Federal R&D: Creating the Infrastructure to Support Innovation

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In this episode Strategic Institute discusses the lack of “infrastructure” to support federal acquisition that is dynamic and promotes synergy for the best results in R&D and delivering new capability.  Instead, the government chooses to miss opportunities and potential for significant improvement, preferring to stick with what is familiar.  The status quo acquisition system is heavy on indoctrination and has the entire culture behind it.  Shortsightedness perceives it to be the path of least resistance, it’s what everybody knows.  Though significant change is and has been needed for decades, as the system further degrades, there has been a lack of desire and support for exploring alternatives, even though policies and mandates, to do exactly that, are already in place and have been for years.

The continual attempts to be “innovative” within the confines of the traditional system fails repeatedly, one workforce generation after another.   When do we begin to invest in the “infrastructure” to support the change to match the lofty rhetoric?   Folks need education, leadership support,  networks, and community etc.   The current system, almost exclusively, receives the majority of education and resource investments  – you must assimilate.   Little support is given to anything else.  This leaves ambitious, creative people and organizations who want to focus on achieving goals and the common good out in the cold, frustrated.  Will federal leadership ever create and lay down the foundations to support real positive change in acquisition?  To this day,  it remains to be seen.

The most important federal innovation is its business processes.



  1. Tom Bruneau

    Thanks for this, as usual, excellent podcast. I wonder if you anticipate that the Acquisition Innovation Research Center, established by Congress, might take the lead in innovation. Or, maybe we should think about what Senator Truman did with the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program in the early WWII years, to push for innovation?
    I ask this as I am hopeful that my forthcoming book on DoD outsourcing gets some attention. That is, at least, my hope.