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Trend Tracking – 5 things to be on the lookout for in 2014

2013 is rapidly coming to a close, so it is time to look forward and take bets on what’s on the docket for the next 365 days. In our newest guide: 20 Innovations that Mattered in 2014, we peered into our crystal ball and made our forecast of the five biggest trends for next year. What made the list? Download the guide to find out.

2014: Future Trends

Number One Future Trend: Evolution of the Innovation Officer

  • Organization: A Government Agency Near You
  • Achievement: In the past two years, more than 20 cities, states and school districts have added innovation officers to their municipal leadership teams. From Boston to Kansas City to San Francisco, the twin pressures of tight budgets and citizen expectations have propelled public officials to embrace innovation as a strategic priority.Fortunately, this vanguard of innovators is seeing signs of initial success.


  • Organization: Agencies Seeking to Save Significant Money and Engage More Employees
  • Achievement: In a GovLoop survey of 335 government employees, 9 out of 10 said that they are more likely to attend virtual training versus in-person events in the coming year. Another 90 percent of employees said they valued online training because it “reduces out of office travel time and saves money” for their agencies. We published these and other survey results in a guide titled, “Building Better Conferences and Training: The Value of Virtual Events in Government.”

Number Three Future Trend: Sequestration and Shutdowns

  • Organization: Every Agency Feeling the Impact of Budget Cuts
  • Achievement: In a recent GovLoop interview, Tech America’s Trey Hodgkins and Robert Haas reviewed the results of their annual forecast and suggested that sequestration will not stifle innovation, but stimulate it. “Historically, what we have seen is significant periods of innovation occur when the budgets are at their lowest.” In a separate interview, 30-year government veteran Alan Balutis shared a similar sentiment. “When the real fiscal crunch happens, budget pressures, sequestration, fiscal cliff – whatever you want to call it. We will need to re-think the way we do business,” said Balutis. “This will drive innovation.” Let’s all hope they’re right, because Continuing Resolutions and shutdowns seem to be the new normal.

Number Four Future Trend: Open Data as Innovation Driver

  • Organization: Every Agency Looking to Leverage Public Datasets
  • Achievement: Open data is nothing new. Data.gov was launched in May 2009 and there are dozens of examples where citizens and hackers have leveraged public datasets to create apps that improve our communities. As we mentioned as one of the 5 Trends from 2013, the White House put some additional heft behind the concept by making open and machine readable the new default. As a result, we’re thinking 2014 will mark a new high water point for innovation around open data.

Number Five Future Trend: Agile Acquisition

  • Organization: U.S. Coast Guard
  • Achievement: Agile acquisition can likely save the government billions of dollars (yes, with a “b”). For those unfamiliar with the term, agile basically means iterative, incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. However, when it comes to gathering requirements for an acquisition, government “often spends far more time than we should defining up front requirements,” said Retired Coast Guard Captain Daniel Taylor in an August 2013 interview with GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER.

For more on all of these innovative programs download our guide: 20 Innovations that Mattered in 2013.

Do you think there was a more buzzworthy trend? Let us know in the comment section.

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Kerry Ann O'Connor

Great list, Emily! Add the City of Austin to your list of Chief Innovation Officers: http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/blog/morning_call/2013/12/austin-taps-state-department-for-new.html

As someone involved in creating an innovation center at a federal agency, I was really impressed with the holistic approach the City of Austin took in crafting the position description, which is part of what attracted me to the position.

When I move to Austin in late March to take the helm as their first Chief Innovation Officer, we’ll be exploring how to develop a full suite of tools that a government organization can leverage to make a positive impact: open innovation, crowdsourcing, and co-creation; open government; challenges and prizes; human-centered design; agile and lean methods; public-private partnerships; and employee engagement and other management innovations. Innovation comes in many shapes, flavors, and sizes – so it will be about wielding the right tool for a particular job.

I take to heart this Slate article where the author discusses how municipal innovation offices should consider pursuing a “long-term, capacity-building, distributed approach.” What’s up for grabs is refining the various business models that a governmental innovation capacity can use, and I expect good progress to be made on that front next year.

I am tremendously excited to be involved in a key trend in government innovation for 2014, and look forward to collaborating on GovLoop in the New Year!