Although behavioral science has been studied and applied within academia for decades, recently the concept has emerged everywhere – from Silicon Valley tech giants such as Google and Uber, to various Government agencies including the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Agriculture.But defining and applying such a broad and sometimes-nebulous discipline can prove difficult. What exactly is behavioral science? How can the Government use the concepts and lessons learned effectively?
Many of us are familiar with the idea of crowdsourcing. Corporations and the Government both use crowdsourcing to generate data, raise awareness campaigns, and produce ideas. So, what if we used crowdsourcing to enhance our security and bridge communication gaps between the Government and American citizens at the same time?
The search for and implementation of innovative methods to protect the homeland should play an important role in homeland security managers’ approach to how they guide their organizations. Citizens expect government leaders to propose and implement organizational, acquisition, and personnel management practices that enhance our nation’s ability to prepare for and mitigate potential threats. They expect these to make them safer and the nation more secure.
Sharing in-progress work with others – your team, your client, your leaders – can be a daunting prospect. It can also be a great way to share lessons learned, drive quality into everything we do, and build trust. Working Out Loud is “a practice that combines conventional wisdom about relationships with modern ways to reach and engage people”.
At Arc Aspicio, our very best assets are our people. In 2017, we introduced a program called the ‘Leaders by Design’ aimed at growing future leaders of our firm in a peer group setting. Leaders by Design is a customized experience for Senior Associates within the company to develop leadership skills and grow professionally and personally by interacting with others with similar experiences and also with senior leaders. The Peer Group is a co-investment to focus on collective growth and development – this means the company invests money and time in developing the training and the growing leaders also invest personal time.
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.