Public problems are increasingly complex and connected, which requires policy practitioners to tap into creative answers.
The business case for innovation is well known. Faced with increasing citizen expectations, technological change, and the complexity and uncertainty of modern life, we need to do things differently in order to better address public policy challenges.
New Zealand is one of 40 countries that has officially adopted the OECD Declaration on Public Sector Innovation. The Declaration helps to nudge countries with a set of principles and associated actions that government and public organisations can use to enhance innovation.
What this means for policy practitioners and how we make innovation a routine part of our policy practice is worth exploring.
We encourage you to apply the Policy Capability Framework to your agency or policy team to assess and improve its policy stewardship capability. This includes a focus on how well a culture of achieving outcomes, constructive challenge, innovation and continuous improvement is promoted and maintained.
The Policy Skills Framework can also help you to assess your skills or those of your team in relation to ‘Improvement and Innovation’. This relates to seeking ways to ‘do things better’ and ‘do better things’.
The Policy Project has hosted events for the policy community with commentators and experts on innovation. Read the insights from these events including:
- A presentation and summary of a senior leader roundtable with Brenton Caffin from Nesta. The roundtable explored how to create the conditions for experimentation in policy and how to stay the course when things go wrong.
- A presentation from David Albury from the Institute for Government on how to encourage greater innovation in the policy system from a roundtable with senior policy leaders.
- A presentation from Brenton Caffin from Nesta on how to bring innovation into your policy practice from a workshop with policy practitioners.
Check out the toolkit provided by the Service Innovation Lab based on their experience of government agencies working together and really listening to people to meet the needs of people in New Zealand. The toolkit includes ideas, tools and the successes and lessons learnt along the way.
There are also international resources you may find useful. The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation website includes a range of innovation toolkits, case studies and publications on public sector innovation and transformation.
You may like to explore Nesta’s government innovation webpages. This includes a competency framework for experimenting and public problem solving which sets out the skills, attitudes and behaviours that fuel public innovation.
You may also like to check out the United Kingdom’s Policy Lab – a creative space in the UK’s Cabinet Office that uses design, data, and digital tools, and acts as a testing ground for policy innovation across government.
Connect with others
Connect with others to learn and share your innovation practice.
Locally you can join a Public Sector Innovation Collective of public servants experienced and interested in public sector innovation. The collective shares knowledge and best practice, and supports each other to create the conditions and environments for innovation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the collective.
Internationally you can join the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation’s community to connect with fellow public servant innovators and experts from around the world to share insights and lessons.