By Jon A. Fredrickson, VP, Chief Innovation Officer
Whether we’re talking about life-saving medical techniques, ground-breaking solutions for landing safely on Mars or new technology that benefits relief efforts around the world, the public sector needs to continuously accelerate and innovate using innovation “Gig-Solvers” around the world. National infrastructure reconstruction, clean energy solutions, the need for advanced autonomous cognitive technologies (the new AI), along with countless other issues faced by the U.S. government every year, have created an ever-evolving set of needs and problems that are rapidly changing, and governments steeped in traditional means for innovating at speed are struggling to keep up.
Is Spending More Money THE Solution?
The Congressional Budget Office projects that the U.S. federal government expenditures will top 4.4 Trillion in Fiscal Year 2019. The federal government will spend again more than $100 billion on innovation alone — in 2017, they spent $114 billion. That money will go to fund “basic scientific research, research that applies scientific understanding to achieve specific practical objectives even if those objectives might not have any predictable commercial appeal, and R&D that serves a governmental mission—such as securing national defense or maintaining public health,” according to the CBO. But spending more money without addressing the real problems, problems that are well defined, is not efficient and does not reduce our risk of failure.
How Do Governments Reduce Waste?
While it’s hard to say that money spent on research and development is wasted, it’s true to say the U.S. public sector, just like the private sector, can make improvements in how investments in innovation are made, found and transitioned into real solutions. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was hit with a report not too long ago that much of the organization’s $30.6 billion budget was spent on overhead costs, not actual R&D. This is representative of how many organizations, both public and private, spend their R&D budgets. It’s inefficient and doesn’t always yield the much-needed results.
In contrast, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has made massive strides in Machine Learning using innovation prize challenges and InnoCentive. These challenges have greatly accelerated timelines and offer incredibly efficient investments.
Open Innovation Through InnoCentive Has a Better Track Record (Less Time, Risk, & Cost)
InnoCentive has been working with public sector organizations since 2005, yielding better results in less time. By leveraging open innovation and crowdsourced solutions, InnoCentive takes the problems looking for solutions by public sector organizations and formulates them into Challenges. Those challenges are presented to our global solver network of over 400,000 Solvers with reach to tens of millions of potential Gig-Solvers globally. It’s through this process that we have delivered success time and again for public sector entities with an +83% success rate. Just a few of the success stories we have been able to create include:
- National Institute of Health (NIH): Single Cell Analysis
- DARPA: Forecasting the Spread of Infectious Diseases
- Commercial Terrorism Technical Support Office: nine successful Challenges since 2014￼
- NASA: 10 successful Challenges since 2012
- Tec^Edge (Air Force): 20 successful Challenges since 2011
- Bureau of Reclamation: 18 successful Challenges since 2015
- U.S. Intelligence Community: six successful Challenges since 2014
This list is only inclusive of some U.S. public sector entities. InnoCentive works with government agencies all over the world. Read more about our success with public sector clients in our selection of case studies.