blog post that summarizes Sims’ presentation at the GovDelivery event.

Weekend Reads:

  • How Turnover in the Senate Effects Feds. The Washington Post reports, Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) are retiring, leaving openings to lead the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and its panel on the federal workforce. Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins, the top Republican on the full committee, will be leaving that leadership post. These are key positions on Capitol Hill for feds during a period of budget tightening. The administration and both parties are looking to save money, and the workforce has been a convenient place to tap.
  • The National Journal has outlined the President’s position on a number of key issues, like immigration, taxes and federal reforms. Check them all out here.

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