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Fostering Innovation in the Public Sector

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Public sector innovation does not happen by itself: problems need to be identified, and ideas translated into projects that can be tested, implemented and shared. To do so, public sector organisations must identify the processes and structures that can support and accelerate innovation. This report looks at how governments can create an environment that fosters innovation. It discusses the role of government management in inhibiting or enabling innovation, and the role that specific functions such as human resources management and budgeting can play. It suggests ways to support innovation – including by managing information, data and knowledge – as well as strategies for managing risk. Drawing on country approaches compiled and analysed by the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, the report presents a framework for collecting and examining data on the ability of central government to foster public sector innovation.

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Conclusions: Towards a framework for country studies of public sector innovation

The OECD’s call for action (Box 1.1) has set the direction for those governments wishing to embark on an innovation journey. It has urged governments to develop a framework to tackle the most significant barriers to innovation and make the most of innovation to improve their public sectors. This report has taken the call for action a step forward by identifying and analysing key aspects of how government works that affect the public sector’s capability and motivation for innovation, thereby creating (or not) an environment that supports it.

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