How “Intrapreneurship” Can Improve Government

IntrapreneurshipTechnological innovation can provide much-needed disruption to the “but this is how we’ve always done it” mentality businesses and government can get stuck in. But government rarely faces competition from private entities that push innovation. So government has to be proactive about making innovation happen. In this article in Governing magazine, Kevin C. Desouza, an associate dean at Arizona State’s College of Public Programs, asks the question:

Can governments innovate and do so mindfully? They can, and what many are finding is that the key to success is creating a culture of intrapreneurship—the act of behaving like an entrepreneur within a large organization in a process of assertive risk-taking.

We’re beginning to see public intrapreneurship, such as in the local-government innovation labs that are springing up all over the place. Boston’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, for example, pilots experiments that have the potential to improve the quality of city services, such as the Citizens Connect apps that provide residents with tools to upload photos or use texting to report local problems. Internationally, platforms such as MindLab engage citizens and business on community issues.

Desouza says public-sector innovation is possible if governments follow the following four suggestions: 1) design a process to foster intrapreneurship, 2) hold program-design brainstorming sessions to engage employees, 3) create challenges and competitions that seek to achieve bold goals, and 4) bring in citizens and community organizations. Check out his article for more details on these innovative suggestions.

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