Innovation Barriers

A common refrain in the public sector is that there isn't enough time, money or resources to innovate in the public sector, and that if we only had the space, the opportunity and the support necessary so much more innovation could happen. Indeed, Empowering Change identifies lack of resources as a key barrier to innovation. But is that really the case?The recently released European Innobarometer for 2010 focused on innovation in public administration. This survey looked at the innovation...
A lot of what we discuss on this blog is about the introduction of new things - innovation as the addition of something new. But innovation can also be about stopping something. Or it can be about getting rid of something that exists to make room for a new innovation. The whole point of innovation is to do something better, and this implies that previous practices will eventually be replaced by subsequent innovations. If innovations do not result in some activities being stopped, then...
Does your agency have a designated space or group to facilitate problem-solving and the design of policy or services? You may be surprised to know that there are a number of examples of this in the Australian Public Service ranging from Betaworks in the ABS to the Concept Lab (Centrelink) or the ATO’s Simulation Centre.As part of the APS200 project on public sector innovation, we recently hosted a workshop to bring some of these dynamic groups together to look at what they have in common. The...
Recently I helped teach a course on public sector innovation as part of the Australian National Institute for Public Policy (ANIPP) executive short course offering with Dr Mark Matthews (Executive Director of the HC Coombs Policy Forum and fellow public sector innovation network member). There was some great discussion and I found it very useful to hear from people trying to apply innovation on the ground and the issues they faced in doing so.One of the topics we discussed was 'how do we share...
In a previous post we had a look at dealing with risk when preparing a business case. In this post I'll cover another part of the business case that can be problematic for innovations - identifying what resources will be needed.One of the difficulties in implementing a new idea is that it can be hard to tell what the call on resources will be. If the idea is sufficiently novel it will be different to what has been done before and therefore require an estimate rather than a full accounting of...
A common task in putting forward an innovative idea - and helping getting the idea selected - is developing the business case. Requirements for business cases can vary depending on how big an idea is and what the initial steps might be, but a fairly standard component is looking at the issue of risk.Given that innovation involves change from the status quo, it is only natural that those being asked to approve investigation or implementation of an idea will want to have a good feel for what the...
Following on from the theme of our Weekly Bits of Interest, a recent article by Science Daily reveals these findings from a study at theUniversity of Pennsylvania:New ideas trigger feelings of uncertainty that make most people uncomfortablePeople dismiss creative ideas in favour of ideas that are purely practical – tried and trueWhile people explicitly claim to desire creative ideas, they actually associated them with negative words such as ‘vomit’, ‘poison’ and ‘agony’Working in an area called...
As discussed in my previous post, one of the findings of the recent European Innobarometer survey was that budget decreases may be an important driver for public sector innovation. In this post I'd like to look at some of the other findings and what they might mean for innovation in the public sector - namely, can the public sector innovate when it does not have to?I ask this question because the survey found that it was not only budget decreases that helped drive innovation, it was also new...
This post continues from my previous post Are you a “first mover”?Each department in the Australian Public Service (APS) is faced with the problem of the first mover. In the private sector these disadvantages are offset by the positive factors that firms gain in being a first mover (such as access to a new market, efficiency gains in production, costs savings) providing decision makers a clearer risk/reward paradigm. In the APS, as the quote in the post Are you a “first mover”?, there is an...