Weekly bits of interest – 8 November 2010

Developments and articles of interest from the past week:

  • In this speculative piece, Chris Dolan puts forward 10 predictions on innovation for organisations in 2020.
  • Laura Blunt from NESTA in the UK writes that the goal for public sector organisations should not be to create an innovation culture for the sake of it, but to achieve results, and that this comes from practices that allow innovation.
  • In this post Dr Magnus Schoeman writes about the value for public organisations of having formal processes for managing ideas and the need to ‘kill early and kill often’ to filter ideas.
  • Dr John Steen from the University of Queensland writes about the three horizons approach and . The three horizons approach was identified as a useful tool that might be adopted to the public sector in Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Service.
  • In this piece Kassir Hussain suggests that the key to innovation is removing barriers moreso than the innovation process used by the organisation. He nominates 6 barriers including giving people headspace to innovate, death by a thousand cuts where cumulative suggestions to an innovation can kill it, and whether the organisation’s culture encourages the right behaviour for innovation.

As always, please feel free to identify any other developments or articles of interest from the last week in the comments below.

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  1. Hi Alex,

    Do you think it would be worthwhile to create a new top level subject heading for contributors to suggest innovative ideas.

    For example, each department is essentially doing the same types of work, eg recruitment, policy, security, online publishing etc. I’m suggesting we create categorised areas where like minded individuals can talk to each other and share ideas and solve problems. I’m sure many hours are spent problem solving when there is the chance that another individual or team has experienced and solved the problem.

    It could be as simple as a duplicate of the govdex Gov 2.0 site.


    • Neil – Thanks for the suggestion. I understand there’s a lot of existing communities of practice and networks across agencies that look at some of those issues. Empowering Change included a recommendation that such communities should be supported. It might be better to look at such issues within the context of these groups. For instance this blog looks at one sub-set of issues – those to do with public sector innovation.

      Still, platforms and channels for collaborative problem-solving is something that we are giving some thought to, so we’ll add it to the items we’re looking at.

  2. 10 predictions on innovation for organisations in 2020.

    A very nice piece indeed. Of particular interest to me because of its’ relationship to innovation, social media and Gov 2.0 is the prediction about the end of management as we know it.

    Due to the influence of social media, the need for collaboration and the age old human desire to connect I think the end of management as we know it in the public sector is closer than we think. To put it bluntly we simply have too many layers of management and too many managers. And we need tgo start planning for their removal now.

    This applies particularly to corporate areas. To take the radical position they are little more than bureauacracies within bureaucracies. They get in the way of people working together. Cripes they even try o pretend they ‘own’ organisational culture.

    Disaband corporate areas so that people can make the most of ...

    ... social media and ‘get on with innovation’ and we might just experience a public service renaissance. That is, of course, the radical position. Centralising and outsourcing the processing functions of corporate areas and replacing them a social media, people development and innovation function that is way out in front would be the way to go.

    To state the obvious. We live in troubled and rapidly changing times and our current ways of working and organising ourselves are rapidly becoming a liability. So can we afford to continue carry them?

  3. Could not agree more about removing the barriers. It is going to be a huge challenge to many agencies simply give people space and remove administrative practices that stifle and kill off ideas.

    At heart it really is not that hard to do. It should just be done and the people who seek to impose those sorts of practices told not to do it. Isn’t that called leadership?

  4. Really liked the 10 predictions. Thought they were very intuitive and relevant. Must start planning for this day!

    Furthermore thought Dr John Steen’s blog about the three Horizons approach is key for getting buy in at the executive level with the focus on strategic alignment.

    One very interesting observation by Kassir in that ‘the process you adopt for innovation is actually less important than removing the barriers to innovation’. Something to consider as we develop our innovation process.