Innovation Theory

How can we in the public service best assess whether a specific intervention has worked – or has worked better than what is already available and is also cost-effective?On Thursday 31 January, the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education and the Department of Education and Workplace Relations hosted a joint workshop looking at the question of how randomised control trials can be used to evaluate public policy. We were joined at the workshop by two expert...
On this site we talk about innovation all the time, but sometimes it’s important to remember that not everyone is familiar with what it is or what it really means.In response to my previous post on the Innovation Toolkit one of the commenters (Con) said that the Toolkit should start from the start and be a course in innovation. I’ve also been asked recently by another agency whether there were any short overarching pieces on public sector innovation.While there are some resources available on...
What do Sticky notes and a rubber chicken have in common? The possibility to change the world of course!Service Design thinking, for those who haven’t heard of it, is an interdisciplinary approach that offers great value for entrepreneurs and innovators in the field of services. Design thinking can help solve organisational problems, drive meaningful innovations and inform business strategies.It is not about creating products, but creating services – intangibles that hinge upon experience and...
The following post details my personal reflections on the Behavioural Exchange 2014 Conference. An overview of what emerged from the conference is provided in a separate post.In my opinion, behavioural insights offer a lot for public servants. The field helps provide a richer understanding of people, how and why they might react or act, and a more sophisticated set of empirical tools and strategies for assessing the effectiveness of interventions.It also helps us as individuals understand our...
At the Australian Centre for Excellence in Public Sector Design we are seeking to understand what is the nature of the design eco-system and the tools and methodologies being used. In this post I thought I would share with you the results of some of that work and to seek your help.What I have found is that there isn’t a definitive single approach, however all the approaches employed by the various players in the design eco-system seek to give effect to the following five credos (adapted from...
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...
This is the fifth and final post in a series about the Coursera course ‘Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society'.In the last lectures of the course, Professor Ulrich looked at supply chains and the need for designers to understand the costs and steps of the supply chain (and that the design budget is usually only one quarter of the retail price of a commercial product). The Professor took us through the likely supply chain and costs of two types of electric toothbrushes.While this element of...
Innovation is not an easy process. By its very nature innovation it is about changing how things are done, and that means that there will be resistance of some form - otherwise the innovation would probably have already been introduced.There are a lot of tools available that can help us when we are looking for, and then implementing, innovative solutions. The problem is that it can be hard to know what tool is useful for what situation, and how that tool can be implemented. That's where the...
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...
(Professor Sandford Borins is one of the leading thinkers in public sector innovation globally, and was a keynote speaker at the first APS Innovation Week in 2012. Professor Borins’ latest publication in the public sector innovation area is The Persistence of Innovation in Government which will be published on June 2 – though you can read the monograph The Persistence of Innovation in Government: A Guide for Innovative Public Servants now. We asked Professor Borins if he could update us on his...