Tackling Policy Challenges Through Public Sector Innovation

A Strategic Portfolio Approach

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This report discusses how steering innovation investment in public sector organisations through a portfolio approach can help governments respond to the multi-faceted challenges they face. Portfolio management is a well-known device in the financial sector, allowing for dynamic decision-making processes involving regular reviews of activity and ensuring a coherent distribution of resources among strategic options. The report illustrates how this approach can be applied by public sector organisations to reap a variety of benefits, including avoiding innovation fragmentation and single-point solutionism; tackling risk aversion and learning at the portfolio level; identifying synergies among projects and activities; building value chains among projects and programmes; and layering activities connected to complex reforms. The report also discusses the type of innovation investments or facets a portfolio can help to steer and what these look like in practice.


Anticipatory innovation

This chapter introduces the concept of anticipatory innovation as part of the Public Sector Innovation Facets Model. Anticipatory innovation creates and implements value-shifting changes in environments of deep uncertainty, particularly for the purposes of exploration and to shape future priorities. Governments opt for anticipatory innovation when trends might evolve with a high degree of uncertainty. The emerging field of anticipatory innovation expands the frontier of less action-oriented disciplines such as futures thinking and strategic foresight. It aims to make futures knowledge actionable by implementing innovations based on empirical experimentation.


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