Response to The Innovation Journal's Questionnaire

Ms Glor,

First I want to thank you for providing the information about your journal. Too often I get "junk mail" about advertising laden newsletters that have little real content - this was a refreshing look at a working alternative.

In the spirit of your request, I would like to offer my response to your questionnaire. I am a technology and management consultant and my practice is primarily in regional governments throughout the Western US and Latin America.

Q. 1- How to make the IJ the best little journal on public sector innovation that it can be?

Continue to build your community and allow the community interest to drive subjects and discussion. Like innovation itself, there is nothing you can do to completely control the process - guidance, encouragement, and recognition for contributions is the simple answer. Beyond that, being open to the odd spark that seems to have no place is probably the most challenging part of editing this journal.

Q.2 - Who are the readers we are trying to attract?

Some of your contributors have expressed the thought that perhaps this journal needed to reflect a limited geographic area. Outside of the issues of language, I must disagree. I am just as interested in innovations that work in Borneo as I am in Toronto or New York. While it is true that customs, technology acceptance, and governmental types are very wide in the world at large - the issues of providing public services effectively are basically the same.

Beyond this consideration, I think the only issue is that the journal should not become a forum for vendors to promote their wares. Innovation, like Knowledge Management is becoming yet another buzz word that is spawning "refocused" products that have little or nothing to do with the process of innovation.

a. Public sector/alternate service delivery agency managers/policy/program public servants, PIPEs (Public Interest Private Enterprise), PINAs (Public Interest Non-profit Agencies), academics, students?


a. Local, provincial, national, international government?


Q. 3 -

a. What should the IJ cover? Only innovation, narrowly defined; public administration reform more generally; local, provincial/state, national, international?

While this is certainly the primary focus, it should be recognized that innovation in many large organizations is applicable to government organizations as well. As one example, organizational case studies that came from the American Association of Retired People (AARP) come to mind. In addition, there are strong lessons from commercial experiments with technical innovations that must be recognized as road signs for government evaluation.

-Articles, speeches by professionals, academics, students, management consultants?

In many cases there are limitations, either real or cultural, that prohibit governmental insiders from providing insight into the problems they have faced in trying to bring innovation into their service. Professionals can provide views and experience that would simply not surface without them.

-How should the agenda at the beginning be organized?

I think it has to grow organically from the interests of the community. Articles, comments on those articles, requests for ideas can themselves provide enough momentum if the community becomes involved.

-Subject areas: the learning organization, the innovation process, examples of innovation, government subject areas e.g. health, criminal justice, defence...

All of these subjects as well as opportunities to link the strategic initiatives that bring innovative forces to the table are vital.

-One way/interactive?

No question - interactive as much as possible, understanding that some editorial process must continue.

b. Please provide suggestions for topics

In addition to the topics suggested elsewhere - organizational and technical architecture and strategic processes that have yielded results

c. Suggestions for authors

d. Suggestions for books/reports to review

e. Suggestions for humour

You seem to have a good handle on this already! Keep it - we need it.

f. Suggestions for topics to debate and who could debate them.

g. Who could review articles on what subjects?

h. Which other sites (include addresses) should we link to?

i. How can we contribute to knowledge of best practices without staff?

Of course, having staff would make it easier - the best opportunities are probably from conferences where you can promote the organization and gain more recognition of the goals and hopefully more community and more input.

j. How would we weed out enthusiasm from genuine improvement?

Tough issue - no question. Perhaps some points in direction need to be reviewed by a recognized board. The problem I see with anything approaching this is everything can only be controlled out of hindsight.

k. Who is interested in innovation? names, addresses, phone and fax numbers and email addresses, please, if you have them.

Q.4 - How do we deal with barriers: not currently peer reviewed, no intellectual property rights, no permanent record, uncertain how many years it will last.

Unless you want this to become the Nobel prize system for government, I think you have to let the community direction on these issues evolve. IP rights have and will stymie many opportunities for innovation in technology, no question. But in the larger arena of promoting and sharing best practices and innovation in government organizations as a whole, if people will just open up and tell their stories, much of the rest will build itself.

Q.5 - What would constitute success?

Recognition among a dedicated community that government can learn and evolve as a whole, not just as isolated entities.


Make your Information your KnowlEDGE
Michael L. Dunham
2333 La Lima Way
Sacramento, CA 95833
Phone: 916-641-1204
Pager: 888-469-1963

Updated May 29, 2001 Revised Nov 4 2009

Last updated: June 4 2015