Innovation in Practice

Do you work with someone in the APS who has done/is doing something clever, new and/or experimental? Have you thought about nominating them for the new IPAA Public Sector Innovation Awards?If so, there’s only two weeks left to nominate so we recommend you start now. Nominations can be self-nominated or nominated by peers. Any individual, work unit, group or team of a Commonwealth Government entity may nominate an initiative for the Awards.The nomination doesn’t have to be for the biggest thing...
This post is seeking the wisdom of the crowd – so please feel free to pass it on to anyone who you think might have suggestions.Recently I was a participant in a multiple hour meeting that had several interstate attendees, representing agencies from other jurisdictions or from outside of government. Discussion turned to how we might include others who wanted to participate, but would be unable to travel to the next scheduled meeting because of budget constraints.As many public servants will...
What has at least ten Australian Public Service agencies investing in it, and has the support of the full Secretaries Board? If you guessed DesignGov’s business-government interaction project, then you’d be right!At their meeting on Wednesday 8 February the Secretaries Board [1. The Secretaries Board is the senior decision making body of the Australian Public Service, involving all of the Portfolio Secretaries and the Public Service Commissioner] discussed DesignGov’s first cross-agency project...
This post should be read in conjunction with 'Establishing, running and closing a public sector innovation lab – a reflection on the DesignGov experiment'. Please also note that a PDF version of the below post is also available - PDF 255 KB.What do you need to consider in setting up a public sector innovation lab? What is needed to operate one? And what might you need to consider if closing one?The DesignGov experiment was an 18 month initiative of the Australian Public Service to apply design-...
Each year in the Department of Innovation, members of our Graduate Development Program are responsible for a major project on which they report to our Departmental Executive. This year one of the graduate groups has been tasked with looking at Government 2.0 and associated possible opportunities for the Department.Recently, as part of their project, the graduate group arranged a seminar on social media and government by two speakers - Todd Wright of Threesides, and Craig Thomler, a leading Gov...
What do behavioural insights for development, a ‘cloud’ passport, access to menstrual hygiene products, and a singing competition to confront domestic violence have in common?These ideas and others were all pitched as part of the final stage of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) Ideas Challenge. DFAT staff presented them to a panel including the Foreign Minister the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Parliamentary Secretary the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, Secretary Peter Varghese AO, and Chris...
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...
The other day I was lucky enough to attend a talk at the Canberra Evaluation Forum given by Dr Mark Matthews, Executive Director of the HC Coombs Policy Forum based at ANU.His talk was titled ‘Evaluations and Innovation: Why improvements to dealing with uncertainty and risk in evaluation are a key enabler of public innovation’. The main message of his talk was that ‘if we are serious about building a more innovative public sector we need to get much better at building uncertainty and risk into...
Can you help us identify what information sharing forums and inter-agency networks exist across the APS?One of the first activities we have been undertaking as part of the new Centre for Excellence in Public Sector Design is to try and map out the innovation and design ecosystem within which the Centre lives. Part of that task includes identifying what channels there are for how information (including ideas) moves through and beyond the APS and where various capabilities lie.We know there are...
In September 2012 I reported that an innovation-specific pilot survey had been launched by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC). The survey was part of the APSII Project and aimed to measure innovation in the Australian Public Service (APS).  I’m pleased to report that the pilot survey was very successful and provided insightful information on public sector innovation.  A more detailed summary on key findings is available but here are some of the highlights: An innovation-specific on...