Fostering Innovation in the Public Sector

image of Fostering Innovation in the Public Sector

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.



Incentivising staff and building capacity for innovation

Public employees are central to all stages of public sector innovation, and how they are managed can be fundamental to enabling organisations to innovate. This chapter links theory and practice to explore how human resource management (HRM) can affect organisations' capacity to innovate. Starting from the premise that employees need ability, motivation and opportunity (AMO) in order to perform, it explores what this means for innovation for each of these aspects. The chapter then considers the kinds of HRM practices which might affect employees' AMO to innovate. Case studies from a number of OECD countries offer examples of awards and recognition programmes, learning in networks, schemes to increase employees’ mobility across sectors, and holistic HRM approaches to innovation. It then considers the implications for HRM approaches to leadership, work organisation, recruitment and selection, performance management, training and development, and compensation, which together may start to form the basis of a system of HRM for innovation. Finally, it considers some of the tensions that may arise as such a system is put in place and concludes with questions for further investigation.


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