OPSI meet-up pilot

[Originally published by the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) under a Creative Commons Attribution – ShareAlike 3.0 IGO (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO).]

Are you interested in meeting with others from around the world interested in the issues of public sector innovation and government transformation? We’re looking to test a virtual meet-up event format with interested practitioners from the community interested in our work at OPSI on 25 February. 

Engaging in new ways

Crises are big opportunities to experiment and give different things a try, safe in the knowledge that the standard options are not good enough. And 2020 was a big opportunity for us at OPSI (and the OECD more broadly and many, many others) to test out different ways of engaging with the countries that we work with, and the practitioners involved in trying to do things differently in the public sector. 

The most obvious example of this was our work with Government After Shock, where we: 

  • Worked with other event hosts to learn from their discussions rather than trying to duplicate them 
  • Ran a podcast to tap into the wisdom of a diverse group about what was happening and what they were seeing 
  • Provided a platform for partners from across the world to run a diverse set of events but with a common thread to aid collective learning. 

Government After Shock was different to the other conferences that we’ve held, and it helped us to learn a lot, and two things of particular relevance to this conversation. First, it showed us that there are lot of people interested in the conversations around public sector innovation and government transformation who will get involved if they’re given the opportunity. Second, while the OECD has a lot of strength in data collection and comparative performance of countries, there’s clearly still more for us to learn about how to both tap into and help facilitate collective learning about emergent lessons arising from practice (e.g. the issues faced by practitioners through the COVID-19 pandemic). A lot of our work for countries benefits from our network’s insights and our OPSI blog, newsletter and webinars are great aids in connecting us with others. However, these existing channels tend to be a bit more structured, set and one-way, rather than allowing for more discovery and open-ended discussions. 

Drawing on our experiences with Government After Shock, and the opportunities to try out virtual events offered by the pandemic, we would like to test with you (people interested in OPSI and the topics we work on) a more informal style of event to connect practitioners and others. The primary aim would be to connect like-minded people, to share experiences and perhaps learn something new. The secondary aim would be to draw on the experiences and knowledge of participants to help us collectively learn about what’s happening and capture relevant insights faster, so that we can better pass the resultant research and guidance on to the broader community. 

In doing this, we are not looking to duplicate the work of others in running networks or similar activities (indeed, we are currently trying to identify and help connect those who run such networks). Rather, this is an attempt to explore how we can get better at connecting practitioners from around the world while at the same time learning from those practitioners, so that our work is better informed and more relevant to governments and those who work in/with them. Your involvement will hopefully help us get better at helping you. 

For our first test, we want to focus more on this being a social exercise – e.g. facilitating participants meeting others from different contexts, to share and to connect – rather than focusing on a particular topic. We want to make sure that this can provide value to those who participate first and foremost. (And if it doesn’t do that, then we very probably will not have a second test!) If we can achieve that, then we’ll be looking at running others that are perhaps more topic- or question- based (or we might get better suggestions from those who participate!). 

If you’re interested in participation, then you can register for the event, to be held at 1pm CEST on 25 February. (Time zone wise, we know this will not be ideal for everyone – virtual events have shortcomings as do in-person ones, just different ones – if we do more of these, we’ll look to cater to different time zones more appropriately.) We look forward to seeing some of you then!