I presented a teaching case on Independent Demonstration Projects at the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Social Equity Leadership Conference on June 10, 2022. NAPA will post a video of the presentation, but in the meantime my slides are at social-equity-leadership-conference-.pdf
I have developed a teaching case about Independent Demonstration Projects, which is a successful strategy to implement innovations in government without prior approval of agency officials. The case is currently pending peer review for publication. I would be pleased to send a copy of the draft case materials to any faculty member who wants to examine it for possible use in their teaching. I can be reached at David.Reed@PubAdmin.org
The standard advice to government innovators is: “First make sure you have the support of agency officials.” That’s like advising soldiers: “First make sure the enemy has run out of ammunition.” It would be great, but if you wait for it to happen then you may never act.
Independent Demonstration Projects is a successful strategy to innovate in government without prior approval of officials. The innovator implements her idea as a minimum viable product, using whatever resources are available to her. Once the innovation is implemented, it creates pressure on officials to sustain or expand it using government resources.