Innovation Theory

As some of our readers already know, I’m soon heading off to new pastures for a while. Before I go, I thought it might be useful to reflect on some of the things I’ve learnt and observed since starting to work on public sector innovation in the Australian Public Service back in 2009.What has happened in 7 years?When I started working on the Management Advisory Committee project on public sector innovation in 2009, public sector innovation as a focus was pretty new. In many ways it...
Public sector innovation is something that public services across the world are looking at and there seem to be a lot of common issues. But are they really the same, or do local factors, local circumstances matter more?This March I was lucky enough to spend two weeks trying to find out.Last year we were fortunate enough to have the impressive Stephanie Wade, Director of the Innovation Lab at the Office of Personnel Management in Canberra for some meetings and a public talk. I’d actually first...
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...
For our finale for Innovation Month 2014 we’d like to announce the addition of some new guidance material about horizon scanning to the resources available on the Public Sector Innovation Toolkit.‘A practical guide: introduction to horizon scanning in the public sector’ [PDF 1.5 MB, Word 1.1 MB][1. This material was produced for us by Kate Delaney, through John Robinson Consulting Services Pty Ltd.] gives an in-depth introduction to the technique of horizon scanning and why and how it should be...
The public service is operating in an environment of constant change. How do we manage this, and what are the different models available for how the public sector might operate differently?On the afternoon of Thursday 10 July, Professor John Halligan gave a presentation as part of Innovation Month 2014 on ‘Change governance and alternative models for the public sector’.The below is an attempt to capture some of the Professor’s points. Professor Halligan noted that there were common issues in...
How can we break out of our routines, the patterns that we fall in, and consider new ways of doing things?Attendees at the Pattern Breaking Summit, held as part of Innovation Month, heard from seven great speakers with a diverse range of perspectives. You can see the program here and some of the key points from each of the speaker’s in the following sections.I found it to be a really good event with some very interesting discussions happening. A great Day 2 of Innovation Month!My colleague Rob...
How often have you intended to do one thing, but then ended up doing something less satisfactory? Wouldn’t it be good if you had help to close the gap between your good intent and your actions? How would you feel if it was your government that helped close that gap?On 2-3 June there was the first international behavioural insights conference held in Sydney, Behavioural Exchange 2014, jointly held by the NSW Government and the United State Studies Centre. It looked at the practice of ‘nudging’...
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...
(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...
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...