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This website was created by the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI), part of the OECD Public Governance Directorate (GOV).

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One of the biggest challenges in taking a mission-oriented innovation approach is operationalising the ambitions in practice. While many missions have been announced – including missions to tackle climate change, enhance equality, reduce poverty, and many others – there is a lack of analytical reflection of what drives missions to success. To answer this question, the OECD Mission Action Lab and the Danish Design Centre conducted a survey in December 2021. Two hundred and twenty...
This blog is part of a series introducing the OECD Mission Action Lab (MAL), an initiative supporting countries to turn mission-oriented innovation into action. Find out more about the OECD Mission Action Lab or contact us at [email protected] The Unevenly Distributed Future Picture two mules and a wooden wagon right next to a space rocket. Now picture a world in which the richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people,...
Individualised cancer care, better screening, translational research and improved treatment: countries across the EU are on a mission to beat cancer. In 2019, Sweden launched Vision Zero Cancer, a national mission to combat cancer. It relies on mission-oriented innovation, a policy approach that engages stakeholders and citizens across disciplines and sectors to define the actions and strategies required to achieve this goal. The mission is financially supported by the Swedish Innovation Agency,…
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2021: A Year in Review at OPSI

2021 was yet another busy year at OPSI! As the rate and complexity of global challenges increases, so does our work. In cooperation with partners and counterparts, we complete another successful year of leveraging our expertise in global trends, public sector innovation systems, transformative technology and innovation skills, processes and methods. We held over 50 workshops, webinars and events Issued 13 reports Published 46 blogs And held hundreds meetings to drive the point home: that...
Take our needs assessment survey The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Mission Action Lab, together with the Danish Design Centre, is launching an international survey on implementing missions. The survey deadline is 13.12.21 and can be accessed here. The survey is open to all interested in missions or mission-oriented innovation approach: those who have launched or are involved in a mission, those who are still thinking about it or want to know more....
“What is innovation, anyway?” It is a question we are asked at the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) every day. The concept of innovation is varied and confusing. Intentionally managing and steering innovation in governments even more so. While the OECD’s public sector innovation definition outlines that innovation is something that is novel to the context, implemented and brings about impact (for example in the form…
Virtual Conference – Government Beyond Recovery: Towards a future-fit public sector: 18-19 October 2021 As we hurry to buy plane tickets to the next tropical destination or catch the latest James Bond movie in theatres, the sudden and dramatic restrictions we all experienced in early 2020 can feel like a distant memory. In the early days of COVID-19, many of us reflected critically on the things that mattered most in our lives and work; committing...
Innovation portfolio management is becoming a core practice for intentional and proactive public sector innovation units to prepare governments to address a diversity of current and future challenges.  The practice: Helps build clarity of purpose of innovation; Provides a high-level view of the interrelationships between innovation support activities; Identifies gaps and prompts for ideas for changes in direction or composition; and Identifies the types of innovation supports needed to…
Mission-oriented innovation helps the public sector direct innovation towards grand societal challenges. In the face of today’s wicked problems – from plastic pollution to rising inequalities – interest in mission-oriented innovation is growing across OECD countries and beyond. We invited organisations to a simulation to test mission-based approaches on the complex issues they work on. Since late 2020, the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation has partnered with the UCL Institute…
Missions offer a formalised path to creating public value but urgently need more experimental and iterative approaches to make missions a reality in the messy world of public policy. Mission-oriented innovation needs not only an ambitious clarity of purpose but also the alignment of system-level operational and governance mechanisms. OPSI is remixing some of its systems tools to help with that and have redesigned a…
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