Innovation in Practice

After 18 months of research, consultation, planning and testing, I am pleased to report that the Australian Public Service Commission has now launched the first Public Sector Innovation Survey. This is a pilot survey designed to investigate innovation within the Australian Public Service (APS) and the factors that contribute to its success or failure.  It is part of the Australian Public Sector Innovation Indicators (APSII) Project, which commenced in early 2011. The project is a collaborative...
In an era of exponential technological change, and in a world where governments are seeking to reduce costs but citizen demands are changing and growing, how are we to solve entrenched problems?At a breakfast event in Canberra on Tuesday 25 February, Bill Eggers of Deloitte spoke about building the ‘solution economy’ as a means for governments to deal with a confluence of events and trends: Many governments around the world are looking at reducing costs Citizen demands are changing and...
Australian public servants seeking to innovate are not alone – that was one message I took back from the OECD’s recent conference ‘Innovating the Public Sector: from Ideas to Impact’.The conference had over 400 participants over the two days, with representatives from all over the world. It was a bringing together of likeminded innovators from the public service, academia and industry practitioners. It involved some leading innovation and public sector thinkers as well as senior leadership and...
If there was one thing that the public service could do to increase innovation in the APS, what do you think it should be?In her recent update on the APS 200 project on public sector innovation, Patricia Kelly noted that the project committee was looking at the development of an Innovation Action Plan for the Australian Public Service.This follows the example of the Victorian Public Service who released an Innovation Action Plan which identified some clear actions that the VPS is taking to...
When you think of the policy process, what do you think of?For those who have studied public policy, perhaps there are fond thoughts of the policy model as a neat process of problem identification, research, consultation, development, decision making and implementation.For those who have been involved in developing policy, there may be thoughts about a more nuanced and sometimes messy process with short timeframes, contested evidence that is interpreted differently, diverse stakeholder groups...
My name is Lance Snell and I am a graduate in the Innovation Policy Branch. This opinion piece stems from the recent talk given by David Albury as part of the APS Innovation Action Plan launch events.Innovation occurs daily in the Australian Public Service (APS) - small yet efficient sustaining innovations that provide the tax payer with incremental service or process improvements. But the majority of these are not radical innovations that shake foundations and lead down a path to further...
I recently read in an innovation newsletter that the most important motivator for innovation is progress, or being able to make and see progress in your work.[1. Based on the work of Teresa Amabile – see for instance the author talking about employee engagement] This definitely resonates for me, and I find that the feeling of having achieved something is extremely important in sustaining my appetite for further innovation.So, as the year comes to a close, it is a good opportunity to look back...
Question - what do the UK, US, Singapore and Australia have in common?Answer - one of the things in common is that all of these countries now have government innovation labs incorporating behavioural insights, design and experimentation.On Friday November 9, some of us in Canberra met with Christian Bason, the Director of Innovation for Denmark's MindLab, and heard from him about design and innovation around the world, including in each of those countries. MindLab’s success was the inspiration...
How do policy officers find or keep up with the tools and techniques that can help them do their job?At the Department of Education, the Strategic Capability Branch is helping officers do so via a customised ‘Policy Toolkit’ on the Department’s intranet.The ‘Policy Toolkit’ is an online collection of tools and techniques designed to help you with your policy thinking.Since July 2013 the toolkit is located on a blog site within the Department’s intranet and it has helped support individual...
One of the issues we had in preparing Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Service was that it was not always easy to find examples of innovation.We certainly knew innovation was happening, and there are examples in Empowering Change and the Australian National Audit Office’s report Innovation in the Public Sector: Enabling Better Performance, Driving New Directions.But we know there’s a lot more innovation happening out there in the public sector in Australia.This...