Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Service

This report (by the Australian Public Service Management Advisory Committee)  looks at the ‘state of play’ for innovation in Australia and identifies barriers that public servants face when innovating. It looks at sources of innovation and those who can help design, implement and deliver it. It outlines what agencies, team, and individuals can do to foster innovation. It makes twelve recommendations around the following five themes: strategy and culture; leadership; systemic/structural issues; resourcing and managing innovation in the Australian Public Service; and recognition, sharing and learning.

Click here to read the report.

Click here to read an annexe on world’s best practice for eGovernment innovation

Background to the Public Sector Innovation Project.

The 2008 report on the Review of the National Innovation System Venturous Australia – building strength in innovation made a number of recommendations relating to public sector innovation. In May 2009 Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century was released by the Government and advised that the Australian Public Service Management Advisory Committee (MAC) was examining the recommendations, and the capacity of the public sector to implement them.

In 2009 the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research led a cross-agency project to investigate how to advance innovation within and by the public sector under the auspices of the Management Advisory Committee. The project was overseen by a Steering Committee comprising representatives of the Department of Innovation, the Australian Public Service Commission, the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, CSIRO, the Department of Finance and Deregulation, the Department of Health and Ageing, and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

In August 2009 a discussion paper for the project on public sector innovation was released including a call for submissions. 78 submissions were received.

Join the public sector innovation network. The Department has drawn together an email list of practitioners and those interested at the Commonwealth, State and Territory, and Local Government levels. If you would be interested in being a part of the Public Sector Innovation Network, please email the department.

Related International Developments

Public Sector innovation is being advocated by a number of governments around the world, and the Australian Public Service can learn from those, as well as Australian examples at the state and local level. Below are some links to what other Governments are doing in public sector innovation.

Resources on Public Sector Innovation

There is a growing body of work that talks about Public Sector innovation. Below are links to a number of resources that may be of interest.

  • Innovation in the Public Sector: Enabling Better Performance, Driving New Directions (2009) is the Australian National Audit Office Better Practice Guide to public sector innovation
  • The Public Innovator’s Playbook: Nurturing bold ideas in Government (2009) is a joint publication between Deloitte Research in the US with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation. It looks at the innovation process, innovation strategies and how to sustain a culture of innovation in a public sector organisation
  • Ready or not? Taking innovation in the public sector seriously (2007) is a paper by Geoff Mulgan on the innovation capacity of the public sector
  • The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal is an international journal looking at public sector innovation
  • PUBLIN was a European research project on innovation in the public sector. The project reported at the end of 2005
  • The Government Innovators Network is run out of the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation and is a marketplace of ideas and examples of government innovation
  • The Ash Institute’s YouTube Channel includes presentations from innovation award winners
  • UNPAN – The United Nations Public Administration Network looks at a range of matters including public sector innovation
  • CAPAM – The Commonwealth Association for Public Adminstration and Management, based in Canada, looks to promote the practical requirements of good governance, just and honest government across the Commonwealth countries and beyond. CAPAM provides a forum for the active exchange of innovations, knowledge and practice in citizen-centered service delivery, leadership development and growth, and public service management and renewal. CAPAM also manages the CAPAM International Innovation Awards.
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