06/14/2013 02:01 pm ET Updated Aug 14, 2013

Getting past the roadblocks to government innovation

Innovation can take many forms in government, from implementing improved work processes and more effectively providing critical services to the public, to discovering medical breakthroughs that save lives, finding ways to achieve large cost savings or landing a robotic vehicle on Mars.

In a recent analysis of the 2012 "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" data by the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte, employees throughout the federal government said they wanted to be innovative, but did not feel they were getting sufficient leadership support.

While 91 percent of the federal employees surveyed said they are always looking for ways to do their jobs better, only 57.2 percent said they are encouraged to do so. In addition, only about one-third believe creativity and innovation are rewarded by their agency.

Given the enormous challenges facing the nation, there is a great need for innovation to help spur improved agency performance, especially at a time of reduced resources and declining trust in government. Fortunately, some agencies are making progress and were ranked highly by their employees regarding innovation, including NASA, the State Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.