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The Keys to Government Innovation? Partnerships and Proactivity

July 17, 2020 / Dcode

For years, the American workforce has functioned very traditionally, with employees commuting to and from a physical office for in-person meetings and face-to-face collaboration. However, now that over half of the workforce is engaging in remote work, Deloitte’s Chief Innovation Officer Nishita Henry has noticed “all kinds of cultural barriers that technology has helped disprove.” Ms. Henry joined us on the Dcode Virtual series to discuss lessons learned from the pandemic, up-and-coming technologies, and advice for government leaders that want to bring innovation into their organizations.

Watch Ms. Henry’s full session here

Though the adoption of innovative culture in the federal government isn’t new, Ms. Henry noticed that the skepticism around is finally starting to die down, partly because of a hasty shift to telework. Until recently, she said, “people didn’t believe you could be effective without physically being in an office,” but that paradigm is now shifting, and the acceptance of private sector best practices along with it.

When working in an office was no longer an option, Ms. Henry saw this proverb at play: “necessity is the mother of invention.” As the pandemic forced government and private sector organizations to accelerate change, part of that process included the realization that inventing can’t be done only in-house. She noted that “the pace of technology change is exponential,” so government organizations should partner with the private sector to identify the emerging technologies that are best-equipped to help them.

To advise tech companies that want to capitalize on the rapid innovation stemming from the shift to telework, Ms. Henry says that tech companies must be proactive. Find a problem that needs solving, and “don’t wait for someone to ask. Even if one person says ‘no,’ be confident that you have a valuable product,” and “keep working your way until you find someone to listen.”

To check out the on-demand recording of Ms. Henry’s virtual session, visit