The implementation of the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) methodology in the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) was developed to address performance management, transparency, and team clarity and coordination issues. OKRs have benefited the organization by providing a structured framework to set, track, and measure objectives, thus improving accountability and goal alignment. This marks the first experience of implementing this approach in the Ukrainian public sector, drawing inspiration from successful private sector companies, and its potential to serve as a best practice for other government agencies to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.
The innovation of implementing the OKRs methodology in National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) was driven by the need to address issues related to performance management, transparency, involvement and coordination of the NACP's team after its reboot in 2019-2020. In the Ukrainian public sector there was a clear opportunity to introduce a different, results-oriented approach, to enhance efficiency and goal alignment.
The innovation involves the adoption of the OKRs methodology, which is a goal-setting framework that enables organizations to set clear objectives and measurable key results. It provides a structured approach to defining, tracking, and assessing progress toward achieving these goals.
The primary objectives of this innovation were to improve management systems within NACP, enhance clarity and transparency for employees, foster greater accountability in the organization and within society, align individual and team goals with the broader mission of combating corruption.
Moreover, one of the most ambitious goal was to develop and to adopt State Anti-Corruption Strategy in the Parliament, and then, on the basis of this document, develop, accept and implement State Anti-Corruption Program.
The innovation benefits NACP as an organization, as it empowers employees to set and monitor their objectives, contributing to more efficient operations. It also benefits the public and civil society by promoting greater transparency and accountability in anti-corruption institution allowing them to monitor the annual plan on the official website
For last years, the annual and quarterly plans of OKR are institutionalized in the orders of the Head of NACP, and their implementation and results are part of an independent audit.
In the future, this innovation is envisioned to be institutionalized within NACP's operations as an integral part of its performance management culture. To scale even further, it can be shared as a best practice within the broader Ukrainian public sector, potentially improving efficiency and effectiveness across various governmental agencies developing cross-functional interaction. NACP experts are presenting and implementing of this practice in other bodies of the central executive power of Ukraine (e.g. Ministry of Digital Transformation, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
The decision to implement the OKRs methodology was determined through a thorough assessment of the organization's needs and goals. This involved evaluating the existing performance management system, identifying gaps, and recognizing the potential benefits of OKRs developing a comprehensive strategy for implementation, which includes selection of necessary IT tools, develop approaches for the implementation of private sector-specific management models in the public sector and organizing the discussion process in the form of strategy sessions.
To implement the project, NACP likely employed the following methods/tools:
1. Training and capacity building to educate employees on the OKRs methodology.
2. Development of a structured OKRs framework tailored to NACP's objectives.
3. Ongoing monitoring and assessment to track progress and make necessary adjustments.
Inspiration from Another Innovation:
NACP have been inspired by the success of OKRs in private sector organizations, such as Google or Intel, which have used this methodology to drive innovation and achieve remarkable results. This adoption of a private-sector-inspired approach within the public sector is itself an innovative step.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
The Implementation of OKRs on NACP is innovative because:
1. The goal-oriented approach enabled the implementation of ambitious and large-scale projects such as the development of a State Anti-Corruption Strategy and State Anti-Corruption Program within the required timeframe.
2. This led to changes in the whole system from the inside, but the key processes for coherent work within the framework of cross-sectoral interaction in the public sector of Ukraine were built into the new management model of the NAPC.
3. What makes it innovative is its application of a private sector-inspired approach to the public sector, drawing inspiration from successful private companies, and its potential to serve as a best practice for other government agencies to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.
What is the current status of your innovation?
In the last week of September 2023, strategic sessions were conducted with each structural unit of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP).
During these sessions, intermediate results were reviewed, and objectives were set for the fourth quarter, aligning with the overarching goals established earlier in the year. Furthermore, representatives from NAZK have been actively advocating for this project among other governmental bodies. By the end of 2023, there are plans for the implementation of OKRs, following NACP's methodology, in other ministries and agencies.
Collaborations & Partnerships
The National Academy of Corporate Performance (NACP) introduced the concept of implementing Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) within their organization. After a couple of years, in 2023, Kyiv Mohyla Business School (KMBS), a Ukrainian business school, and a prominent think tank joined hands as partners with NACP to observe and facilitate the quarterly OKRs discussion process.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
The NACP team, consisting of government officials, has benefited from these innovation.
Their work has become more structured, transparent, and focused on clear, achievable goals. As a result, top management within the organization now feels more informed when making decisions, as they can closely monitor both the process and progress of their initiatives.
Also, civil society can join the process because NACP OKRs are publicly available for everybody.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
The innovations at NACP have achieved planned results. Work has become more outcome-focused, fostering cross-functional collaboration within the organization. Even ambitious goals, such as developing, adopting, and implementing the State Anti-Corruption Program, have been tackled successfully. This approach has an impact on the entire system from within, making it function more like a private entity while preserving all aspects of a public sector institution.
To measure these impacts, NACP employs quantitative, qualitative, and binary (done/not done) assessment methodologies. They've also customized classical OKRs to better suit the specific needs of a public institution like NACP.
Looking ahead, NACP aspires to set a benchmark for other Ukrainian government bodies. NACP aim to mentor and support these entities in implementing the OKRs Methodology, encouraging them to strive for increased effectiveness in their work.
Challenges and Failures
The NACP has encountered numerous challenges, including the formulation of an excessive number of key results and the persistence in using the OKRs methodology as a mere "list of tasks." Additionally, difficulties emerged during the task-setting stage, necessitating a shift in the organization's mindset from a "top-down" approach to the more appropriate "bottom-up" task-setting method in the Ukrainian public sector. This transition has resulted in a decrease in efficiency and effectiveness.
Conditions for Success
Leadership is the most critical component since it must be the cornerstone of the methodology. Additionally, personal values and motivation play a significant role in inspiring people through the development of their personal values and career growth motivation. When discussing the development and implementation of policies, it is essential to formulate rules and formalize processes, clearly outlining the necessary steps that are vital for public service.
OKRs are all about strategic goal setting and goal alignment. The OKR methodology is not designed for addressing immediate needs within a limited legal framework. It promotes cross-functional development. A vivid example for any institution is an ambitious goal related to launching a product, where the project implementation mechanism works "bottom-up" and is initiated and propelled by stakeholder groups. However, even considering that the OKR methodology has been used by organizations like the City of San Francisco, Government Digital Service (GDS) - UK, Estonian e-Government, and the Singapore Government for some time now, it always requires an individualized approach in its implementation and execution.
OKRs allow for the abandonment of a goal if its execution appears impractical and provide flexibility in adjusting key results during the execution of strategic tasks. When discussing the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, as well as involvement in the political process, which can sometimes be highly unstable, this serves as a valuable lesson. Additionally, it is essential to initially consider the importance of cross-functional collaboration among structural units, as evidenced by preliminary discussions, as it helps identify issues at an early stage and approach the collective discussion well-prepared.
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
19 October 2023