A variety of factors, from global networks to lean staffing to state legislation, are driving innovation in government and in the products that governments buy. For example:

Ohio’s Third Frontier program is a $2.1 billion economic development initiative that includes grants that help mid-market companies develop new products. Cleveland-based consulting firm NineSigma is using the grants and open innovation (OI) techniques to connect Ohio manufacturers with the global innovation community.
Some of the products developed through the Third Frontier program may wind up on the shopping lists of government purchasing departments and agencies, says NineSigma’s Nick Kacsandi in this recent web posting on the GPN site.

Lean staffing in local governments and increasing pressure to do more with less is driving many innovations in governments says Accellion's Patrick Conte. One example he points to is public sector employees’ growing use of mobile apps to work outside the office; interact with citizenry directly; and be out in the local region to observe traffic, buildings, roads, other infrastructure.

The challenge for governments, says Conte, is to find a way to secure all of that sensitive data that sits on those mobile (and vulnerable) devices. Read Conte’s views here in this GPN post.

Innocentive’s Alph Bingham and Jon Fredrickson tell GPN that crowdsourcing and open innovation have spawned new and improved products that governments can use, including mobile apps created for citizens’ use. “Make citizens aware of your goals and objectives and invite them to engage” in the innovation process, say the Innocentive executives in this GPN piece.

Yes, there’s no shortage of innovation initiatives taking place in governments today. And U.S. manufacturers are up to the task of producing cutting-edge products that governments buy and use. You can read more about them in the pages of GPN and American City & County.

Michael Keating is senior editor for Government Product News and a contributing editor for American City and County. You can find one part of his mid-year 2014 government budget and spending forecast here.

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