Science systems: are organised around large scale public and private investment, peer review, and are increasingly long-term, slow, complex, global..
Market-driven innovation is also increasingly global, diverse, helped by strong incentives, IP protection, public policy support…
But no comparable model for public sector innovation
Leading to: Top-down imposition of unproven new ideas, or Creative but disorganised local innovation, or Reliance on quasi-markets – but without the R&D necessary for radical innovation as opposed to incremental improvement
The result: productivity stagnation in 45% of EU GDP
There is also an increasing recognition that most innovation funding has gone to military and hardware, not to the most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges.
Budget constraints, demographic changes such as an ageing population, and increasingly complex and ‘wicked’ social problems such as chronic health conditions, poverty, inequality and climate change, all mean that we need to reassess ways of delivering economic and social outcomes.
Changing views of innovation – now including services, public sector, civil society as well as traditional R&D
Changing methods of innovation, with adoption of methods into business – user involvement, crowd-sourcing, open innovation
Rising confidence of civil society globally
New insights from design, business, digital innovation
Innovation – state needs to be catalyst for innovation and needs to embed innovations within its operation Social innovation Evidence of what works and adopting it
Not seen huge benefits of digital technology in health or education as we have in private sector
Public services seek to generate positive social outcomes for the good of society
People want better outcomes, care about public services and expect them to be delivered well. To achieve this we need the public sector to innovate.
Our demands and expectations of what public services can and should deliver are rising, in part in response to service innovations in other areas of our lives.
But public sector innovation is hard.
Public services deal with complex problems, have contradictory and multifarious demands, need to respond quickly whilst balancing the need for security and continuity, and must be transparent and accountable.
Those trying to innovate within the public sector face barriers such as departmental silos, a lack of champions, reward and incentive systems as well as targets and performance management processes that don’t support innovation, risk aversion limiting experimentation, and a lack of dedicated budgets, teams and processes to facilitate innovation.
But conditions are ripe
Economic: renewed incentives for efficiency as demand increased and public revenue falls Political: decentralised decision making and openness to new solutions Cultural: community, ethical consumption, collaboration, co-creation and partnership working Technological: enabling different relationships, interaction, participation
i-teams is a research project from Nesta and Bloomberg Philanthropies to uncover the teams, units and funds that make innovation happen in city, regional and national governments around the world.
Needs teams to overcome barriers to innovating in public services
Nesta’s education failure fest
Research on cultures that reward risks and creativity
Key to signal that innovation is valued;
how risk is to be handled (and failure – leaders actions as well as words)
which approaches to innovation are recognised – eg promoting hybrid/adoptive innovation/reverse engineering
appetite for small scale fast experiment
Systematic skills development for public officials and partners - the open workshop as a tool (a partnership with innovation agencies around the world, UNDP, Rockefeller Foundation etc)
Key to recognise that innovation is not innate; or random.
Requires conscious cultivation of skills: how to manage each stage of innovation processes, how to use key resources, how to judge.
Skills important both for direct managers and for surrounding system.
There are many examples of methods being used around the world to generate ideas …
The Transportation Security Administration’s IdeaFactory website
Offering cash prizes to incentives breakthrough innovations is a time honoured practice. In the past prize competition have been vital to solve problems like food preservation or measuring the longitude.
Using formal pilots and even randomised control trials to test whether an idea works or not.
Nesta’s Creative Credits is a key example – it is using a randomised control trial to test whether simple vouchers for business to business knowledge transfer generate business innovation.
The good public service should be adept at both experiment – creative, fast, radical – and effective assessment and measurement.
The mentality of evidence is almost opposite to the mentality of creative innovation – but plays a crucial role in systems of innovation, determining which ideas deserve to spread.
The Alliance for Useful Evidence – with 1500 organisations – raises awareness of randomisation, big data, effective evaluation - and is helping UK government to create a network of ‘What Works’ centres.
Bamberger, J. and Hernandez, A. (1999) ‘Impromptu: An interactive software application.’ New York NY: Oxford University Press.
Without space innovations can’t thrive. So tools for decommissioning less effective existing methods are as important as tools for backing good new ideas
… and many examples of using procurement, commissioning and market design to encourage innovation
The Outcomes Star introduces a way to introduce radically different perspectives on outcomes into commissioning, and provides a way to engage communities and users directly in setting outcomes
The biggest gains in the next few years will come from innovating whole systems – such as transport, energy and health – aligning shifts in policy, regulation and tax to creative entrepreneurship. We’ve developed a range of practical examples and theory to guide this, focusing in particular on health and care….
Make better use of what’s known about public sector innovation – beyond inspiring talks and anecdotes.
Accelerate – knowledge management in sectors and places (eg health in a region) experiments in idea generation, support iTeams, creating and organising new markets, procurement experiments, investment modelling
Coordinate – establish collaboratives of cities working together
Build capacity – innovation skills rolled-out, programmes for leaders. Helping political and civil service leaders to a comparable understanding of innovation to the best in science or business. Integrating innovation into the competences of public servants
Spread – drive adoption and scale, generating better evidence about what works in innovation methods – eg on adoption patterns, new financing methods, evidence networks and what works centres, support experimental methods, reward superadopters
Deepen – back systems demonstrators, develop research and skills on systemic innovation
Jo Casebourne: Innovation in the Public Sector Organizations (NESTA_London)
INNOVATION IN PUBLIC
Dr. Jo Casebourne
Director of Public & Social Innovation
Photo: mattfred Photo: Mat Walker
Science systems are global & have
large scale investment
Innovation in services
Design led innovation
Data driven innovation
Market-driven innovation also global
& helped by strong incentives
But no comparable model for
public sector innovation
• Top-down imposition of unproven new ideas, or
• Creative but disorganised local innovation, or
• Reliance on quasi-markets – but without the R&D
necessary for radical innovation as opposed to
The result: productivity stagnation in 45% of EU
Recognition that most innovation
funding gone to military & hardware…
Marksontok, CC BY 2.0
Not to most pressing economic, social
& environmental challenges
Csjetruner, CC BY-NC 2.0
Fuersen, CC BY-NC 2.0 Monica McGivern, CC BY-NC 2.0
Msmail, CC BY-NC 2.0
kevinkarnsfamily, CC BY-NC 2.0 Viewminder. CC BY-NC 2.0
To improve productivity and generate
positive outcomes need to innovate
Innovation Social innovation Adoption of
innovations that work
ccarlstead, CC BY-NC 2.0
ShawnOster , CC BY-NC 2.0
JKFID, CC BY 2.0
Fiery Spirits Community of Practice
MattjHerring, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Source: Rogers, E.M. (1963) ‘Iffusion of Innovators.’ Third ed., p.247. New York: Free
Harnessing power of digital for
Expectations on public
JodyDigger, CC BY-SA 2
HM Treasury, CC BY-SA 2.0
Why it’s hard Barriers
• Departmental silos
• Budgets and financial flows
• Episodic - driven by politics
• Lack of champions
• Lack of dedicated budgets,
teams and processes
• Targets and performance
• Reward and incentive
• Attitude to risk and failure
• Contradictory and
• Trade offs
• Need to respond quickly
• Transparency and
• Need for security and
But conditions are ripe
• Economic: renewed incentives for efficiency as
demand increased and public revenue falls
• Political: decentralised decision making and
openness to new solutions
• Cultural: community, ethical consumption,
collaboration, co-creation and partnership working
• Technological: enabling different relationships,
Promoting public sector innovation
Adoption & Exit
Scaling through: Regulation,
Structures & cultures:
teams funds and labs,
More & better
Transforming the processes, skills and culture
• Focus on transforming the
way that government
• Uses consultancy services and
training, secondments and
placements, to develop skills
• Educate and provide insights
and knowledge needed to
empower others inside
government to innovate..
Achieving wider policy and systems change
• Focus on achieving wider policy
and systems change and
bringing about transformation,
• Look beyond specific
• to the wider policy context and
complex systems that need to
• Architects, creating the designs
and blueprints that others can
Creating solutions to solve specific challenges (CEO)
• Focus on solving high priority
problems, and developing
usable and scalable solutions,
Collaborate with colleagues in
• Developers and creators of
Engaging citizens, non-profits and businesses to find
• Focus on opening up
government to voices and ideas
from outside the system,
• Open innovation and challenge-
• Strong communications and
• Create conditions for
innovations from outside
government to thrive.
• that others can follow
4 types of
Promoting risk and making failure safe
Rain Rabbit, CC BY-NC 2.0
Supporting skills development
Copying and adopting what works
drugs by GPs
Research on championing the
Source: Thomas, E., Bennett, F. and Westlake, S. (2013) ‘In Search of the SuperAdopters: What Open Data tells us about GP
Prescribing Practices.’ UK: Nesta
J. M. W. Turner, The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up, 1838
Impact Bond launched
2011 with the goal of
amongst a 3000 cohort of
Through Social Impact Bonds