10 Big Lessons on Government Innovation

by Eddie Copeland

Last week I spent some time reflecting on the lessons I feel I’ve learned from my Nesta colleagues, and from observing our activities in the field of government innovation.

Below are ten that stand out to me.

Which of them resonate with you? What would be on your list of lessons for governments and the public sector?

1 – Government innovation should start with people: thinking about who an innovation is meant to serve and their needs; who can suggest ideas; and who to involve in bringing great ideas to life.

2 – Government and public sector organisations can achieve more by supporting and working with civil society organisations, businesses, regulators, universities and citizens to address social challenges.

3 – Government innovation cannot just be about attending the occasional workshop. To shape everyday practice, an innovation mindset, skills, knowledge and methods must be thoroughly embedded at every level within organisations.

4 – In almost every structure or process, it’s desirable to push power down the chain, towards frontline workers, end users and citizens.

5 – Before applying new technologies to a service or activity, government and public sector organisations should first ensure they have the best operating model to achieve their goal.

6 – Government and public sector organisations should be the primary consumers of their own data. Only by taking their own data seriously will they be able to realise its value and share consistently high quality and useful data with others.

7 – Public sector professionals have every right to look at evidence and use their professional judgement to take a different path, but they should never be ignorant of what the evidence says.

8 – When an innovation doesn’t achieve its original goal, it’s only a failure if no lessons were learned from it.

9 – Even the best innovations will not succeed if the right incentives are not in place to use them.

10 – Innovation is better when it’s open and transparent. Government and public sector organisations risk losing citizens’ trust if they hide how they’re working.

Before you go…

You might be interested to see our summary of the key tools and insights we’ve created for governments over the years.

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Image Credit: Pixabay | Geralt CC0 Creative Commons

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