Systems of Innovation Within Public and Private Organizations

Case Studies and Options for the EPA: Executive Summary

by Debra Knopman, Susan A. Resetar, Parry Norling, Irene T. Brahmakulam

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This report summarizes the findings of a study of innovation within six public and private organizations. The study had several purposes:

  1. describe and analyze the characteristics of selected innovative organizations,
  2. describe and analyze the elements of change management that helped the selected organizations become more innovative; and
  3. use the findings from the cases to suggest options for innovation within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

At the request of the Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation (OPEI) in the EPA, RAND used a case study approach to provide concrete examples of organizations that had succeeded in becoming more innovative, and in the process, systematically developed “systems for system change” to manage the change process. RAND was not asked to study EPA’s own innovations or benchmark agency performance against these other organizations. Hence, these case studies offer insights and possible models for the agency, but their applicability to EPA would need to be assessed independently. Virtually any action taken by another organization would be adapted to meet EPA’s own particular circumstances and needs.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and performed within RAND Science and Technology.

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