Which agencies rank as the most innovative? The least?

The vast majority of federal employees are looking for ways to do their jobs better, but they often feel their creativity goes unrewarded, according to a new study by the Partnership for Public Service.

The study asked feds about their own approach to the job, whether innovation was encouraged at their agencies and whether it was rewarded, and rated agencies based on the answers.

Not all agencies stifle creativity, the study found. NASA led the pack, with an innovation score of 75.9 (on a scale of 100), followed closely by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 75.6.

Related story:

Which agencies are the best – and worst – places to work?

Also in the top five: the General Services Administration, 68.3; the State Department, 67.7; and the Army, 67.2.

Overall, the federal government scored a 63, which the report said “shows considerable opportunity for government to improve.” Perhaps the biggest area for improvement is in finding ways to reward employees for innovative thinking.

The study found that 91.4 percent agreed when asked if they were “constantly looking for ways to do my job better.” And 59.6 percent said they were encouraged to come up with “new and better ways of doing things.”

But only 39 percent said creativity and innovation were rewarded.

“This suggests federal workers are motivated to drive change through creativity, but need stronger support from their organizations and leaders to do so,” the report concludes.

The study on innovation is an expansion of the partnership’s Best Places to Work in the Federal Government program, which annually surveys and ranks agencies.

It ranked 28 large agencies on the innovation question. The rest of the top 10, with their scores:

6. Environmental Protection Agency, 66.8
7. Defense Department, 66.4
8. Navy, 66.2
9. Air Force, 66.1
10. Heath and Human Services Department, 64.7

The bottom 10:

19. Office of Personnel Management, 60.6
20. National Archives and Records Administration, 60.2
21. Agriculture Department, 60.1
22. Education Department, 58.8
23. Labor Department, 58.3
24. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 57.9
25. Housing and Urban Development Department, 56.6
26. Homeland Security Department, 56.4
27. Transportation Department, 55.4
28. Securities and Exchange Commission, 54.1


About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.


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