As societal challenges become more complex and interconnected, the speed of change accelerates, and new futures and possibilities become harder to predict, the need for the public sector to rely on innovation becomes more critical. As trust in governments is decreasing across the world, the public sector needs to look to new models, approaches, and tools that can help government better respond to the challenges of today and the future. Governments are already innovative in some capacity, but often not at the level needed to respond to the challenges of today and the future. Israel is long recognised as an innovative nation. Its private sector is considered one of the most innovative in the world, and the public sector has played a key role in developing and nurturing the innovation ecosystem. While innovation is still occurring in the public sector today, it often seems lacking in ambition and missing a systemic approach – instead relying on bespoke activities that rarely connect to Israel’s complex, societal challenges. As Israel looks at inequality, population growth, and other challenges, they will all have unexpected and dramatic effects on the system.
While the specific effects of the ever-changing realities in Israel is unknown, the public sector must start to reflect on its own preparedness and ability to respond to the challenges. The public sector needs to look at the collective innovation system to ensure that the public sector is able to properly face the unknown and unpredictable. Israel’s public sector already has some advantages in its system. Its budgeting system and its engagement with civil society organisations like JDC Israel create interesting possibilities to try new things. However, it seems Israel is lacking the mindsets and mechanisms for the public sector to deal with horizontal challenges and also lacks a systemic approach to ensure that civil servants across the public sector understand what innovation is, how to engage with it, and their role within the innovation system.
This commentary is authored by the OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) and seeks to provide an initial analysis of the public sector innovation system in Israel. The report was developed in partnerships with The Elka Institute for Leadership and Governance at JDC Israel. This document provides an overview of OPSI’s latest thinking of public sector innovation and using OPSI’s public sector innovation system model to provide initial observations and questions for further research regarding Israel’s public sector innovation system. Lastly, this piece charts a path forward for further work and collaboration between OPSI and Israel to support Israel and its
public sector innovation ambitions.
Initial Scan of the Israeli Public Sector Innovation System
Published on 14 January 2020.