Written by Matti Kuivalainen | 16 January 2023
About Innovation Portfolios
Innovation can be an uncertain investment. There is no guarantee that any single innovation will work, how it will work or what the unintended or unanticipated consequences might be. In an uncertain world, it is dangerous to rely too heavily on any one single strategy or approach. Changing circumstances (such as a crisis or disruptive development) can make promising or dependable approaches suddenly unreliable or unsuited to the new reality. Furthermore, a singular approach to innovation, such as a focus on efficiency gains, does not adequately respond to the multi-faceted and complex problems faced by the public sector. Portfolios respond to the need for pluralistic strategies in innovation activities.
A portfolio approach can orient innovation activities according to a strategy, mission or mandate, create variety to spread risk and foster opportunities, identify trends and gaps in overall innovation activity and reveal linkages to support learning and collaboration opportunities.
From a strategic perspective, a portfolio of innovation activity is a better bet than a lone project in achieving a purpose or mission, especially if the operating environment is uncertain and one cannot be confident about where (or when) an innovative response might be needed.
A portfolio approach helps public sector organisations to:
Based on years of learnings from public sector organisations around the world, OPSI developed a framework for clarifying the strategic intent and purpose behind innovation, helping governments to better understand and manage multi-faceted innovation. OPSI developed the Innovation Facets framework which identifies four facets:
1. Enhancement-oriented innovation
2. Mission-oriented innovation
3. Adaptive innovation
4. Anticipatory innovation
Take advantage of OPSI’s free self-assessment tool and adaptable workshop for exploring and assessing the balance of innovation activities undertaken by civil servants, leaders and decision-makers.