Skip to content
An official website of the OECD. Find out more
Created by the Public Governance Directorate

This website was created by the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI), part of the OECD Public Governance Directorate (GOV).

How to validate authenticity

Validation that this is an official OECD website can be found on the Innovative Government page of the corporate OECD website.

Cross-Border Government Innovation

Collective action on common challenges

cross-border government innovation

About Cross-Border Government Innovation

Major challenges have no borders and neither should the approaches to address them. Yet, much of the current government innovation is inward-focused. OPSI and the UAE MBRCGI have embarked on a new programme to bring global solutions to global challenges.

The need for cross-border innovation

Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, governments around the world have unleashed a torrent of innovation at a pace and scale not seen in generations. Faced with no choice but to act, they have compressed years of progress into weeks and months. The ongoing crisis has made two things undoubtedly clear: the public sector is critical to ensuring the stability and wellbeing of society, and governments can rapidly and radically transform themselves to respond to shifting needs.

However, at the global level, the pandemic has shown how the increasing interconnectedness of countries may have made the world more vulnerable to common threats and has exposed weaknesses in international co-operation. Major challenges demand new approaches and collective action across countries and policy fronts. Yet, government innovation efforts are largely confined to the borders of a single country. Cross-border innovations that do exist tend to be in their infancy but need to be expanded.

A partnership to catalyse cross-border efforts

OPSI and the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation (MBRCGI) have worked in partnership to determine which set of innovative public sector practices can best support collaboration between countries and jurisdictions and tackle cross-border issues.

To understand the key approaches and conditions for enhancing cross-border government innovation, OPSI and the MBRCGI conduct extensive research and hold regular global crowdsourcing exercises (Call for Innovations) and open workshops with multi-disciplinary practitioners and leaders. These efforts enable the identification and determination of the set of innovative public sector practices that can best support collaboration among countries and jurisdictions to tackle cross-border issues.

Through this work, OPSI and the MBRCGI identified key challenges and success factors for cross-border government innovation as well as the potential for collective benefits, as discussed in a series of three reports.

Picking up on global
innovation trends

Each year, OPSI and the MBRCGI release an annual public sector innovation trends report – 2017, 2018, 2019 and a series of five reports in 2020. Usually launched at the UAE’s annual World Government Summit, each report is based on a comprehensive global innovation review.

Through the yearly global Call for Innovations crowdsourcing exercise, hundreds of innovations from all around the world are captured and analysed. The resultant reports feature numerous case studies on innovation in action and in-depth analysis on key innovation trends.

This work continues the long-standing partnership between OPSI and the MBRCGI, through which thousands of innovation initatives have been analysed.

Reports series and digital stories

Although cross-border government innovation efforts are more limited in number than other types of public sector innovation, they hold tremendous potential for systemic change at scale; change which is not possible through governments acting alone. Visionary teams with far-reaching perspectives have designed and implemented systemic, cross-border initiatives that are delivering results. OPSI and the MBRCGI have identified a number of leading modes of cross-border innovation, as well as key examples that illustrate their potential for change, underlying challenges and success factors.

OPSI and the MBRCGI published a series of three reports and digital stories on Achieving Cross-Border Government Innovation, each focusing on a key mode of cross-border innovation. These can be accessed at the links below.

Achieving Cross-Border Government Innovation

The latest on Cross-Border Government Innovation