New Frontier

Finding a New Frontier

We recently came across a presentation based on the book “Boundary Spanning Leadership” by the Center for Creative Leadership and were intrigued by the notion that boundaries create borders and frontiers.

Frontiers allow for different ways of working and forming new collaborations to solve problems, drive innovation, and lead breakthrough change. “Boundary Spanning Leadership” not only provides a blueprint of how to solve problems, drive innovation and transform organizations from a tactical perspective, but also illustrates the importance of reshaping attitudes about boundaries, and how to embrace the frontier opportunities that they provide. Great concept but could this ever work in the Government given the traditional organizational hierarchy? Surprisingly, the answer is YES.

Financial Innovation and Transformation (FIT) is spearheading an enterprise project to develop a common solution to identity assurance in light of the new revision to NIST publication 800-63.

Aside from the complexity of the technology involved, bringing together 34 programs and 16 business units is challenging, but one we have found to be exceptionally rewarding. Forging the new frontier of cooperation and collaboration across so many previously “siloed” business areas is at the heart of FIT’s mission of transformation.

Throughout the project lifecycle, extraordinary partnerships and alliances were formed across the bureau. Dedicated servants were stepping outside their comfort zones – for the sake of innovation – because they knew the boundaries of the past were actually borders.

Bits of each program and business silos were torn down, opening up discussion platforms and minds to more cross-bureau development of solutions. And most importantly, creativity and innovation were the focus to find the right solution.

FIT, and the bureau, are in the final stages of the project. It is well over a year since FIT started the project and there were times the new frontier felt more like the Wild West. Building trust, engagement, and shared ownership across 50 distinct groups in the bureau was no small task. But looking back, it was all part of the process and both FIT and the bureau are better off for forging ahead to find this new frontier.

Having this experience under its belt, FIT is more driven to ask the question; “What other frontiers can be discovered to find efficiency and lower-cost solutions across the Government?”

Quick References

OMB 16-11, Improving Administrative Functions Through Shared Services

Circular No. A-123 Appendix D, Compliance with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of l996

OMB M 13-08, Improving Financial Systems Through Shared Services

OMB M 10-26, Immediate Review of Financial Systems IT Projects

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