Topics: Innovation, Innovation system, Management Pages: 131 (38521 words) Published: February 9, 2013

Promoting Innovation in the Public Sector: Case Studies

Management Advisory Committee Report 9 - ANNEX 1

Assessing Policies, Programs and Other Initiatives to Promote Innovation in the Public Sector: International Case Studies

Don Scott-Kemmis November 2009

The Challenge of Sustaining Innovation in the Public Sector

Don Scott-Kemmis & Associates


Promoting Innovation in the Public Sector: Case Studies

Assessing Policies, Programs and Other Initiatives to Promote Innovation in the Public Sector: International Case Studies

Summary 3


Framework for Assessing Policies, Programs and 6

Initiatives to Promote Innovation in the Public Sector


Case Studies: B.1 B.2 B.3 B.4 United Kingdom Canada Singapore Netherlands 28 44 60 68


Prior Research on Public Sector Innovation – References. 79

Don Scott-Kemmis & Associates


Promoting Innovation in the Public Sector: Case Studies Summary The factors that are driving the strong interest in innovation in the public sector are likely to increase. This will ensure that greater innovativeness in the public sector will remain a priority. These factors include the increasingly pervasive role of ICT, and the resulting transformative changes in organisation, services, culture and relationships, and social expectations regarding the quality of service delivery, openness, accountability and opportunities for participation in policy development. Another set of drivers arise from the rising importance of innovation (for competitiveness, sustainability, security etc) and the recognition of the importance of innovation in all aspects of industrial and social activity (ie in organisation, services, institutions, policies etc). A dynamic national innovation system requires a dynamic and innovative public sector. The primary purpose of this paper is to review the approaches to public sector innovation through case studies of four comparator countries: the UK; Canada; Netherlands; and, Singapore. Our focus is on: the extent to which improving innovation performance in the public sector is a goal; how that goal is being pursued; and, what has been achieved. While all of these countries have a history of innovation in the public sector, the focus on that dimension of performance is quite recent. There is a diverse range of case studies of public sector innovations and some surveys, but there is little systematic analysis. There are even fewer evaluations of the recent initiatives to raise innovation performance. The available information tends to be more normative than analytical and more descriptive than evaluative. The report prefaces the case studies with a discussion of the challenges of innovation, particularly in the public sector context. These include recognising that:  there are many types of innovation and different degrees of novelty and discontinuity - the innovation management systems that are appropriate for incremental innovation are unlikely to be effective for the much greater challenge of innovation involving higher levels of discontinuity with established structures and norms;  the innovation process involves mobilising a widening range of stakeholders, addressing an range of performance criteria, and driving the development of the innovation, along the path from conception to implementation;  an organisational capacity for innovation is embodied in individuals and in the structures, routines, culture and norms of an organisation – this capacity must be built through what is essentially a learning process, it is not simply a question of declaring new priorities;  the capabilities and processes that underpin the capacity for innovation are to a large extent organisation and context-specific, they have relevance and value in the context of the strategies of an organisation, and they are shaped by an organisation’s past strategies – ie the challenges it has addressed;

Don Scott-Kemmis & Associates


References: Promoting Innovation in the Public Sector: Case Studies
Borins, S., Encouraging Innovation in the Public Sector, Journal of Intellectual Capital 2(3) (2001), 310–319
Promoting Innovation in the Public Sector: Case Studies
Cunningham, Miriam (2005) Innovation and the Knowledge Economy: Issues, Applications, Case Studies
Promoting Innovation in the Public Sector: Case Studies
Hansen, Morten Balle, and Borgen, Svein Ole (1998) ‘The Simultaneous Diffusion and Transformation of Management Ideas.’ Paper presented at the SCANCOR Conference: Samples of the Future
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