Trends in government innovation

Perspectives

Trends in government innovation

Insights to action

Governments worldwide must often do more with less—and meet changing needs. Trends in government innovation show it’s possible to reduce costs while improving services.

Rethinking incarceration: Is home confinement a viable prison alternative?

Studies show that long sentences don’t always reduce crime or the chance of a repeat offense. Is home confinement the answer to overcrowded, costly prisons?

Read, "Rethinking incarceration: Is home confinement a viable prison alternative?"

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Discover more trends in government innovation

One city’s data-driven transformation
Author: William D. Eggers
In its war on blighted properties, New Orleans is demonstrating its leadership in the use of data analytics.

Biking and shared rides absorb Metro Safetrack spillover
Washingtonians suffering slowdowns, traffic jams, and general headaches during Metro’s Safetrack repair program since last June will need to endure through mid-2017, according to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

Mindful Medicaid
Authors: Melissa Majerol, Patrick Howard
Policymakers are using behavioral economics to move the needle on maternal and child health.

How government data can supercharge the nudge
Authors: William D. Eggers, James Guszcza, Michael Greene
Jurisdictions are tapping the latest in behavioral science to steer people toward better choices. Emerging technologies can increase its impact.

Innovation in government starts with being intentional
Author: Dan Helfrich
Dan Helfrich shares his thoughts on the role of intent in driving innovation in the federal government.

How to foster an innovation culture in government
Author: William D. Eggers
The government has helped enable some of the greatest technological developments—from space travel to the internet. But today, there exists an innovation gap between private sector and government. How can government reignite innovation within its culture?

Government problems and the power of prizes
Authors: William D. Eggers, Anesa Parker
Prize based challenges are gaining popularity in government. The reason? They’re engaging, cost-effective and most importantly—successful.

The case for lightweight government
Author: William D. Eggers
Problem-solving in government has traditionally been associated with huge costs. But it no longer has to be. Today, innovative approaches can lead to lower costs with better outcomes.

The key to military innovation
Authors: Chuck Wald, Joe Mariani
The third offset strategy might be a driving force for military innovation—a blueprint for success.

Smart city tech would make military bases safer
Author: Ted Johnson
Applying technologies that power smart cities to military bases can help make them smarter and safer.

Compliance without tears
Authors: William D. Eggers, Greg Pellegrino
For businesses, complying with regulations can be burdensome. Redesigning the compliance experience could help change that—and governments around the world are exploring options to improve the experience for businesses.

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Case study: New Mexico Department of Workforce solutions

Nudging more honest behavior in unemployment insurance programs

New Mexico used a unique approach to tackling the problem of small-scale fraud in unemployment insurance (UI) claims. Officials at the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) recognized that a large portion of their fraudulent claims was due to small fibs rather than criminal intent.

Take Eric, for example. Eric was fired from his job as a line cook for repeatedly being late. When he applies for UI benefits, he’s asked whether he was fired or laid off. Eric picks the latter. Or consider Karen, a single mom who’s been laid off and has begun collecting unemployment. In her search for full-time work, Karen opts to take a temporary job at 20 hours a week until a full-time position opens up. But when she’s asked if she worked in the last week, she checks the “no” box. George lost his job when a local paper downsized. He’s tackling that novel he always wanted to write. And while he occasionally scans the job openings on Craigslist, he never really follows through. But when George is asked if he’s actively looking for work, his response is “yes.”

One traditional solution is to pursue low-level cases of fraud more vigorously, which is typically expensive and heavy-handed and may deny benefits to those who genuinely qualify. Instead of pursuing a more traditional “chase and recover” approach, however, New Mexico’s DWS opted to use behavioral economics principles to nudge claimants toward honesty through targeted interventions. Showing Eric a preloaded letter of inquiry about the circumstances surrounding Eric’s termination addressed to his ex-employer may provide just enough of a nudge to make him do the honest thing. Letting Karen know that nine out of ten people report all new income could be enough to encourage her to report hers. And asking George to commit to a specific job search goal each week may increase his follow-through—and his chances of finding another job.

New Mexico’s use of these techniques made claimants twice as likely to report new earnings, half as likely to commit fraud, and up to 20 percent more likely to find work. By nudging its customers toward positive behavior, the agency was able to improve outcomes and deliver on its overall mission.

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Instead of pursuing a more traditional “chase and recover” approach, New Mexico’s DWS opted to use behavioral economics principles to nudge claimants toward honesty through targeted interventions. New Mexico’s use of these techniques made claimants twice as likely to report new earnings, half as likely to commit fraud, and up to 20 percent more likely to find work. 

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Insights to action is a community for sharing proven ideas during a time when government agencies are almost universally experiencing disruptive change. It shares insights from trusted leaders with extensive experience and diverse perspectives on leadership, strategy, business operations, innovation, and emerging capabilities.

Insights to action helps leaders and managers look again at the challenges and opportunities that come along with the evolution in government. 

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