January 16, 2020
Accenture and NASCIO Release Report on Innovation and the Role of CIOs
Report cites innovation as critical priority; top barriers include lack of funding, workforce skills and time
ARLINGTON, Va.; Jan. 16, 2020 – A new report from Accenture and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) focuses on the perspectives of state chief information officers (CIO) regarding innovation and highlights approaches and success factors that can advance innovative practices in state government. The report includes examples of leading practices of state CIO innovation governance structures, ecosystems, budgeting for innovation and recommendations to help state CIOs develop operating models and initiatives that can drive innovation in state government.
The new findings reveal most state CIOs see innovation as a major part of their job – 83% said innovation is an important or very important part of their day-to-day leadership responsibilities – while only 14% reported extensive innovation initiatives within their organizations. Previously, NASCIO had highlighted innovation as a top ten current issue facing state CIOs.

“The pace of technological change keeps accelerating, bringing new challenges and opening opportunities, and state CIOs have an important, central role to play in fostering innovation to help government deliver better services and value to citizens,” said Doug Robinson, NASCIO’s executive director. “State government operating models should evolve to better enable, emphasize and capture the benefits of innovation, and this research points the way forward.”
The survey of state CIOs focused on identifying current practices and their views regarding obstacles to innovation. Most notably:
  • Lack of funding is seen as the top barrier: 63% cited as top barrier, followed by workforce skills
  • Executive support for innovation is perceived as low: 26% said their state administrative leadership has made innovation a stated priority, and 6% said their state legislature has done so
  • Governance structures to oversee innovation are becoming more common: 49% have one and 31% are developing one
  • Collaboration in innovation ecosystems is mainly internally focused: Input from employees is the top source of innovative ideas, cited by 63%, while less than half point to external collaborations and only 14% point to input from citizens
  • Workforce skills are a pervasive challenge: 85% cited struggles finding the right skills for innovation, and 46% identified lack of skills as the top barrier for innovation
“State CIOs have many opportunities to foster innovation in their agencies and the departments they support,” said Rick Webb, Accenture managing director. “Effective innovation depends on consistent, strong leadership support, collaborative systems and a conducive organizational culture, and state CIOs are key across all these dimensions.”
The report is available on www.nascio.org as well as on Accenture.com.
About the Research
Accenture and NASCIO conducted a survey and interviews with state CIOs during 2019. In July 2019, short-form interviews were conducted with 12 state CIOs. An online survey of state CIOs was fielded August through September 2019, with 35 responses. Subsequently, in-depth, long-form interviews were conducted with 10 CIOs in September and October 2019.
About Accenture 
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions — underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network — Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With 505,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers is the premier network and resource for state CIOs and a leading advocate for technology policy at all levels of government. NASCIO represents state chief information officers and information technology executives from the states, territories, and the District of Columbia. For more information about NASCIO visit www.nascio.org.
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