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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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Core Skills for Public Sector Innovation


There is a fundamental need to increase the level of innovation within the public sector of OECD countries and EU states if they are to meet the challenges of the 21st century, a need which has only been increased by the fiscal pressures placed on many states by the 2008-2009 crisis.

At the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation’s November 2014 conference “Innovating the Public Sector: From Ideas to Impact” – a forum that brought together ministers, public sector leaders and innovators (both inside and outside the public sector) – four “calls to action” were presented that needed to be urgently addressed to promote and enable public sector innovation:

  1. Focus on people – Governments must invest in the capacity and capabilities of civil servants as the catalysts of innovation. This includes building the culture, incentives and norms to facilitate new ways of working.
  2. Put knowledge to use – Governments must facilitate the free flow of information, data and knowledge across the public sector and use it to respond creatively to new challenges and opportunities.
  3. Working together – Governments must advance new organisational structures and leverage partnerships to enhance approaches and tools, share risk and harness available information and resources for innovation.
  4. Rethink the rules – Government must ensure that internal rules and processes are balanced in their capacity to mitigate risks while protecting resources and enabling innovation.

Embracing Innovation in Government: Core Skills for Public Sector Innovation

Published 26 April 2017