Here's How the DoD Can Achieve Continuous Process Improvement and Innovation

Combining two of the most powerful organizational tools available can enable organizations to instill a culture of innovation.

Federal government leaders know that their organizations should always be improving. But today’s multitude of complex and evolving challenges — tighter budgets, shrinking workforces, aging infrastructure and talent turnover — only compound what is already a difficult exercise. To achieve mission outcomes while at the same time cutting costs and operating more efficiently, agencies need to instill effective processes to rely on.

Traditionally, this has meant employing either Continuous Process Improvement (CPI)which helps managers quickly analyze and change systems for maximum effectiveness, or an Innovation methodology, which develops and tests potentially transformative strategies and ideas over time through multiple iterations. Both approaches have been thoroughly tested and have seen success in the public and private sectors, but they have their drawbacks as well. CPI’s focus on existing systems can only take an organization so far, while Innovation methodologies are time-consuming and difficult to implement.

In our modern environment, it is difficult to make the argument that an agency should charge forward in one direction while abandoning the other — they need to be strategic and agile at the same time. Combining the data-driven methods of CPI with the creativity of Innovation into a CP2I methodology, however, could help organizations foster creativity and collaboration within the systems they are already using, allowing employees to strategically focus their efforts and measure their effectiveness. When organizations are strapped for time and money, a CP2I approach allows them to use the experience of their employees and existing processes to innovate.

An effective CP2I approach breaks down into six major elements:

  • Breakthrough Thinking
  • Incremental and Transformational Improvements
  • Collaborative Ideation
  • Sustainable and Repeatable Process Improvement
  • Strategic Alignment
  • Culture of innovation

Each organization is different, and will require their own unique approach. In any case, changing processes and cultures won’t happen overnight. Booz Allen works with organizations to create a CP2I strategy tailored specifically to the organization’s needs through four phases: define, discover, develop and deploy

Read the viewpoint to learn more about this topic.