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.



Overview: The role of government management in fostering public sector innovation

The nature and scale of public sector challenges require governments to develop a response that goes beyond incremental process improvements, but rather introduces new ways to frame problems and develop solutions. Because public sector innovation does not happen by itself, governments have a key role to play to promote innovative behaviours and create conducive environments for innovation. This chapter starts by discussing the change of trajectory of public sector innovation, from “green-field” to “disruptive” and what this entails in terms of governments’ capacity to respond to a changing context and the citizens’ needs. It discusses the key policy tools governments can use to support public sector organisations to accelerate their innovation activity. It introduces the innovation lifecycle as a useful framework to map the use of different policy tools for overcoming innovation barriers and strengthening organisations’ capacity to innovate. The chapter concludes with the key factors that explain the innovativeness of public sector organisations: capability, motivation and opportunity to innovate.


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