US Government .vs. Big Business – Which is More Agile?

In my working life, I’ve been involved in delivering professional services to both large aerospace & automotive companies as well as major organizations of the US Department of Defense.  I used to subscribe to the notion that underachievers chose to make a career in government organizations just waiting for retirement, while the goal-driven folks worked in private industry…  The reality is quite different.  Over the past few years, I’ve seen the agility of many goverment organizations surpass their counterparts in big businesses. 

It appears that many big businesses have ossified to the point that they can’t even consider innovative ways to get things done.  They say they embrace “lean” manufacturing or “six sigma” product development, but so much of it is a smoke screen.  I believe that this is a result of many big companies spending all of their energies reducing cost by “off-shoring” as much as possible to “emerging markets” (do you like my use of corporate euphemisms?).   The efforts to move engineering and production to places such as Mexico, India, or China is no small task.  However, the next stage of growth for these companies is going to require them to really embrace innovative ways to reduce the time to develop products…

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