The Innovation Imperative in the Public Sector: Setting an agenda for action

The public sector is seeking to innovate, to become more open, collaborative, iterative and participatory. Innovation has become a must for governments if they are to address the multitude of citizen and private sector expectations, the complexity of the policy challenges and the quest for productivity.

Fostering innovation in public organisations requires changes that encourage organisations and the people that work for them to come up with new ideas, try new approaches and work in new ways.

To support governments in their drive for innovation, the OECD Public Governance Committee has developed the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI). The OPSI’s mission is to promote a better understanding of public sector innovation, collecting evidence on what works and connecting innovators in the public sector around the world so that they can share their experiences and learn from each other.

This report provides a synthesis of the initial findings of the Observatory’s work, drawing on the innovative experiences available on its online platform and the results of the OECD conference ‘Innovating the Public Sector: from Ideas to Impact’, which took place on 12-13 November 2014. The report provides a framework for understanding and analysing public sector innovation, and identifies the main capabilities that determine an organisation’s capacity for innovation: empowering the workforce, generating ideas, adopting new methods of work and reducing regulatory complexity. Finally, it sets out specific actions that governments can take to strengthen their capacity to innovate.

Read the report