Innovation in Government: A 2011 refresher


Most people don’t think about government when they hear the word “innovation”, but it’s happening, and has been since long before “The Great Recession.” However, the current economic conditions have certainly moved things along.

Government responds very similarly to private industry when faced with challenges. SAS manages to do relatively well during recessions because our customers (both commercial and government) look for innovative ways to increase revenues and efficiencies during challenging times. In this way, government and private industry are very alike.

What are some of the ways in which government is innovating?

• Increasing collections of outstanding debt more efficiently and effectively
• Fraud detection and prevention
• Intelligent resource optimization and consolidation
• Improving patient outcomes through advanced analytics
• Intelligent data center consolidation
• Improving student outcomes

You may think that these are simply technology innovations. While it is true that technology plays a part in all the items listed above, in many cases innovation would not be possible without changes to policy, procedures and in many cases law.

I took the following sentence from an entry in Wikipedia about innovation:

The central meaning of innovation thus relates to renewal. For this renewal to take place it is necessary for people to change the way they make decisions, they must choose to do things differently, make choices outside of their norm.

As we move into 2011 and hopefully towards better economic times, let’s not lose sight of the fact that technology is an enabler. You can have the best technology in the world at your fingertips, but if you are not in a position to change the way you do business in response to the new found information supplied by that technology, you will be wasting your time.

State and local government can’t afford to waste time or money. In 2011, let’s keep up the momentum and strive for better policy and better decisions…supported by better technology.


About Author

Brian Whittington

Systems Engineer Manager, the State & Local Government

As a Systems Engineer Manager of the State & Local Government practice at SAS, Brian Whittington is in charge of pre-sales engineering and customer retention in the western United States. By understanding the challenges and opportunities facing state and local government his engineering team architects solutions that really make a difference to citizens and policymakers. Brian’s team also works closely with our customers to make sure they get full value out of their investment in SAS technology and professional services. During his 8 years at SAS, Brian has worked in various technical sales roles applying SAS’s business intelligence, data integration and analytical capabilities to solve real-world business problems. He was instrumental in the rollout of SAS 9 to customers in the Western United States and for the past 6 years has focused exclusively on applying his knowledge and skills within state and local government. Brian holds a degree from California State University Fullerton and resides in West Linn, Oregon where he enjoys hiking, fishing, and reading but most of all, spending time with his wife and two young children.

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