A lot of innovative activities are carried out by Dutch and other governments. Unfortunately, the impact is limited. Innovations are stand alone projects, not implemented or scalable within primary processes. This reference model supports the implementation of an innovation management system for governments. The starting point is an Innovation Maturity Scan. Tooling, training and handouts are available supporting a social and process innovation transition at governmental organizations.
The ability to respond faster to change and come up with alternative ways of working requires innovation management: managing all the activities, procedures and systems that contribute to making it easier, faster and more effective to innovate. So innovation management is about innovating management itself and the teams it leads.
At the same time, it is important that the dynamics of innovation take place bottom-up in as many places as possible and are not just top-down driven by management. Innovation management thus requires personal leadership, social and process innovation from everyone involved in innovation.
To support the implementation and application of innovation management, the ministry has the following services, trainings and tools available, among others:
- Innovation Maturity Scan: an online tool that quickly gives a picture of the maturity of the organization's innovation strength. Can be conducted as a self-scan or guided by a certified consultant;
- Innovation Management System for Government Professional (IMS GOV Pro) training: a special for government officials training designed and conducted in collaboration with the Total Innovation Management Foundation. Certified professionals work as consultants or within their own organizations;
- Innovation Project Roadmap: a thoughtful approach developed for the central government in collaboration with the Center for Innovation at Leiden University. This approach is supported by a comprehensive set of canvases, to be used in workshops and work sessions;
Implementing such a structured approach to innovation leads to higher innovation capacity, which manifests itself as follows:
- More engaged and empowered people in the organization;
- Greater ability to collaborate internally and externally;
- Increased ability to deal with uncertainty and opportunities;
- Improvement and broadening of services where appropriate;
- Reduced costs, efficient use of resources and more sustainable operations;
- Greater understanding of innovation developments;
- Increased citizen and stakeholder satisfaction;
- Strengthened reputation and appreciation of the organization;
- Improved compliance with regulations and other relevant requirements.
The innovation management model provides the criteria for setting up one's own innovation management system (IMS) within a (government) organization. Each element of the model addresses the basic requirements essential for implementing innovation in an integrated approach in relation to the organization's objectives.
The model provides input to the organization and the processes to be worked out around innovation. It is the first of its kind because of the possibility to start in an accessible way with an Innovation Maturity Scan developed specifically for the government and afterwards to carry out or take a thorough and structured assessment in the full breadth or in parts that can lead to a qualitative assessment of the innovation capability and the corresponding advice.
'Maturity' gives an indication of the potential success of an innovation project or innovation.
We label the indications (including an estimate of the lead time for elaboration and implementation to get to the next level) 'levels of maturity' and they stand for:
- Level 1 The organization is still on the eve of starting an innovation management approach, innovations have little or no desired impact and are not deployed from an integral vision and strategy (research and start-up of first implementation innovation management system takes 3 to 9 months);
- Level 2 The organization is convinced of a more structural approach with innovation management and starts to implement parts of this approach step by step. Consequently, the impact of innovations increases (this further development of the proprietary model will often take another 6 to 12 months);
- Level 3 After implementation of the innovation management system follows a phase in which the organization, processes and culture must begin to fit innovative working. Acceptance and enthusiasm start to increase as innovations produce the desired effects (count on 12 to 36 months for this difficult step and intended effects);
- Level 4 The organization is maturing in the area of innovation and these now begin to have major, positive impact at a faster pace, on a larger scale (24 to 48 months or more lead time);
- Level 5 At the highest maturity level, this impact is continuously present and innovations with impact are landing in the organization (upon reaching this level, continuous successful development takes place and there is also room for more radical innovation).
The scan provides a first indication of the development points for the organization to reach a higher level in parts or across the board. A more qualitatively weighted and detailed analysis can follow on the basis of an in-depth assessment.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
The search for the 'silver bullet' is like the one for the Holy Grail: it will never be found. That's why we have set up a comprehensive set of content (models, information, insights), tools (online, canvas, step-by-step schemes), workshops, training and communities supporting building every governmental organizations own innovation management system.
The focus on a systematic way of working is new, the integrated approach is new, and last but not least the online Innovation Maturity Scan is unique for governments (and can easily be adjusted for local use as well).
What is the current status of your innovation?
The Innovation Maturity Scan is live, the first 50 professionals are trained, over 20 canvasses are developed and available, training material is in place and available via an eLearning platform, two communities are live (one for interested colleagues, one for trained professionals). The insights of the training and outcomes of the maturity scans have been used in over 20 different governmental organizations in Holland already within one year. OECD / OPSI has shown interest in re-use materials and tooling (in English).
Collaborations & Partnerships
We have a 3-year partnership arrangement with the Total Innovation Management (TIM) Foundation on transforming their models and material fit for use in the context of governmental innovation activities. Besides, TIM trains innovation professionals within various departments and organisations for using the model, tools and materials. TIM certifies these professionals and in cooperation the community is managed. There is a strong ecosystem with companies and educational institutes as well.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Stakeholders are senior government officials and advisors. The TIM foundation has already created a spin off set up for local governments and civil society organisations together with a commercial publishing company for this target group.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
After the first year we have conducted a study on the direct and indirect impact by using the model, tooling and material on improved innovation activities. The results are very positive and promising, since we've only just started:
- 8% has created more structure on innovation activities
- 16% has shared insights with the top-management and 24% with colleagues
- 23% has expanded the ecosystem for the organisation
- 17% has further explored ways to innovate due to the training
We expect tot train around 50 professionals per year with an impact on around 20 - 25 new organisations as a result. Due to the nature of the cooperation with TIM we already save 50% on innovation training expenses. Content is now co-owned and therefore open for sharing amongst governments and other institutes. The use of the Innovation Maturity Scan is free of charge and open for all organisations and citizens (available in Dutch and English). A scan for innovation projects as a spin off is also now made available.
Challenges and Failures
We started 2 years ago with models originally developed for commercial use. To transform that into governmental use (and language) was the first big step. Then we had to adjust several approaches and steps in the models to make it fit for use. By various workshops and training sessions we collected feedback and fine tuned the model, material and training.
Corona slowed down the development, since setting up this kind of work and community asks for a lot of face-to-face interaction. Only Autumn 2021 and starting in 2022 the whole concept started to scale up.
We now make use of the hybrid way oof working and instead of a barrier we use online tooling for expanding our network and training facilities.
To activate everybody on a platform for sharing information and insights is still a challenge. We expect this to improve by starting to organise more network sessions and hire support to facilitate communication and commuity activities.
Conditions for Success
What we need is an ongoing partnership with the TIM Foundation, a not-for-profit international institute. The need for financial support is limited since most of the work has been carried out. Except for continuous training and updating the content and models. This will be covered by a personal community membership of only 295 euros per year.
Furthermore, as pointed out, we will need professional support in community management and communication. This could be offered in-house by the ministry.
The online maturity scan can be adapted very easily and be made available for other purposes. Like measuring maturity levels on others subjects. Or rebuild for other countries, governments, institutes. The formula of creating materials, tooling, training and a community using en further developing this, is key for success. This formula in itself can be duplicated for other use as well.
The maturity model focusses on developing a more open, innovative organization. Parts of this model can also be used for professionalize innovation project management.
The online tool has been re-used with different questions and labels for measuring other maturity levels. For instance the status of a regular (non-innovative) project at hardly any additional costs.
Innovation management and structuring it is relatively new to governments. It takes support from leaders and a comprehensive set of activities, material, tooling and an ecosystem with participants and parters to build.
The community of trained innovation professionals is very valuable.
See for more information on innovation management model the website The Innovation Maturity Scan (innovatiematurityscan.nl).
We are willing to share all models and information in English if applicable.
Many thanks for the opportunity to apply and share our insights!
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
23 January 2023