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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.

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Organisations supporting innovation

In recent years, there has been significant growth in the number of organisations dedicated to supporting innovation by addressing some of the barriers to it in the public sector. Based on a survey of more than 70 innovation teams across OECD countries, this chapter examines their role in creating a culture of innovation and spreading the use of innovation processes and methods. It categorises them according to their activities, from units supporting and co-ordinating the development of innovative solutions to innovation labs providing space for experimentation, performance teams supporting service delivery, including through innovative methods, innovation funds, and organisations providing capacity building and networking support. The chapter considers the implications of where innovation organisations sit in government, whether centrally or independent from the executive and how that affects their work. It examines when innovation teams were formed and how they are beginning to measure their impact. It discusses the considerations governments might take into account when deciding whether to set up an innovation organisation and what kind to create, and concludes with some questions for further research.

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