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Innovation is a necessity
The world is fundamentally changing with massive shifts in digital technology reshaping the business world. This demands public sector organizations to redefine itself and innovate at an institutional level.
Chapter 1: Innovation is a necessity
“You have a brilliant new idea. It’s truly innovative and you are convinced it would make your work and that of your department more effective, efficient ánd fun! You would love to execute your idea, but where to start? And maybe an even more important question, where to find the time? It’s sooo busy at work. You barely make your daily tasks without working over time. You could of course ask your boss if it’s ok if you spend your time on executing your innovative idea, but the likelihood that she will say yes is almost as big as snow in August. She is only focused on the team getting its daily tasks done. You can even understand her. The top management she needs to report to is also only interested in the performance of today. No, at best she will give you permission to spend a couple of hours a week on your idea and you know that is not enough. You learned that from your colleague Peter. He also got permission to spend a couple of hours on his idea and he has hardly gotten any further with his idea since then and by now it almost lost his relevance. Innovation can’t be done part time. The only result of it all is that Peter now feels frustrated. No, it’s better to accept that your idea will always stay just that, an idea…”
If this all sounds familiar to you than your journey needs to start with creating awareness with your (top) leadership that innovation is a necessity.
The world is fundamentally changing with massive shifts in digital technology reshaping the business world. Rapidly changing demographic, societal, economical and technological trends are shaping our future. Citizens needs are also evolving and at the same time the government faces huge challenges on several domains; e.g. employment, health care, housing, mobility and education. Public sector organizations have to come up with new solutions. Solutions which are co-created together with citizens and businesses, which are user-centric and gives citizens and businesses the opportunity to take their responsibility and actively take part in solving societies most wicked problems. This all demands public sector organizations to redefine itself and innovate at an institutional level.
Innovating at an institutional level means that everything that is known today is not longer valid. This kind of innovation generally only succeeds if it is - at least partly - sponsored by the top leadership of the organisation. It is important that leadership is aware of what’s happing in the world around them and understand that innovation is a must if their organisation wants to stay relevant in the future.
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Ok, by now you might think ‘of course, this I all know, but how do I make my leadership aware of the fact that innovation is a necessity?!’ Well, our experience is that it is all about coming up with that one right, compelling story… Let’s first test where your organisations stands and give you some input for the why innovation is a necessity in public sector. After that we are going to help you build that one right, compelling story!
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About GovLab's Survivor Guide for Succesful Public Sector Innovation
GovLab exists to enable government to solve wicked social problems by providing the necessary mindset, skillset and toolkit to innovate and co-create. For over five years we are helping public sector organisations to innovate in the fields of unemployment, poverty or citizen engagement.. Although each time when you see the impact of a new service it has always been worth all the effort, the process to get there was often challenging and harsh.
In this guide we will provide you with our learnings from these projects, where you have to keep in mind that it is all about experimentation, failure and uncertainty. Successfully innovating public sector demands cutting across silos, the guts to take risk, embracing failure and tearing down old believes and ways of working.