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NASPO Events & Education Pulse Blog A couple of weeks ago (June 4th – 6th), I attended the Summit on Government Performance and Innovation in Minneapolis, which is organized by Governing and has been held annually since 2015. This is the second time I represented NASPO at this event to learn about the innovative initiatives of cities and governments around the country and bring that information back to NASPO members. Demographics, inclusive procurement and challenging the status quo were just some of the topics discussed. These innovative topics helped to set the tone for modernizing the way government does business. This conference highlighted the creative solutions governments are using to address a changing world.Demographics Will Transform How Government OperatesOne theme that was clear throughout the Summit is the growing impact of diversity on government performance. This was highlighted by the keynote given by James H. Johnson, Ph.D. to kick-off the Summit. Dr. Johnson discussed the demographic changes happening across the US, all of which will impact the way the country functions. While everything he touched on will impact procurement in some way, I will discuss just a couple of examples that stood out.The first trend is a major geographic redistribution of the American population to the South. In every decade since 1970, the South has seen over half of the nation’s net population growth. For example, between 2010 and 2017, the South’s population grew by 9.2 million, an increase of 55% of the nation’s total net growth. Newcomers are attracted to the area due to the warmer climate, lower cost of living and education and business opportunities. However, the South has not seen this growth evenly dispersed: over 75% of the region’s population growth has been centered in five magnet states – Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.As populations move to the South, talent and tax revenue are leaving other regions of the country. If a small group of states are attracting the majority of new talent and population growth, then other The last point I will leave you with came from the final session of day one, a session dedicated to Creative CityMaking, which cultivates relationships between city staff and local artists to address issues of disparity in the community. During the session, someone said that government “can’t keep doing things the way we always have and expect different outcomes.” The point rings true: in order to continuously improve, governments must look to challenge the status quo and grow beyond the way things have always been done. Innovation comes in all shapes and forms. As procurement officers, we must constantly be willing to look for ways of continuous improvement and be prepared for the next big innovation in the way governments do business.As innovative cities and governments have shown, innovation is about more than just change. It is about data, listening to the needs of the community, and the willingness to try something and fail. More importantly, it is about learning from the mistakes of the past and finding creative solutions to prevent those mistakes from happening again. This is especially true for state and local procurement, who are responsible for ensuring that the trillions spent on government services are spent fairly and within the confines of the law. Attending the Governing Summit was an in-depth look at one of the rising stakeholders in public procurement: innovation and modernization. Climbing this summit won’t be easy. It will require creativity and elevation of the public procurement profession, but it will be worth it to enrich the lives of the people it serves.