Innovation Toolkit – What should it look like?

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

Innovation is not an easy process. By its very nature innovation it is about changing how things are done, and that means that there will be resistance of some form – otherwise the innovation would probably have already been introduced.

There are a lot of tools available that can help us when we are looking for, and then implementing, innovative solutions. The problem is that it can be hard to know what tool is useful for what situation, and how that tool can be implemented. That’s where the Toolkit comes in.

One of the recommendations of Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Service was for the establishment and maintenance of an Innovation Toolkit website to support innovative agencies and public servants in embedding innovation. Appendix 4 to the report gives a brief overview of a range of tools and approaches that can be used, and an indication of how those various tools can be used to help introduce, implement and sustain innovation.

We think the purpose of the Toolkit should be to:

    • help people understand innovation and how it can be harnessed to help,
    • give guidance on how to implement innovative ideas,
    • provide innovation tools and support for their use,
    • build broader innovation.

From a practical perspective we think that the Toolkit should:

    • Give an understanding of what the tools are and what they are for, to range of audiences;
    • Identify when and where they might, be used;
    • Provide an understanding of the pitfalls and the problems that might be encountered when they are used;
    • Provide information that can be used in business cases to facilitate the adoption of these tools; and
    • Provide pointers to ongoing support.

There are a range of Toolkit approaches that already exist which cater to different audiences. For instance there is one from the Australian Institute for Commercialisation and from Ideas Connection. A wiki aimed at those working in Local Government and thinking about innovation has also been set up.

This post will be the first in a series dedicated to the construction of the Toolkit. As the purpose of the Toolkit is to help people such as yourselves, to kick things off we would like to hear what you think the Toolkit should include. So our questions for you are:

    • What would you want from the Toolkit?
    • What features from other toolkits do you like and would like to see included?

Let us know what you think. We’ll be coming back to you with discussion of what specific tools might contain and on the look and feel of the Toolkit. In the meantime, based on your feedback on this and future posts, we will be developing the Toolkit and giving you the chance to input before we go live.