New Zealand Innovation Barometer

Public sector innovation can drive better outcomes for citizens. However, successful innovative initiatives are the result of individual efforts, rather than an empowering environment. How can citizens be provided with access to data to hold their government to account? The Innovation Barometer will do this, giving officials and the public data, spotlighting shortcoming, and providing actionable steps to track changes overtime, improving government's ability to deliver public value.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

THE PROBLEM
The current public sector is not setup for innovation. Successful innovative initiatives are the result of individual efforts, rather than as a result of a supportive and empowering institutional environment. Public servants already have access to dozens of toolkits and resources, what they lack is an environment that empowers them to put these tools into practice. Their intent to innovate gets buried under competing priorities and political demands. Senior Leaders understand conceptually that innovation is important, however, they lack the data showing its value and data that makes the gaps and risks of not innovating, impossible to ignore. What happens if they don’t innovate? Resources are wasted on solutions that don’t deliver the desired outcomes.

“We need to show senior leaders and managers that it’s OK to innovate.”
Hon Grant Robertson, New Zealand Minister of Finance

The Innovation Barometer will put real data in front of Senior Leaders that they can’t ignore. The Barometer will act as a spotlight on the shortcoming of a given agency while also providing access to information on ways the shortcomings can be addressed. The data captured relates to both an agency's innovative outputs and factors that influence an agency's innovative ability. Agencies will no longer just understand the importance of innovation conceptually but through data.
These factors are referred to as ‘Innovative Stocks’, each with sub-stocks, that together underpin the conditions for an innovative agency. The five Stocks are:
Innovative Intent: To learn people’s willingness, determination and belief in public sector innovation
Innovative Skills and Capability: To learn people’s understanding and capability to use innovative method
Ease of Collaboration: To learn how the ability to collaborate internally, externally, and vertically may help or hinder innovation
Innovative Culture: To learn how leadership, risk and organisational culture may help or hinder innovation
Institutional Environment: To learn how resourcing, organisational change and political forces may help or hinder innovation

Data will also be collected about existing innovation projects - innovation outputs - to learn more about the following topics:
Types of Innovation
Expenditures and personnel
Objectives
Information channels
Collaboration
External funding
Evaluation
Outcomes/value
Innovative procurement practices

This data will be collected primarily through a survey of public sector staff. Some of the data underpinning the Innovation Stocks will be taken from existing government agencies, which is spread between agencies, reports, and is not always consistent, limiting the holistic insights. We’re creating an economies of scope for data. Where one set of data, interpreted alongside another, creates a whole new dataset of possible insights, which can then be acted upon, ensuring evidence-based decisions.

The aggregated data will be presented as an interactive dashboard for all participating central (federal) government agencies. This dashboard will be made public so citizens have access to more information to hold their government accountable. There will also be a dashboard for each agency, highlighting their unique areas for improvement.

Our objective is to incentivise Senior Leaders to take action to improve their agency’s ability to innovate. The deeper level of visibility, understanding and actionable steps created will catalyse improved efficiencies, outcomes achieved, staff satisfaction, and the promotion of trust, transparency, and citizen engagement.

METHOD FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Creative HQ received funding from New Zealand’s Digital Government Leadership Group to launch the barometer pilot in 2020. As of Feb 2020, the team is building and testing the data development and collection process with its partners.

BENEFITS
Senior leaders: New data and information they do not currently have access to - helping them improve the productivity and well-being of staff and citizens.
Public servants: Seeing changes made to their agencies in alignment with their contribution (through completing the survey) showing they are positively contributing to a stronger public service. They will also have the imperative to use the toolkits they already have access to.
Citizens: Increased access to information through the public government barometer dashboard. Overtime citizens will be the ultimate benefit from improved outcomes as a result of a more innovative public sector.

The June 2020 pilot will be with participating central government agencies. The vision is to include all central and local governments in 2021 and to share the method with countries looking to create a similar product.

COURSE OF ACTION
The Barometer is the result of three months work as part of the Lightning Lab GovTech 2019 accelerator programme. The team gathered in-depth qualitative research on what innovation means in a government context and the barriers to innovation.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

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  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

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