Innovating the Public Sector: from ideas to impact
OECD conference, 12 & 13 November 2014, OECD Conference Centre, Paris

Over two days, more than 400 participants from over forty countries and a wide range of backgrounds (the public, private, academic and civil society sectors were all represented) came together in Paris to discuss and explore key themes related to public sector innovation.

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Day 1: 12 November 2014

What is the role of public sector innovation for public administrations today? What potential benefits can it provide, what challenges do governments face in unlocking this, and how can the OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation provide support?

The conference opened with introductory remarks from senior public leaders on the role of innovation in transforming government and enabling better outcomes for society. During the session the OECD launched the Observatory’s online platform.

Speakers:

  • Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD
  • Christian Bason, Chief Executive of the Danish Design Centre, Denmark
  • Joe Wild, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Treaties and Aboriginal Government, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Canada

Watch the opening plenary:

The second session of the conference comprised three parallel sessions: two workshops and a set of “innovation talks”.

Designing and Prototyping Public Services, organised in collaboration with Nesta.

Applying design methods to public services can help to develop a better understanding of user needs and how services can be created to match them. Some design methods, such as prototyping offer the public sector quick and agile ways to test new solutions while containing risks. This workshop looked at the role that design and prototyping can play in developing more innovative public services, providing participants with a taste of how they can be used practically in their own work.

Discussion panel, moderated by Brenton Caffin (Nesta):

  • Christian Bason, Chief Executive, Danish Design Centre, Denmark
  • Dominic Campbell, Founder and Director, FutureGov, United Kingdom
  • Sabine Junginger, Associate Professor, Centre for Design, Culture and Management, School of Design, Kolding, Denmark
  • Stéphane Vincent, Délégué général, La 27e Région, France
Presentation on Designing and Prototyping by Nesta:
Disruptive Approaches for Digital Innovation, organised in collaboration with Futurs Publics, Public service innovation Lab, France.

To build the ‘public sector of tomorrow’, digital technology is essential to transform public bodies and their relationship with both users and other key partners (e.g. businesses and local governments). This workshop looked at the role of digital and other new technologies in modernising public services and how the create disruptive approaches to service deliver. Drawing on the experience of France and other cotunries, participants learnt about the challenges that digital innovations pose and how new technologies are providing providing different ways to develop public services (e.g. quick prototyping and rapid development). Participants also had the opportunity to try out new digital solutions themselves.

Presentation on educational use of digital technologies in schools by Futurs Publics
Presentation on digital technologies and employment by Pôle emploi, France
Presentation on encouraging open data in government by Barbara Ulbadi, OECD
Presentation by OpenStreetMap
Innovation Talks: sharing experiences from around the world
Innovating can be tricky, so it’s important to share experiences to provide ideas and inspire others. During this session, speakers shared their own ideas and experiences for overcoming the challenges and achieving impact with innovation. See the sidebar on the right-hand side of the page for videos and presentations from the innovation talks.
The second session of the conference comprised three parallel sessions: two workshops and a set of “innovation talks”.

Innovation labs, organised in collaboration with MindLab, Denmark.

In recent years a number of countries have started to experiment with innovation labs for policy making; but what value does a lab bring and how can governments make the most of them? This workshop looked at how innovation labs can support innovation, drawing on the experience of governments, looking at the different models of labs, and the practical considerations when establishing one.

The workshop was moderated by Christian Bason, Chief Executive, Danish Design Centre.

Overview of experiences provided by:

  • Jo Casebourne, Director, Public and Social Innovation, Nesta
  • Jessica Nierenberg, Senior Analyst, Strategic Issues, Government Accountability Office, United States of America
  • Marco Steinberg, Founder, Snowcone & Haystack, Finland
  • Paul Maltby, Director of the Government Innovation Group, Cabinet Office, United Kingdom
  • Stephanie Wade, Director, Innovation Lab, Office of Personnel Management, United States of America

Expert questions & answers with:

  • Juan Felipe López Egaña, Executive Coordinator, Public Innovation Committee, Chile
  • Jennifer Miller, Director, Policy Innovation, Plans and Consultations and Intergovernmental Affairs, Privy Council Office, Canada
  • Alex Roberts, Innovation Advocate, Innovation Policy & Coordination, Portfolio Strategic Policy Division, Department of Industry, Australia
  • Françoise Waintrop, Head of Insight and Innovation, Secrétariat général pour la modernisation de l’action publique (SGMAP), France
Presentation on i-teams by Jo Casebourne
Presentation by Marco Steinberg
Presentation on innovation labs by MindLab
Presentation on the UK Policy Lab by Paul Maltby
Presentation on improving the US government with human centred design by Stephanie Wade
Beyond innovation awards?

Innovation awards have been in place at national and international levels for a number of years but how effective are they as a means to inspir, encourage and identify innovations? This workshop looked at the role and value of innovation awards by hearing directly from the winner of an innovation award about the consequences for their prohect, learning about the trends and patterns that awards can help identify, and sharing experiences between countries of different types of innovation awards.

The workshop was moderated by Maria Manuel Marques, Professor, School of Economics, Univerty of Coimbra, Portugal.

Overview of experiences provided by:

  • Jan Mathu, Advisor general, Facility Mananger and Head of Purchase Service, Federal Public Service Mobility, Belgium
  • Pétur Berg Matthíasson, Head of Division, Department of Public Management and Reform, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Iceland
  • Lindani Mthethwa, Chief Director, Solution Support and Incubation, Centre for Public Service Innovation, South Africa
Presentation on going beyond innovation awards by Sandford Borrins, Professor of Strategic Management, Department of Management, University of Toronto-Scarborough, Canda
Innovation Talks: sharing experiences from around the world
Innovating can be tricky, so it’s important to share experiences to provide ideas and inspire others. During this session, speakers shared their own ideas and experiences for overcoming the challenges and achieving impact with innovation. See the sidebar on the right-hand side of the page for videos and presentations from the innovation talks.
External commentators from different walks of life provided their thoughts on the day’s discussions, highlighting their observations about public sector innovation, what they have heard and the challenges ahead.

The discussion was moderated by Françoise Waintrop, Head of Insight and Innovation, Secrétariat général pour la modernisation de l’action publique (SGMAP), France.

Speakers:

  • Jean-Louis Ceccaldi, Communications Director, FACE Foundation
  • Dan Hill, Executive Director, Future and Best Practice, Future Cities Catapult, United Kingdom
  • Giovanni Moro, President of FONDACA, Italy

The closing address was provided by Thierry Mandon, Secretary for State Reform and Simplification, France

Watch the plenary:

Day 2: 13 November 2014

Innovation happens at all levels of government. However, the innovative capacity and capability of public sector organisations still varies widely. some organisations have inscribed innovation in their DNA, while others are struggling to break away from traditional models and ways of operating.

The capacity of government to innovate is shaped by many elements, from how staff are recruited and trained to the incentives and values with the public administration. Does having a straegy for innovation that encompasses these elements improve the conditions and drivers for innovation? At what level (organisation, sector, whole of government) have strategies proven most effective? And, what factors enable the vision to be realised?

During this fireside chat, moderated by Geoff Mulgan (Chief Execuitive, Nesta), senior leaders will reflect on their country’s experiences in fostering innovation, sharing personal insights and advice for other government leaders.

Panel members:

  • Laure de la Bretèche, Secrétaire générale pour la mdernisation de l’action publique (SGMAP), service du Prmier ministre, France
  • Roger Scott-Douglas, Assistant Secretary, Priorities and Planning, Treasury Board Secretariat, Canada
  • Magnus Enzell, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications, Sweden
  • Margus Sarapuu, Government Strategy Director, Estonia

Watch the plenary session:

The second session of the conference comprised three parallel sessions: two workshops and a set of “innovation talks”.

Government capacity for innovation

What stops good ideas becoming implemented innovations? Cultural inertia, lack of leaders’ support, inadequate time and resources, and skills mismatch may hinder the capacity of government to achieve effective innovations. What are the strategic policy issues that governments need to consider to tackle some of these challenges?

This session addressed issues such as how to achieve culture change, get buy-in from leaders, develop a workforce with the skills and competencies for innovation and ensure that innovation has the space and resources necessary to succeed.

Discussion panel, moderated by Geert Bouckaert, President, International Institute of Administrative Sciences:

  • Gary Banks, Dean and CEO, Australia and New Zealand School of Government
  • Beatrix Behrens, Head of Division, HR Policies, Federal Employment Agency, Germany
  • Dustin Brown, Deputy Assistant Director for Management, office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, United States of America
  • Åsa Erba-Stenhammer, Head Negotiator, The Union of Civil Servants, Sweden
Partnering for innovation

Public sector innovation rarely happens in isolation but draws on the ideas, experiences and resources of actors beyond the public sector. This session discussed examples of the public sector partnering with different actors from the public sector, civil society and the private sector, identifying the challenges and benefits it can bring

Discussion panel, moderated by Katju Holkeri, Head of Public Governance Unit, Ministry of Finance, Finland:

  • Kieron Boyle, Head of Social Investment & Finance, Government Innovation Group, Cabinet Office
  • Rafael Cervone, Vice President of the center of the Industries of the State of São Paulo (CIESP), Brazil
  • Francesca Moccia, Deputy Secretary General, Cittadinanzattiva, Italy
  • Peter Simeoni, Assistant Deputy Minister, Citizen Service Branch, Service Canada
Knowledge sharing for innovation

The way knowledge is managed can support or hinder public sector innovation. One challenge for government is to build capacity to capture and pool available knowledge but also appropriate systems to share and diffuse it to improve public decisions about innovative solutions. The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation can support the development of knowledge networks on innovation and connect them at the international level (as a knowledge broker).

This session discussed the rationale for developing knowledge networks on innovation within and across levels of government; the challenges faced during designing and development; the use of information communication technologies to enable a collaborative environment for knowledge sharing; and the implications for the work of the OECD Observatory.

Discussion panel, moderated by Edwin Lau, Head of Division, Reform of the Public Sector, Public Governance and Territorial Development Disions, OECD:

  • Martina Kampmann, Senior Counsellor, Knowledge Sharing Alliance Office of the Secretary General, OECD
  • Fernando de Pablo Martín, Senior Advisor, Higher Technical Telecommunication Engineer; Polytechnic University, Madrid, Spain
  • Cheol H. Oh, President, Korean Association for Policy Studies and Member of the Government 3.0 Implementation Committee, Prime Minister’s Office, Korea
  • Professor Eko Prasojo, Advisor to the Minister of Administrative and Bureaucracy Reform, Indonesia
Presentation by Professor Eko Prasojo:
Leading experts took stock of existing knowledge on public sector innovation, and drawing on OECD analysis they will discuss The Innovation Imperative – A Call for Action setting out the OECD’s priorities for strengthening the public sector’s capacity for innovation.

Introductory address by Luiz de Mello, Deputy Director, Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate, OECD.

Discussion panel moderated by Hon. Jocelyne Bourgon President of Public Governance International:

  • Christian Bason, Chief Executive, Danish Design Centre, Denmark
  • Victor Bekkers, Dean of the Graduate School for the Social Sciences and the Humanities, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • Sandford Borrins, Professor of Strategic Management, Department of Management, University of Toronto-Scarborough, Canada
  • Jorrit de Jong, Academic Director, Innovations in Government Program, Ash Centre, Harvard School of Government
  • Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive, Nesta
Watch the plenary session:
OECD presentation The Art of Innovation
What can be done to make innovation a permanent reality for public sector organisations committed to excellence in the public service? A ministerial panel closed the conference with a discussion on recommendations for increasing government’s innovative capacity, highlighting what they see to be the priorities and challenges.

The discussion was moderated by Rolf Alter, Director, Public Governance and Territorial Development, OECD:

Speakers:

  • Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary General, OECD
  • Marylise Lebranchu, Minister for Decentralisation and the Public Service, France
  • The Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, United Kingdom
  • Professor Eko Prasojo, Advisor to the Minister of Administration and Bureaucracy Reform, Indonesia
  • Jamie Pérez Renovales, Under Secretary, Ministry of the Presidency, Spain

Watch the plenary: