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Building a Culture for Innovation: Key Takeaways from the 2022 Federal Innovation Summit

By Malini Wilkes

Building a culture of innovation at a large organization starts with fostering a learning mindset, which includes accepting risk and embracing failure.

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America has a long history and worldwide reputation for innovation and problem-solving. In the modern age, the U.S. federal government has collaborated with industry and academia to catalyze some of the most important scientific and technological advances of our time—sending astronauts to the moon and unmanned vehicles to Mars; helping to launch the internet; and contributing to significant medical breakthroughs, including most recently, the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

On the flip side, federal agencies have also earned a reputation as being bureaucratic organizations—bound by rules and regulations, stifled by processes, lacking in creativity, and paralyzed by an aversion to risk.

The January 2022 Federal Innovation Summit, sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service and MITRE, brought together more than 240 federal employees from 40 agencies to discuss novel approaches to creating a culture of innovation within federal agencies. This paper summarizes key takeaway messages from the summit.