Accelerating Innovation in Local Government


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This presentation summarises what local councils might do to achieve more major innovations, more quickly. It is based on the findings from the Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project.

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Accelerating Innovation in Local Government

  1. 1. Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
  2. 2. Leading Councillors’ perspectives Middle Managers’ perspectives Learning from other sectors Chief Executives’ perspectives Research Findings Frontline Employees’ perspectives Learning from other research
  3. 3. New ways of delivering Innovation = New + Relevant New organisational arrangements New ways of saving money New ways of improving democracy
  4. 4. Local government examples Annual magic festival Pay on mobile Report rubbish on mobile Portable traffic lights App for tourists Local forums New ways of avoiding potholes Dementia friendly cafes Elected Youth Council Community run libraries Residents’ personal computer links Publish data for open use Community volunteers mentoring unemployed Older peoples’ mutual support ‘circles’ Building low carbon homes Social enterprises Shared services ‘Tell Us Once’ Personal budgets Private sector partnerships Contact centres Integrating assessments Co-operative Council Childfriendly city Community budgets Interagency working Tele-care Councilowned private company
  5. 5. Transformation Innovation Trafnoramtion I Creativity
  6. 6. What are the councils achieving more significant innovations doing?
  7. 7. Taking A Strategic Approach to Innovation Politicians set the strategic context for innovation Senior & middle managers lead for innovation Frontline managers & employees are engaged in key innovations Effective innovation delivery mechanisms
  8. 8. Agree clear, long term ambitions & priorities for innovation
  9. 9. Council Leaders ‘The first conversation has to be with your community about ‘what do we want this place to look like?’ Then you build your innovation priorities.’ ‘There is no point in attempting to innovate if you have no idea what your vision is.’ ‘You need a picture of the future. Where are the finances of the country & local government going.’ ‘You can’t do everything at once. You have to understand the capacity of your organisation for change.’
  10. 10. Earmark the resources required to achieve innovation priorities
  11. 11. Employees’ views ‘Use our resources more flexibly’ ‘We need more time & resources to make things happen’ ‘Build in time to discuss innovation in team meetings’ ‘We need more opportunities to come up with ideas’ ‘People need time & space to come together & develop their ideas’ ‘Give staff more time to be creative’ ‘People at the top need to throw their weight behind good ideas’ ‘If we are overstretched we can’t innovate’ ‘Carve out the space for creativity’ ‘We need an innovation fund’ ‘We have the ideas, but not the time to implement them’
  12. 12. Build a bold, united, leadership approach to innovation
  13. 13. ‘You will leap to a ‘eureka’ moment, and you will assume that everyone has understood it with you. You have got to take them through the same process. And that takes time.’ Council leaders ‘I have been leader for 8 years. I understand the importance of building consensus, particularly political consensus in my group. Otherwise I am never going to get anything through.’
  14. 14. Convincingly communicate the reasons for innovations
  15. 15. ‘The old senior managers used to be all gloss’ Employees ‘The new chief exec is very positive, he wants to change things’ ‘Now we feel that we are in this together’ ‘There is a corporate drive to encourage innovation’ ‘Senior managers are open & up front’ ‘The vision is vague: we need a clearer direction’ ‘We need more feedback on progress, savings achieved’ ‘Senior managers need to be honest, get rid of spin’ ‘We need top down reminders of why we are doing what we are doing’ ‘We would like to see the chief executive more’
  16. 16. Create the organisational climate for innovation “Innovation is often understood as a mysterious fringe practice by geeks. What we are about is trying to create an eco-system, and the DNA of innovation, as a daily part of the way the organisation organises itself to deliver.” Kersten England City of York Chief Executive, October 2013
  17. 17. Employees ‘We need more proactive managers’ ‘Managers need a new attitude to risk’ ‘Agreeing targets helps you to organise & prioritise’ ‘It helps when managers encourage you to think outside the box’ ‘Managers are too ‘Managers here complacent, need encourage you to look outside to have a go’ more’ ‘It helps when managers value you, & recognise your contribution’ ‘Managers need to trust you more’ ‘Managers need to encourage experimentation, even when things are not perfect’ ‘Managers need to allow you to take risks & fail’
  18. 18. Use an innovation process Investigate issues to fully understand problems & opportunities Generate & consider many potential creative solutions Select, prototype, test & develop most promising potential solutions Execute
  19. 19. Look for best ideas worldwide
  20. 20. Take calculated vital risks ‘It is not about taking risks, it is about whether you think the thing you are doing is right. If you are absolutely convinced that what you are doing is right, then you have to mitigate the risks.’ Council leader
  21. 21. Involve key stakeholders
  22. 22. Employees ‘Senior managers need to involve people more, tap into their passions’ ‘Senior managers attending team meetings provides opportunity for feedback’ ‘Senior managers need to involve us in planning innovations from the start’ ‘Senior managers need to understand frontline services’ ‘We need more two way communication’ ‘We have good systems for feeding back comments & ideas to the top’ ‘Senior managers should spend time at the coalface & listen to what the problems are’ ‘They want us to look as if we are contributing’ ‘Managers need to listen to every idea & justify why not using’ ‘You can tell them your ideas & they will listen’
  23. 23. Work across boundaries
  24. 24. ‘We need a more ‘One Council’’ ‘Build more peer groups, make connections across the council’ ‘We need to promote relationships between services to make innovations happen’ ‘Senior managers need to make ‘One Council’ a reality’ ‘The council needs to address silo working’ ‘We need more cross silo working around issues’ ‘We need more cross-council communication’ ‘We need to understand what other departments do, so that we can hook onto them’ ‘The council should get innovators together, create an innovation space’ ‘Directors need to stop just defending their departments’ ‘Remove barriers between services’
  25. 25. Ensure delivery
  26. 26. Council leaders ‘Even when it gets rocky you have to maintain your resolve, because you strongly believe that what you are doing is right.’ ‘Things always take longer, and are always more complex than you expect.’ ‘Innovating is something that doesn’t happen quickly. Our innovation has taken 20 years. There is something to be said for that little valued virtue of constancy.’
  27. 27. ‘How does progress occur? To begin with, if you come up with a radical idea, it is ignored. Then if you go on you are told it is unrealistic. Then, if you go on after that, you’re mad. Then there is a pause and you can’t find anyone at the top who doesn’t claim to have been in favour of it in the first place.’ Tony Benn, Guardian 28.10.13
  28. 28. Local Council Innovation Framework Strategic approach to innovation Cross boundary innovation Clear political vision & priorities Leaders & managers driving innovation Citizen & Culture service user promotes focus innovation Effective Employees delivery skilled & mechanisms motivated for for innovation innovation
  29. 29. For more details contact: Joan Munro Director Accelerating Innovation in Councils Tel: 0779 2952 498 @JoanMICL