Knowledge Sharing Among County Staffers Essential to Spreading Innovation
County staffers have a lot on their plates, especially in this era of under-funded legislative mandates, reduced revenue and budget shortfalls. It’s hard for most county employees to find time to catch their breaths, let alone investigate new, innovative solutions to long-lasting problems. Yet when they do implement a new way of doing things — say, a new way of incorporating mental health services into the county prison system, a new incentive system for reducing energy consumption, or the creation of a cross-departmental innovation task force, to name a few examples — the rewards can be great.
But how to innovate at a time when the deck seems stacked against you? The California Civic Innovation Project (CCIP) of the New America Foundation released a report earlier this spring addressing this question, using data collected from CSAC members. Its conclusion? Effective knowledge sharing between local government staffers in different communities is essential to the diffusion of innovation. And the best way to facilitate knowledge sharing around innovative new approaches in counties is to strengthen personal networks between county staffers.