How the Acquisition Process Can Actually Encourage Government Innovation

Ask any federal leader about their top frustrations in the federal government, and more often than not, you will hear about a set of broken management systems involving acquisition, human resources and information technology. (Just to name a few.)

The frustrations are real, but sometimes made worse by urban legends that hold leaders back from using the full set of opportunities available to help their teams and agencies serve the American people more effectively.

Take acquisition, for example. What busy leader has the time to scour the roughly 2,000 pages of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)? You're much more likely to take the expert opinion of those around you. However, those experts often are just as influenced by years of mythical stories as they are by the actual letter of the law.

My organization, the Partnership for Public Service, and Booz Allen Hamilton recently published a report called "Innovation is a Contract Sport" that shows how the acquisition process can actually encourage innovation. It already has a history of leading to breakthrough inventions we take for granted, from the Internet to GPS.

This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.