An Innovations Gallery: What should we include?

[Originally published on the Australian Government Public Sector Innovation Network under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY AU licence]

One of the issues we had in preparing Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Servicewas that it was not always easy to find examples of innovation.

We certainly knew innovation was happening, and there are examples in Empowering Change and the Australian National Audit Office’s report Innovation in the Public Sector: Enabling Better Performance, Driving New Directions.

But we know there’s a lot more innovation happening out there in the public sector in Australia.

This innovation ‘shyness’ is for a number of reasons – for instance innovations may simply be seen as business as usual; there may be concern at additional scrutiny of an innovation; or the innovating area simply doesn’t know who to talk about the innovation with.

We would like to help change this situation and provide a forum where innovations can be displayed and promoted. We think this will help:

    • Promote the importance and value of innovation in the public sector;
    • Show public servants what can be done and to inspire/encourage further innovation; and
    • Build up an evidence base of what works (and what doesn’t) in public sector innovation.

This will also help respond to recommendation 12 of Empowering Change which says “Because long term value is captured through dissemination and diffusion of innovations, the APS and its agencies should institute mechanisms to recognise, celebrate and share innovation efforts”.

This is not a new idea. It is something that other public sectors have begun to do. In the United States, there is the White House Open Government Innovations Gallery. In the United Kingdom, there is a series of examples of innovation hosted by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

In May 2010 our colleagues at the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) established the Gov 2.0 Showcase. The Showcase has been set up to help government agencies and departments in pursuing their own Gov 2.0 agenda and projects.

Following its lead, we want to build on these developments and provide a space for non-Gov 2.0 innovations. We’re looking at establishing an Innovations Gallery for public sector innovation in Australia.

Given one of the main aims of the Gallery will be to assist others in the public sector with case studies of their innovations, we’d like to get opinions on what should be in it.

What sort of information should be contained in the case studies? What would help you in understanding, sharing, and promoting public sector innovation?

We’d also like to start the Gallery with a few examples in it – what examples do you think we should include?