Accenture conducted a global study—spanning nearly 600 public service professionals in 10 countries—to assess how agencies are driving government innovation. That included a closer look at how agencies are planning, managing and measuring the impact and benefits of government innovation.
We discovered that government innovation is delivering targeted benefits that generally fall into four categories:
- Improved service delivery to citizens (“great place to live”). Almost half of respondents (49 percent) told us that innovation helped them discontinue services or programs that were not performing well or meeting objectives. Nearly as many cited better outcomes in citizen-facing programs (48 percent) and a reduction in human errors (46 percent).
- Improved employee/citizen services (“great place to work”). Fifty-one percent pointed to increased employee engagement—and 50 percent to improved service delivery—as benefits of government innovation.
- Improved productivity and efficiency with the funding available (“efficient service delivery”). Almost half (49 percent) said innovation helped improve employee skills. Forty-seven percent pointed to improved shared services as a benefit of government innovation.
- Better results at lower costs (“value for money”). Fifty-seven percent reported more efficient systems and processes as an impact of government innovation. Almost as many (56 percent) told us that innovation helped reduce the need for capital expenditures.
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Accenture analysis and experience point to practices that can help improve the way agencies plan, manage and measure the impact and benefits of government innovation:
- Create a solid business case for each innovative idea. Be clear about what each innovation is intended to achieve. Be rigorous in specifying and measuring the intended improvement. If the business case isn’t being met, don’t be afraid to stop working on the innovation. At the same time, be open to discovering unintended benefits and revise your business case accordingly.
- Hard metrics are important—but they aren’t all that matters. Tailor your metrics based on what the innovation is meant to achieve. Metrics may be “hard” or “soft.” Just be clear on intended goals from the beginning.
- Create a reinvestment plan. Determine what you will do with benefits achieved. Reinvest all benefits in the agency mission and try to find ways to keep money saved within the agency budget or another enterprise program the agency will benefit from. Stay focused on reinvesting dividends to maintain momentum—and drive continuous government innovation.