From our early days as entrepreneurs – in our basement with our dog, Magnum – we have focused on being a consulting firm, not just a company that puts people on projects, but one that provides significant executive attention, applies methods and innovations, and achieves long-term collaborative partnerships with our clients.
According to a popular management joke, new executives should blame their predecessors when facing their first crisis. When facing their second crisis, they should reorganize everything. Jokes are funny when they’re seen as plausible. Reorganizations show action, produce change, and create opportunities for new leadership. However, are reorganizations worth the disruption?
The private sector has long been on board with the overwhelming benefits of Design Thinking. Empathizing with the end user during iterations of creative exploring, experimenting, and prototyping results in the most successful solutions. But the Government has not been quite so quick to adapt. One arm of the Department of Defense (DoD) is working to change this.
Washington, DC, June 7, 2017 — Arc Aspicio plans to host an inaugural Design Thinking Forum featuring a discussion on how Federal leaders can innovate solutions to create the future of Government. Design Thinking is a human-centered innovation process that emphasizes observation, collaboration, fast learning, visualization of ideas, rapid concept prototyping, and concurrent business analysis, which ultimately generates innovation and increased mission outcomes.
New technologies are popping on the scene every day – artificial intelligence, Big Data, visualizations – and the rate of technology change continues to increase rapidly. You might think the best approach is to jump into Agile software development to get the new tech as soon as possible. But sometimes it’s better to slow down before you accelerate.
As a growing consulting firm focused on the Federal government, we have something in common with our clients. Our workforces must both increase their focus on habitually using innovation techniques to solve problems – getting results more quickly and more broadly.
“Employees at all levels are too busy ‘doing their jobs’ and ‘fighting fires’ to devote time or pay heed to strategic initiatives.” It’s a common complaint. Academic literature has confirmed that ‘firefighting’ takes up much of the manager’s job and offers extensive advice on how to stop fighting fires – and even how to suppress the urge to do so.
Government agencies and businesses must embrace innovation and strategic thinking to keep up with today’s changing society, rising demands, and complex problems. Encouraging organizations to fully adopt innovative thinking, however, is difficult. Organizations are often focused on their daily activities and have limited time to discover new approaches. In addition, employees often choose to stay with proven, mainstream solutions because they fear wasting resources or failure.
Agency leaders have more than a little to do these days. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released guidance for implementing Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda on Federal management and human capital. The Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce (M-17-22) directs agencies to create comprehensive plans to enhance mission focus, streamline operations, and improve workforce effectiveness and efficiency.
As information sharing has become more common across local, state, and federal agencies, homeland security partners need tools to manage this critical data. SharePoint has emerged as an information sharing tool that can assist emergency managers, law enforcement agencies, and others across the homeland security enterprise with the sharing of sensitive data with internal and external partners, quickly and securely.
The pace of change is accelerating. Government agencies, and their employees, must find new ways to support their stakeholders and manage internal operations in the face of changing mission expectations and potential budget cuts. Guiding the workforce through the change is messy and challenging and is essential to successful implementation of innovative ideas, technologies, and processes.
Despite new methods, agile processes, and more certified project managers than ever, large, complex programs are not achieving mission goals faster or more cost effectively. Can legislation make a difference?
Two main types of problems can make it difficult to make data-driven decisions: technical and cultural. Technical difficulties could include data that is messy, incomplete, or split between different departments or components. Cultural factors might include a resistance to change, an environment that favors trusting your instincts, or a belief that things are fine the way they are.
When it comes to retaining your workforce, one feature correlates to 87% increases in retention and 57% increases in employee effectiveness. It is not compensation. It is employee engagement. Engagement measures an employee’s emotional commitment to an organization and willingness to use discretionary effort to achieve organizational goals. In other words, engaged employees strive to exceed the status quo.
Gratitude is one of a great leader’s most powerful tools. It creates positive energy among an organization and the sense of appreciation permeates through the work the collective group is performing. Influential leaders listen to the needs of their colleagues and express gratitude. This helps them bring out the potential in the people they lead and inspire them to achieve what is most important to them and to the project.
Washington, DC, March 13, 2017 — The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) announced the two teams that join the Arc Aspicio family. The addition of the New York and Utah teams bring Arc Aspicio’s total number of dog and handler teams to six.
Washington, DC, March 10, 2017 — Consulting Magazine announced Arc Aspicio Design Thinking Practice Lead, Christina Tierno, as one of its 2017 Rising Stars of the Profession. Consulting Magazine’s Rising Stars of the Profession is an annual list of 35 up-and-comers in the consulting profession under the age of 35.
Design Thinking requires two things that don’t always come naturally in Government initiatives: empathy and rapid change. However, Government leaders are constantly challenged to identify and implement Quick Wins to inspire their workforce as they solve big challenges.
Washington, DC, February 14, 2017 — Arc Aspicio started a pro bono project for Courtney’s House, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the victims and survivors of human trafficking. Arc Aspicio supports Courtney’s House on their priority needs.
Project Management best practices and methods continue to evolve to address the biggest challenges Government agencies face in today’s market. The increased use of Agile and the move from traditional waterfall methodologies is fairly common in Information Technologies. Projects use Agile methods such as Scrum or Kanban, and organizations invest a lot of time and effort to make this cultural shift on projects.