processing equipment purchased” (Dillman, 1996, p. 122). He stresses the importance of instilling this capability into the information technology parts of an organization, since, on one hand, the acquisition of information technology is one of the main driving forces in innovation, and, on the other hand, information technology units are often concerned with operational efficiency and not reduction of survey error. Adoption of new technologies should contribute to the reduction of survey errors, not exacerbate them.
The third step he proposed is to take measures to eliminate problems in reliable and timely communications that may be caused by the overly hierarchical nature of the organization. These measures have two components. One is that communication should not be viewed as a control function but as a means to promote the flow of information to as many people as possible in as short a time as possible. The other is to ensure that neither the research nor the operations culture entirely dominates the other. He notes (Dillman, 1996, p. 123): “A government survey organization that allows either the research culture or operations culture to control the other will neither be innovative in an effective way nor will it conduct, in the long run, high quality surveys. The organizational structure needed is one that encourages each to influence the other and allows disagreements to be worked out quickly, at lower levels under an umbrella of shared purpose.”
Dillman also observes that the barriers and remedies that he proposes are not unique to federal statistical agencies (Dillman, 1996, p. 124): “Universities, large corporations, and others all find themselves struggling with how to facilitate needed innovation, rather than unnecessarily thwarting it.”
As did the workshop participants, the Habermann paper (2010a) stresses the importance of leadership:
It is the leadership of each agency—including the senior managers—who are responsible for fostering an innovative spirit and for carrying out innovation in that agency. It is leadership who are responsible for inspiring and rewarding staff, and for developing solutions in spite of the constraints placed on the agency. It is, after all, agency leadership that must ensure that the necessary investments in innovation are made and the necessary changes to business processes are accomplished. Moreover, it is not sufficient to manage an agency; one has to manage a technical agency. Leadership then can assist in attracting and retaining staff through improved (less bureaucratic) working conditions and fostering a spirit of excitement. Leadership must also wrestle with the difficult