4. Improving innovative capacity in the Latvian public sector: From insights to action

The public sector of Latvia is in an important moment where transformation is at its fingertips. With the launch of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), Modernisation Plan and a number of extensive EU supported projects, there is a significant influx in funding and appetite for change. The RRP offers 1.8 billion euros of grants targeting digital transformation, green transition, economic and social resilience and more (European Commission, n.d.[1]). Furthermore, the Modernisation Plan has the potential to have transformative impacts on the effectiveness of the public administration, public sector workforce, quality of public services, innovation and decision-making structures (Latvian State Chancellery, 2023[2]). This marks a key opportunity to drive a systemic approach to innovation in order to address complex challenges, transform the public sector and find ways to deliver greater impact to citizens.

This assessment report has detailed a number of challenges across each of the four areas included within the OECD Innovation Capacity Framework: purpose, potential, capacity and impact. While the considerations section of each component details specific actions that could be taken, the shifts presented below take a systemic perspective, proposing directional shifts to move from the current state of the public sector system to a possible future state. To steer the current system towards the desired future state, a number of ‘how might we’ statements have been included to support the development and prioritisation of concrete actions and interventions throughout future phases of this project.

This assessment report is the first key deliverable of a larger projected aimed at strengthening the innovative capacity of Latvia’s public sector system. Such efforts will help support the country to remain competitive, improve social and economic outcomes and contribute to strengthened resilience and recovery from recent crises and shocks (OECD and European Commission, 2022[3]). The upcoming project activities will help move from insights to action, such activities include:

  • A proposal for an action plan to support better innovative capacity awareness, co-ordination, and collaboration

  • Development of a national innovation strategy proposal for strengthening the public sector’s innovative capacity

  • Innovative capacity building projects that include collaboration across the central and regional levels

  • An innovative capacity monitoring framework to track progress and increase awareness in Latvia

The above activities will be designed in a consultative manner to ensure that the action plan, strategy, capacity building initiatives and monitoring framework are fit for purpose, user-centred and developed with a keen awareness of sustainability and implementation requirements.

Latvia’s innovation journey has already been ongoing for decades and steps have already been taken to support innovation such as the introduction of an Innovation Network, adherence to the OECD’s Declaration on Public Sector Innovation and the creation of the Innovation Laboratory. Continuing this journey will require a balance of quick wins to mark progress and maintain momentum (e.g., additional staff in innovation lab, launch of innovation awards) with more systemic changes (e.g. introduction of an innovation strategy, overhaul and improved engagement around procurement and regulatory approaches). Without efforts to steer systems change, transformation in the public sector will be unlikely and a continued emphasis on incremental efficiency improvements will remain. This project, paired with the RRP and Modernisation Plan prevent a clear opportunity to take a systemic approach to public sector innovation and transformation in Latvia.


[1] European Commission (n.d.), Latvia’s Recovery and Resilience Plan, https://commission.europa.eu/business-economy-euro/economic-recovery/recovery-and-resilience-facility/latvias-recovery-and-resilience-plan_en.

[2] Latvian State Chancellery (2023), Valsts pārvaldes modernizācijas plāns 2023-2027, https://tapportals.mk.gov.lv/legal_acts/c1b4cf3e-5320-4b7e-8e88-8c47b4288553.

[3] OECD and European Commission (2022), Detailed project description: Further development of the innovative capacity of the public sector of Latvia.

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