End of year stock-take – public sector innovation in the APS in 2011

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

I recently read in an innovation newsletter that the most important motivator for innovation is progress, or being able to make and see progress in your work.[1. Based on the work of Teresa Amabile – see for instance the author talking about employee engagement] This definitely resonates for me, and I find that the feeling of having achieved something is extremely important in sustaining my appetite for further innovation.

So, as the year comes to a close, it is a good opportunity to look back at what has been achieved in the public sector innovation arena in 2011.

    • The Public Sector Innovation Toolkit and Public Sector Innovation Showcase were launched, providing resources to public servants looking for how to use innovation to achieve better outcomes
    • The APS Innovation Action Plan was endorsed, signed and released by the Portfolio Secretaries in mid 2011, setting out the mandate for innovation within the APS
    • In co-operation with the Australian National University, we had presentations from two international experts on public sector innovation – David Albury from the UK and William D Eggers from the US
    • The Secretaries Board has considered a proposal around the APS Design Centre (referred to in the Action Plan) and there will be news on this in 2012

We think that we’ve achieved some important milestones in 2011 to help embed innovation into the systems of the APS (much of it with the help of others in the network). And, as innovation becomes more integrated with how the APS works, there should be more examples of innovation making a difference in the outcomes achieved by the APS.

We’re certainly aware that there is further work to do as we make our way along the innovation journey. For instance, at our December meeting with innovation representatives from other APS agencies we asked about future priorities or areas where further assistance would be most appreciated. Responses included:

    • Explicit detailed innovation frameworks that can be applied by agencies
    • Further information on how to build a business case for an innovation
    • Change management guidance
    • Engendering cultural change in an agency
    • Having more cross-agency innovation events and workshops
    • Further examples of the value of innovation in the policy space.

For the moment though, let’s celebrate what has been achieved. What about in your agency? What progress was made on the innovation front in 2011?