Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

The Chief Innovation Officer

May 19th

In April of 2012 the Senate passed a bill (S. 1789) after two days of floor debate that would seek to reform the broken business model of the U.S. Postal Service.  The bill contained an interesting proposal to create a Chief Innovation Officer.

At a Conference on Research into Regulated Industries I presented the attached paper that argues that this is a good idea that will be rendered ineffective by the current thinking that would seek to “regulate” innovation initiatives on a case by case basis.  To ask a government regulator such as the Postal Regulatory Commission to review market research that sought to “prove” that a new product or service was in the public interest or that the public wanted to have the USPS deliver the service in advance is a standard that even the great innovators of Silicon Valley could not meet.

To give innovation a chance, there is a need to think about it more broadly, to see its interconnections and to better define the mission of the USPS in the modern marketplace.  If the purpose of the postal service is to “bind the nation together”, as the law says, and to “provide service to all communities” there will be a need to give the institution the opportunity to pay for this service.  Innovation should be a core part of this aspiration, but the vehicle should be opened up to public-private partnership and restructured to make it successful.

Innovation and the Regulator

February 18th

What will be important to the future viability of the Postal Service in America will be to create a regulatory process that is agile, flexible and fair.  The goal should be to create a system where postal employees who may be carrying mail to households will bring their best, most innovative ideas forward, where entrepreneurs know that they can say “I have an App for that” and find a partner in the government’s monopoly postal system.

On February 17th 2010 the Postal Regulatory Commission held a hearing to receive comments on the Postal Service’s Annual Compliance Plan.  I participated in the forum and introduced Comments.

In my comments I noted that the Commission had been clear that it wanted to be judicious in “calling balls and strikes” but in a time of economic crisis where the future viability of the Postal Service may be in question its important for the Commission not only to do its assigned job, but also to work with the Postal Service, the White House and the Congress to widen the strike zone.