Frugal Innovation: Another Framework to Change Government

ATOM CPU could change Government Technology Adoption Worldwide

ATOM CPU could change Government Technology Adoption Worldwide

Nitish Mukhi @ GovFresh highlights some interesting work from The Economist on Frugal Innovation.  Interesting that we continue to try to place private sector efforts on top of public sector business processes. While I think we can learn a lot from these efforts, we need to be purposeful as to when they apply and when they wont work.

That being said, Nitish has interesting insight into the article:

  • Focus on your core business and contract out the rest  Governments are realizing that they are in the business of protecting and serving the citizens and not in the business of writing software applications. This is one reason why we are seeing a huge push towards Commercial Off The Shelf solutions and away from custom applications. This also applies to how governments deliver services. The City of Arlington, Texas, has a program called Code Rangers, where citizens are trained in the most common code enforcement violations to help with bylaw enforcement issues and has outsourced several inspections to third party firms all because they know their core focus.

  • Use existing technology in imaginative new ways The world where every department within a government organization bought their own siloed workflow application for its own purpose where it didnt have to share data with the rest of the organization are gone. Also gone are the days where governments could easily find and retain talented IT staff to sustain all those applications. When Province of Nova Scotia was asked to quickly develop a tax rebate system by the Premier, it had a couple of options: build from scratch or see what existing technology they can leverage. Within a matter of months, Nova Scotia had a rebate system up and running on a COTS platform. The City of St. Paul, Minnesota has leveraged its existing permitting software to also automate its internal IT support and ticketing functions. On a personal note, Im excited to see that governments are using existing technology in such creative and imaginative ways. This imaginative thinking has helped government agencies deliver more services with less costs, effort and resources.

  • Apply mass production techniques in new and unexpected areas  If you were to walk into the first floor of city hall or the building department of City of San Jose, CA, City of Arlington, TX, or Orange County, FL, you will see a well laid out and planned One Stop Shop for Permitting. Where previously, the permitting process was disjointed, these organizations have setup a One Stop Shop to manage large volumes of customers in a streamlined and efficient manner. The sheer volume of applicants these organizations face has forced them to rethink their processes, specialize its people, and leverage various technologies to deliver the required results.
  • Related posts:

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Matt Miszewski has been a leader of incredible teams, that accomplished unbelievable goals - together. From rebuilding an enterprise technology strategy from the ground up as Chief Information Officer of the State of Wisconsin to driving a struggling global sales and marketing team to live beyond their potential and helping take their stock from $45/sh to over $110/sh, I have been honored to take on huge challenges and beat them by building collaborative and high performing teams. I was proud to be a regular speaker on Digital Realty's earnings call each quarter and being able to brief and advise the Board of Directors each quarter. Focusing on our shareholders needs while coupling that focus with the needs of our top customers was the combination the street was searching for and our increase in equity value proves the effort worthwhile. Our focus on total leasing costs, net present value of long term leases, closing the gap on cash performance and elimination of stagnant inventory helped to drive a stalled stock. Most proud of standing up a revenue engine that will be used for decades including a renewed global salesforce, inside sales expertise, demand generation focus, new global Partners and Alliances program, sales operations team and a heightened focus on connecting lead development to sales outcomes (including a new social marketing program, AR/PR, digital presence, brand identity refresh, SEO/SEM and a regular campaigning process). Combining decades of technology leadership with this commercial success creates an incredible package to unleash revenue and hack growth for companies from any industry out there.

    2 Responses to “Frugal Innovation: Another Framework to Change Government”

    1. Nitish Mukhi says:

      Hi Matt, thanks for mentioning my frugal innovation post on your blog. I’m glad that you took interest in my insight, and agree with your point that we need to carefully implement private sector solutions in the public sector, taking into consideration the benefits and risks. Feel free to let me know if you’re interested in learning more about how government agencies are creatively using COTS solutions. –Nitish Mukhi, Vice President of Business Development for CSDC Systems (

      • Matt says:


        I think your work has a huge role to play in the new world of government 2.0 and reform in general. I am working on a model right now that might suggest a specific location in all governments consideration for your work. As we look at the impact level to citizens and the degree to which the efforts create a solid platform for innovation within government there is a sbset of activities that absolutely must continue but need to be driven by efficiency.

        I look forward to collaborating with you.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>