Effective Innovation Is Not Always Glamorous

An August 5 Governing commentary examined how innovation at the local government and nonprofit level is necessary, even if it is not always “glamorous.”  The commentary’s author cited the LIFT-UP initiative by the National League of Cities (NLC), which targets social services to those who have fallen behind on their water bill payments under the theory that if a resident is struggling to pay a water bill, they are likely struggling in other ways.

[The NLC initiative is] also interesting because it represents a form of innovation that often doesn’t get enough credit in a society accustomed to increasingly savvy technological inventions that promise to do things better, faster and cheaper. …
It’s not glamorous, but it’s innovative in a nitty-gritty, we’re going to roll-up our sleeves, get to work and solve this problem sort of way.
Innovation is often thought of in terms of a new digital technology or exciting ideas for entrepreneurial adventures — but few think of innovation and how it applies to less exciting attempts at overcoming challenges like finding new ways to address poverty and homelessness. This type of innovation is difficult, not as colorful and often doesn’t end up in the headlines.
The commentary also offered advice in three broad areas:  (1) leadership should capitalize on rewarding work; (2) helping hands need to hold hands; (3) everyone must realize change makes progress possible.
“Ideas and Innovations” is the central theme for the 2014 MACo Summer Conference.  Attendees will learn about cutting edge county programs in a variety of service areas, including environmental, finance, economic development, recreation, human services and health.