Innovation in Practice

Is it a good idea to reward good ideas in the public sector?Variations of this question come up in conversation quite often so I thought it would be worth putting forward some ideas and my view on this question.The short answer is – probably not, particularly if it is a financial reward. Other forms of recognition are generally going to be a better option.Now, this is a personal view – as usual there are lots of caveats about what works for different organisations and different settings at...
One of my favourite cartoonists is Hugh MacLeod of GapingVoid who creates ‘art with purpose’. His work provides commentary about contemporary work and organisations. He believes that art can convey ideas better than other forms of communication.One of my favourite pieces of his is his piece ‘Create or die!’ which served as the inspiration for one of the final Innovation Month 2014 activities, the Uncomfortable Ideas speaker series event ‘Create or Decline: Can you be an effective public servant...
In October, I wrote about our investigations into the development of a MindLab-like space in the Australian Government. Well, week-before-last we were fortunate to spend some time with the head of the Danish MindLab, Christian Bason, who was in Australia as part of the Social Innovator Dialogues. This was our chance to find out how MindLab works and get Christian’s thoughts on how it might be applied in the Australian context.Christian’s visit to Canberra involved a number of activities...
At a recent meeting I heard someone say that “in the public service failure is seen as failure, not a sign that you need to try something else” and it struck a chord with me. Given today is the International Day for Failure it seemed like a good time to ponder this further.In the public service there is a very real aversion to failure. We can get very defensive about failure. We can try and frame failures as something else. We can ignore them or pretend they didn’t happen. It is very rare that...
On the blog we often focus on what is happening in Australia and touch upon some of the overseas developments in public sector innovation. Many of the relevant reports and case studies point to similarities in the issues being faced here and overseas in strengthening public sector innovation capability. But is that really the case? Do public sector agencies across the world have similar innovation experiences?Recently I was invited by the Taiwan Public Governance Research Center (TPGRC) to...
 It has been 3 months *eek* since the worlds first GovJAM….and we are still digesting the enormity of what we all created! I have been back at least 15 times to the GovJAM site reflecting on the services that were prototyped. So many brilliant ideas. So what next?We have been a little bit quiet since GovJAM and Innovation Week as we have been preparing a Public Sector Innovation Annual Report, where GovJAM and the Global Service Jam feature front and centre. We are also working hard putting...
Do you have any case studies of innovative initiatives in the public service?An important part of the public sector innovation agenda is sharing examples of innovation in practice. That’s why we created the Public Sector Innovation Showcase.As noted in the APS Innovation Action Plan, “The Public Sector Innovation Showcase will enable government agencies and departments to share and celebrate case studies of innovation, and to consider how they might apply such innovative practices within their...
One of the things we aim to do with the Innovation Blog is to discuss tools, strategies and approaches that can assist or supplement the innovation process in public sector organisations. In this post we give a brief look at horizon or environmental scanning.Recently a colleague and I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Australasian Joint Agencies Scanning Network (or AJASN). The AJASN is a group of representatives from government agencies and others that meet quarterly to undertake...
This is a guess post from an international counterpart, Marc Hébert (@anthromarc). Marc is a design anthropologist for the City and County of San Francisco, California, USA. He works in the Human Services Agency’s Innovation Office. The Agency’s 2,000+ employees help around 150,000 clients who experience poverty and abuse.  The Innovation Office serves as an internal consultant to improve how HSA clients and employees experience service delivery in order to improve programs’ intended outcomes....
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...