The Innovation System of the Public Service of Canada

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Governments today are confronted with a complex array of interconnected problems, increased citizen expectations, and fiscal constraints. Furthermore, they must operate in a context of fast-paced technological, geopolitical, economic, social, and environmental change. Existing policies and programmes may not be suitable for tackling the challenges of today, let alone those of tomorrow. Governments therefore require a systemic approach to public sector innovation to develop and deliver novel solutions that meet the existing and emergent needs of citizens. This report looks at the experience and context of the Public Service of Canada, where significant emphasis has been placed on innovation, and proposes a new public sector innovation system model to assist Canada and other countries.

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What is known about public sector innovation?

This chapter explores what is known about public sector innovation, and why a shift in governments’ approach towards innovation is necessary. It looks at the characteristics of innovation and examines its implications in the government context. The chapter also assesses current knowledge on innovation and evaluates how it might inform the development of a model for public sector innovation systems. It concludes by analysing which forms of support best ensure consistent and reliable innovation in the context of a changing environment.

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