Thursday Aug 22, 2013

Why Government Agencies Need to Prove Value by Doing More with Less: The Role of Innovation

How many times have we heard the phrase, "government agencies need to do more with less?" Although over-used, it remains true, especially in today's environment. Facing a bleak future of flat or reduced funding, agencies need to find new ways to increase efficiencies and reduce costs from their current budgets. To do this, agencies will need to get creative in their thinking and be comfortable making the tough decisions of which projects to cut and which to save. An example of an agency already doing this is NASA. Riding the ups and downs of the fiscal uncertainty rollercoaster and experiencing multiple cuts to popular programs, NASA is still "trying to ensure that the agency can maintain the health of its mission, which includes developing multi-generational rocket programmes." Internally, this requires new thinking, collaboration, and most importantly, innovation from all levels of the agency. NASA has implemented traditional cost saving measures including standardizing spending on travel and reducing the number of conferences employees can attend. In addition, the review process of projects has drastically changed and they no longer say, "yes" to projects they can't realistically pay for. Priorities are reviewed every budget cycle, officials go through a review process to see what programs can be trimmed, and programs are reviewed at key points in their cycle to ensure they are on target and will deliver a positive ROI. Although many of these changes sound small, they can add up to big cost savings in the end.

In a new Economist Intelligence Unit research report, Proving value in an age of austerity: A new normal for US government programmes, they discuss three steps federal agencies need to accomplish to prove value and accommodate this new environment – demonstrating value, doing more with less and producing incremental value.

Read the full Economist Intelligence Unit research report here, to learn more.

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