Accelerating
Innovation in
Local
Government:
Frontline
Employees’
Views
Overall research objectives
Aims
 Identify what chief executives can do to
accelerate innovation council-wide.
 Dissemin...
Previous research:
chief executives
 Discussion with group of 8 leading chief
executives
 Interviewed 12 leading chief e...
Local Councils’ Innovation
Framework
©Accelerating Innovation in Local
Government Research Project
Research with frontline
employees: objectives
 Discover employees’ views on what
encourages them to contribute to
innovat...
The Focus Groups
 6 councils from 4 regions:
 3 counties; 2 London boroughs; 1 district
 4 Conservative; 2 Labour
 Tot...
Format for Groups
 Introduction:
 What is innovation + examples from councils
 What might help or hinder innovation in ...
The Results:
Employees’ Priorities
©Accelerating Innovation in Local
Government Research Project
Priority One
Senior managers:
 Explain the big
challenges ahead
 Set out clear priorities &
goals
 Communicate directly...
‘The old senior
managers
used to be all
gloss’
‘Now we feel
that we are in
this together’
‘The vision is
vague: we need
a ...
Priority Two
Middle &
frontline
managers
proactively
encourage
innovation
They:
 Agree clear targets
 Encourage & suppor...
‘It helps when
managers
value you, &
recognise your
contribution’
‘Agreeing
targets helps
you to
organise &
prioritise’
‘M...
Priority Three
Senior & middle
managers
genuinely listen
to & involve
employees
They:
 Understand frontline
operational i...
‘Senior managers
need to involve
people more, tap
into their passions’
‘Senior managers
should spend time
at the coalface ...
Priority Four
Managers
safeguard time
& resources for
innovation
Managers at all
levels set aside
enough time &
resources ...
‘Give staff
more time
to be
creative’
‘People at
the top need
to throw their
weight
behind good
ideas’
‘If we are
overstre...
Priority Five
Managers build
cross council
links for
innovation
Managers at all levels
work together to:
 Identify the ke...
‘The council should
get innovators
together, create an
innovation space’‘We need more
cross silo
working around
issues’
‘W...
MANAGERS
SAFEGUARD
TIME &
RESOURCES FOR
INNOVATION
MIDDLE &
FRONTLINE
MANAGERS
PROACTIVELY
ENCOURAGE
INNOVATION
MANAGERS
B...
Other important issues
 Recruiting more innovative employees
 Training & development
 Networking to learn from other co...
Important to some people
Issues:
 Bureaucracy
 Politicians
 Technology
Positives:
 Listening to service
users
 Learni...
Little or no mention
Potential issues:
 Turf wars
 Blame culture
 Job insecurity
 Concerns about role
changes
Potentia...
Comparison with chief
executives’ priorities
Employees Chief Executives Differences
Senior
managers
communicate
the counci...
Comparison with chief
executives’ priorities
Employees Chief Executives Differences
Middle &
frontline
managers
proactivel...
Comparison with chief
executives’ priorities
Employees Chief Executives Differences
Senior &
middle
managers
genuinely
lis...
Comparison with chief
executives’ priorities
Employees Chief Executives Differences
Managers
safeguard
time &
resources
fo...
Comparison with chief
executives’ priorities
Employees Chief Executives Differences
Managers
build cross
council links
for...
Implications for senior
managers in councils
Encourage more innovation by:
 Communicating ambitions for innovation
convin...
….within a strategic approach
to innovation
 Take a comprehensive & deliberate approach to
fostering innovation across th...
Resources
Local Councils’ Innovation Framework:
http://tinyurl.com/LGIF2014
Framework Self-Assessment tool:
http://tinyurl...
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What encourages innovation in councils: frontline employees' views

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This presentation outlines the findings from research with frontline employees in local government on what encourages them to contribute positively to innovations. It contrasts the findings with the results of previous research that examined the perspective of local council chief executives on what they might do to encourage more innovations.

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  • Pulled together our learning so far into this Framework.

    Aim to provide something short enough for Chief Executives to read and use as a tool to reviewing to see if there is more they can do to increase and accelerate innovative working.

    Today I will highlight:

    What chief executives are learning about innovation
    The difference between encouraging high performance and encouraging innovation
    What else chief executives might do to accelerate innovation
  • What encourages innovation in councils: frontline employees' views

    1. 1. Accelerating Innovation in Local Government: Frontline Employees’ Views
    2. 2. Overall research objectives Aims  Identify what chief executives can do to accelerate innovation council-wide.  Disseminate and promote this learning to local councils.  Further the research evidence on leadership actions that help to achieve innovation in public services. ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    3. 3. Previous research: chief executives  Discussion with group of 8 leading chief executives  Interviewed 12 leading chief executives  Following sector consultation, launched Local Councils’ Innovation Framework April 2012  Tested Framework e.g.  6 chief executives individually + 2 groups  Public Sector People Managers’ Association Conference ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    4. 4. Local Councils’ Innovation Framework ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    5. 5. Research with frontline employees: objectives  Discover employees’ views on what encourages them to contribute to innovations  Identify any significant differences between chief executives’ & employees’ views  Update the Local Councils’ Innovation Framework, if necessary ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    6. 6. The Focus Groups  6 councils from 4 regions:  3 counties; 2 London boroughs; 1 district  4 Conservative; 2 Labour  Total of 19 employee focus groups:  From 5 to 19 participants  All participants ‘volunteers’  Most frontline or support staff (some managers in 2 councils)  Most one hour long (one council 1.5 hour) ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    7. 7. Format for Groups  Introduction:  What is innovation + examples from councils  What might help or hinder innovation in a council  What has encouraged you to contribute to an innovation: common factors  To encourage more innovation, what are the most important things this council should:  Keep doing or grow?  Start doing? ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    8. 8. The Results: Employees’ Priorities ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    9. 9. Priority One Senior managers:  Explain the big challenges ahead  Set out clear priorities & goals  Communicate directly, personally & honestly  Are supported by effective communication systems Senior managers communicate the council’s ambitions for innovation convincingly ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    10. 10. ‘The old senior managers used to be all gloss’ ‘Now we feel that we are in this together’ ‘The vision is vague: we need a clearer direction’ ‘We need top down reminders of why we are doing what we are doing’ ‘We need more feedback on progress, savings achieved’ ‘We would like to see the chief executive more’ ‘Senior managers are open & up front’ ‘The new chief exec is very positive, he wants to change things’ ‘Senior managers need to be honest, get rid of spin’ ‘There is a corporate drive to encourage innovation’ ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    11. 11. Priority Two Middle & frontline managers proactively encourage innovation They:  Agree clear targets  Encourage & support innovation  Give appropriate autonomy  Recognise contributions  Support in taking risks  Take a no-blame approach ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    12. 12. ‘It helps when managers value you, & recognise your contribution’ ‘Agreeing targets helps you to organise & prioritise’ ‘Managers are too complacent, need to look outside more’ ‘It helps when managers encourage you to think outside the box’ ‘Managers shouldn’t be upset when people challenge them with fresh ideas’ ‘Managers need to allow you to take risks & fail’ ‘We need more proactive managers’ ‘Managers here encourage you to have a go’ ‘Autonomy is important’ ‘Managers need a new attitude to risk’ ‘Managers need to encourage experimentation, even when things are not perfect’ ‘Managers need to trust you more’ ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    13. 13. Priority Three Senior & middle managers genuinely listen to & involve employees They:  Understand frontline operational issues & concerns  Encourage fresh ideas & give constructive feedback on these  Involve frontline employees in innovation processes from the start ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    14. 14. ‘Senior managers need to involve people more, tap into their passions’ ‘Senior managers should spend time at the coalface & listen to what the problems are’ ‘You can tell them your ideas & they will listen’ ‘Senior managers attending team meetings provides opportunity for feedback’ ‘We need more two way communication’ ‘Managers need to listen to every idea & justify why not using’ ‘Senior managers need to understand frontline services’ ‘They want us to look as if we are contributing’ ‘Senior managers need to involve us in planning innovations from the start’ ‘Lots of managers, including the chief executive are very approachable’ ‘We have good systems for feeding back comments & ideas to the top’ ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    15. 15. Priority Four Managers safeguard time & resources for innovation Managers at all levels set aside enough time & resources for:  Reflection & creative thinking  Developing innovations ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    16. 16. ‘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’ ‘We need an innovation fund’ ‘Carve out the space for creativity’ ‘People need time & space to come together & develop their ideas’ ‘Encourage more self- reflection’ ‘We have the ideas, but not the time to implement them’ ‘We need more opportunities to come up with ideas’ ‘Awaydays are important’ ‘Use our resources more flexibly’ ‘We need more time & resources to make things happen’ ‘Build in time to discuss innovation in team meetings’ ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    17. 17. Priority Five Managers build cross council links for innovation Managers at all levels work together to:  Identify the key internal linkages that need to be developed to achieve more innovations  Take practical steps to build these ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    18. 18. ‘The council should get innovators together, create an innovation space’‘We need more cross silo working around issues’ ‘We need to understand what other departments do, so that we can hook onto them’ ‘The council needs to address silo working’ ‘Directors need to stop just defending their departments’ ‘Build more peer groups, make connections across the council’ ‘Senior managers need to make ‘One Council’ a reality’ ‘We need to promote relationships between services to make innovations happen’ ‘We need a more ‘One Council’’ ‘We need more cross-council communication’ ‘Remove barriers between services’ ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    19. 19. MANAGERS SAFEGUARD TIME & RESOURCES FOR INNOVATION MIDDLE & FRONTLINE MANAGERS PROACTIVELY ENCOURAGE INNOVATION MANAGERS BUILD CROSS COUNCIL LINKS FOR INNOVATION SENIOR & MIDDLE MANAGERS GENUINELY LISTEN TO & INVOLVE EMPLOYEES Summary of employees’ priorities SENIOR MANAGERS COMMUNICATE THE COUNCIL’S AMBITIONS FOR INNOVATION CONVINCINGLY ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    20. 20. Other important issues  Recruiting more innovative employees  Training & development  Networking to learn from other councils’ successes & failures  Speeding up decision making & implementation of innovations ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    21. 21. Important to some people Issues:  Bureaucracy  Politicians  Technology Positives:  Listening to service users  Learning from the private sector or abroad  Shared services ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    22. 22. Little or no mention Potential issues:  Turf wars  Blame culture  Job insecurity  Concerns about role changes Potential opportunities:  Involving service users or residents  Focusing on most costly areas of service  Working with other organisations  Commissioning ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    23. 23. Comparison with chief executives’ priorities Employees Chief Executives Differences Senior managers communicate the council’s ambitions for innovation convincingly Most emphasised the importance of: • Clear political vision & priorities • Communicated effectively Employees much bigger emphasis on: • Senior managers being honest • Direct personal communication • Effective communication channels from top to bottom ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    24. 24. Comparison with chief executives’ priorities Employees Chief Executives Differences Middle & frontline managers proactively encourage innovation • Managers need to be bold & take considered risks, if necessary • Middle managers need to pro- actively encourage innovation • Importance of ‘freeing up’ people • Both chief executives & employees agree on what managers need to do to encourage more innovation • Employees feel that not enough managers are doing it ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    25. 25. Comparison with chief executives’ priorities Employees Chief Executives Differences Senior & middle managers genuinely listen to & involve employees • All concerned about employee morale • Some highlighted the importance of listening to employees & ‘feedback loops’ • Most encourage staff to suggest ideas & many have ‘suggestions schemes’ • Many employees felt there is too much token involvement at the end of innovation processes • Many employees frustrated that they have suggested ideas that were rejected or ignored with little feedback ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    26. 26. Comparison with chief executives’ priorities Employees Chief Executives Differences Managers safeguard time & resources for innovation • Many recognise the importance of having time for creative thinking • Few have identified the key priority areas for innovation & safeguard time & resources to develop innovation there Employees frustrated by little time & resources to develop & implement ideas for innovations ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    27. 27. Comparison with chief executives’ priorities Employees Chief Executives Differences Managers build cross council links for innovation All promoting a ‘One Council’ approach Employees want managers to take action to make the ‘One Council’ concept a reality ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    28. 28. Implications for senior managers in councils Encourage more innovation by:  Communicating ambitions for innovation convincingly & directly  Ensuring managers proactively encourage innovation  Listening to & involving frontline employees in developing innovations from the start  Setting aside sufficient time & resources for innovations  Building better connections across services ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    29. 29. ….within a strategic approach to innovation  Take a comprehensive & deliberate approach to fostering innovation across the council  Agree the priority areas for major radical long term innovations:  With partner organizations, focus greatest efforts in these areas  Actively seek ideas to adapt from elsewhere  Ensure truly understand service users’ & residents’ aspirations & concerns  Involve them in developing innovations  Develop greater innovation expertise ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project
    30. 30. Resources Local Councils’ Innovation Framework: http://tinyurl.com/LGIF2014 Framework Self-Assessment tool: http://tinyurl.com/LGISA2014 Summary of latest findings: http://tinyurl.com/LGILF2014 Presentations on innovation: http://www.slideshare.net/joanmunro ©Accelerating Innovation in Local Government Research Project

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