How Government Fosters Innovation Projects

PMI Southern Ontario Chapter

Bruce is the founder of ProjectManagementHacks.com, a resource for growing IT project managers.

What comes to mind when you read the word “innovation”? If the bestseller book list is any guide, you probably think about technology companies and entrepreneurs. For example, Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of Steve Jobs demonstrated the innovative successes that Steve Jobs achieved at Apple and other companies.

There has also been a growing category of books that seek to explain Google’s great success in innovation, technology and related fields (e.g., In the Plex, Planet Google, How Google Works and What Would Google Do). There’s never been a better time to seek out role models for innovation in the technology industry.

The next frontier for innovation is the public sector and healthcare. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once remarked, “Taxes are the price we pay for civilized society.” Innovation projects in the public sector have the potential to strengthen and reinforce our society.

Government as Innovation Catalyst: The Challenges Program
For centuries, governments have issued challenges to solve problems through innovation. In history, the best known example of this approach is the British government’s prize to solve longitude. As told in Dava Sobel’s excellent book Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, the problem was …

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