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Created by the Public Governance Directorate

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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UPDATE: There is still time for you to share your Social Policy Innovation Story! The deadline for the Call for Innovations in Stakeholder Engagement for Social Policy Development is now 12 April 2019. With public trust in government deteriorating across many countries, the push to put people at the heart of policymaking is on the rise across the globe. And politicians are listening. The OECD is calling on public servants and their partners in civil...
The tale of the ‘erasable pen’ Say you have a doctor, an engineer, and a lawyer all sitting in a room. These three professionals work for the same firm and head office told them that company may now only operate with either pens or pencils. They have to make the decision. Their conversation goes like this: Engineer: I vote for more pencils because with pencils I can erase my mistakes if I make an error...
If you have a good idea, does being polite help or hinder you when you try to introduce it? Or to put it another way, if you have an innovative proposal that you want to pursue, do you need to be good at dealing with established processes, or is it more important to be comfortable with upsetting the apple cart? In this post I want to explore the relationship between innovation and process, and I’m going...
Blog

Lore of Failure

Some things are so small that they can seem completely insignificant. A misplaced letter perhaps. Take, for instance, the letter L. But in the English language a missing ‘l’ can transform a word. Such as the word “public”. Why do I mention this? Because once upon a time in my public sector career, there was a report from the area that I was working in that was published, and where the letter ‘l’ was indeed...
When public sector innovation is talked about it can often seem like a new focus, or something that governments have only recently paid attention to. Yet on a recent holiday I had a reminder that governments have been innovating for a long time, and that many of the issues that we face today when innovating are not new. In this case the reminder was a Swedish naval vessel built early in the 17th Century. The...
This blog was co-authored with former OPSI intern, Théo Bourgery “What does innovation mean to you?” This is a common topic when you speak to public servants about innovation – what is it really about, what does it really mean. And it is always interesting to hear the different views and perspectives, and the degree to which the answers vary. Yet these differences in opinion are not mere curiosities – they matter and can have...
We here at OPSI recognise the value of celebrating innovation, regardless of whether the innovations are great successes or whether they are failures that we can all learn from. An increasingly popular way to celebrate innovation is through awards that can provide well-deserved recognition for innovative teams and projects, and sometimes even funding to help take innovations to the next level. They’re great for surfacing examples and for inspiring others but they can also leave...
Have you ever heard the warnings “we shouldn’t innovate for the sake of it” and “innovation isn’t an end in itself”? In this somewhat contrarian post I’d like to suggest a different perspective, one that argues that innovation for its own sake is both: a) quite uncommon, as innovation usually serves a number of purposes, even if they are not always explicit; and b) not something to worry about even when/if it does happen, and...
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