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OPM rises in the Innovation Index — find out how they did it

The Office of Personnel Management has been making some real progress in terms on innovation.

In fact they are the only agency to rise up the ranks of the Partnership for Public Service’s Innovation Index.

(Listen to our interview with Tom Fox about the Innovation Index here.)

But how did they do it?

Matt Collier is the Special Assistant to the Director at OPM. He was part of a panel at our Next Generation of Government Training Summit.

He told the audience how OPM has become more innovative in the past few years.
“OPM is responsible for the effective stewardship for feds, so we need to innovative effectively. But you have two ask to simple questions: How do we create the space for innovation? And, how do people actually innovate,” said Collier.

Emotional and Physical Models for Innovation

  • Emotional: Director Berry holds monthly Town-hall meetings where he swears in a new crop of OPM-ers and also takes questions. For example a recently swore-in OPM-er asked the Director how we can improve the user experience for USAjob.gov. It’s a touchy subject in the walls of OPM. But instead of going on the defensive the Director put the new employee on a taskforce to improve the usability of USAjobs.gov.
  • Physical Space: With money from the Recovery Act, OPM is changing up the office space so that it can be more conducive for innovation. We are also using Luma’s Human Centered Design model. You can learn more about that here.

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Terrence (Terry) Hill

OPM also implemented IdeaFactory to solicit and evaluate ideas from employees. The beauty of this new system was that it was implemented as part of a labor-management partnership. I’m sure that Matt mentioned this in his presentation, but any innovations that OPM can implement have a reverberating effect in all of the other Federal agencies. Way to go OPM!

Samuel Lovett

No other agency beside OPM rose on the Partnership’s Innovation Index? With so many people talking about innovation these days, that’s hard to believe