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Foreign Policy Analysis
Innovation in the Public Sector

Innovation in the Public Sector

Hi! Everybody
I’m Rob Delane I’m Director General of Department of Agriculture and Food
or DAFWA as we call ourselves And it’s my pleasure to be both
leading improved innovativeness within DAFWA But also to play some role
in fostering improved innovation capacity And proliferation of innovative policies, strategies And more agile and fast moving,
forward-thinking public service Generally, to the extent we can do that To help with that we brought
one of the world’s most foremost thinkers On public sector innovation and agility To Perth as part of DAFWA’s
visiting specialist program Christian Bason who is the Director of Mind Lab
in Copenhagen, Denmark A joint venture of several ministries
in the Danish public sector Is literally a world expert in this area
He’s written books on relevant subjects A very smart thinker
and a very smart presenter So we brought him here
And the approach that we take here in DAFWA is If we’ve got something that we think
will be beneficial to the rest of the public sector Then we’ll do our best to share that Christian’s short visit did a number of presentations
within our department He spoke to our Executive team
Board of Senior Leadership team Ran a co-creation, design thinking
workshop for our staff We actually had him present to some of our clients
and stakeholders To talk about the sort of approaches
we were taking in the department And then we opened it up
across the sector He ran a very impressive session With more than twenty
Directors General and CEOs He did a great workshop, master class
for the not-for-profit sector And then with the
Institute of Public Administration Australia And then ran a bigger session for public servants
and policy staff, more generally I think the feedback from everyone to us
on Christian’s visit was fantastic Very impressive and inspiring Particularly around design thinking
a new approach where, You deconstruct what’s happening
what people, what our citizens, clients Are experiencing And try and work out where the pinch points are
where the pain points are Where the opportunity
for improvements are And then also around co-creation
and the subsequent step, co-production We actually analyse, design
and create solutions With citizens, with businesses
with our clients and with our stakeholders Rather than the very old public sector model
where of course, We develop things which
were wonderful for someone And then we give it to them
or push it at them And that sort of thinking and approach
which is now quite commonplace in Europe Is something that Christian is expert in
and it really resonated here in Perth So Christian’s had a substantial impact There are people in public sector
agencies, including DAFWA Who are picking up on design thinking approaches,
co-creation approaches And are starting to work with their teams
And develop capacity in their own areas That’s fantastic and of course, MindLab
Their great work’s available on the Internet You search for MindLab
you will find them And so then, where to more broadly? Christian’s visit was part of our commitment
to innovation, capacity building, generally And in November, there was the
WA Public Sector Innovation Forum 150 roughly public servants from
right across the sector Came together, did some brilliant thinking
and brilliant work, The output of that
the feedback from Christian’s work Will be integrating, reporting to
the Executive Coordinating Committee A group of some guiding Directors General But to the Director General’s group, more generally When I talk to them in the next few months And then Directors General and CEOs
individually and collectively Will be working through how we’re
actually going to provide leadership and imprimatur For the sort of capacity building
and change, which is Possible, necessary and which can be Created through collective action
and imprimatur from high-end organisations I think Christian’s work has been fantastic
we’re enormously grateful him We will be doing our best to get him back
as soon as we can And we’ll be doing work to see if we can’t
build the design thinking skills Into the public sector
and that co-creation capacity So that it becomes, if you like, endemic That will start the innovation we need
in each and every public sector organisation Fantastic! Thank you enjoy the video clip
of Christian’s presentations I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it
Thank you! My name is Christian Bason
I’m the Director of MindLab An innovation unit in Copenhagen, Denmark We’re a part of a number of ministries
in the Danish government Fully funded by the Danish government
Our role is to involve citizens and businesses In co-creating new solutions
for people and for society We work especially with the
Ministry of Business, the Ministry of Employment And in the future with the Ministry of Education
and Ministry of Reform in Denmark What we’re seeing today is a
very turbulent environment these days For public organisations
and for public managers We’re seeing them trying to navigate
a much more complex world Full of conflicting objectives
full of change Change such as increasing expectations from
citizens and business Through how public services
are created and delivered We’re seeing a rising cost of
healthcare, of social services We’re seeing rapid technological
change that is both Offering us new opportunities in government
but also raises cost of service We’re seeing, of course, the consequences
of the Global Financial Crisis Which means that many governments are
applying austerity measures, Cutting costs, cutting budgets And we’re seeing a future where government
probably will not have more money again So in this environment of complexity
how do we tackle, how do we deal with What you can categorise as
wicked problems Wicked problems are challenges and problems
that are often ideological and political And that’s usually the nature of public services Wicked problems are problems that are
characterised by multiple causality We don’t always know as policy makers
what’s the relationship between cause and effects We don’t know in advance
what will be the right solutions There are often competing ideas about What could be the solution to
tackling wicked problems In this environment, the question, of course is How do you even, in spite of that,
innovate? How do you find new ideas
that can be implemented to create value? In this environment, what we’re finding
at MindLab is that We probably need to take a more
humble approach to policy making By humility, what I mean is that we
have to respect, understand And take the consequence of the
world out there is not a ground zero It is not a place where nothing is going on
or where our new policies, Whether they be regulations,
expenditure programs, new types of service delivery Where they can just come, do their job or work In an open and almost blank context Actually, the world out there
if full of complexity People, organisations, businesses
are busy doing things In everyday lives, they are
busy pursuing their objectives They have their own motivations,
their own agendas And if we’re going to be effective
as policy makers We have to understand how
the policies that we design Fit with the reality that’s out there
and how they can make a difference For businesses, for people
for organisations that we want to influence And in this environment taking
the consequence of humility Means to spend much more time
in understanding that reality And so what I’ll be speaking
about in this presentation Is how we apply different methods Both for understanding the world
and knowing what’s going on in the world And different methods of
actually taking that knowledge And co-creating new ideas,
new solutions, new concepts Together with both public servants
across a number of agencies But also together with the end-users,
the businesses and the citizens That ultimately, will be impacted
by those policies How do we work systematically
with innovation in government? It’s not because we don’t innovate Actually any government organisation
comes up with new ideas constantly And they also try to implement them But to work systematically
and professionally with innovation We have to build a more conscious
innovation ecosystem That can enable us to get more ideas, better ideas That actually will work for people in the real world And what characterises
an innovation ecosystem? First of all, we have to build a
consciousness about what innovation is Every profession whether you’re a doctor,
a lawyer or you work in finance Every profession has a language
that has shared tools, shared concepts It has theories about what works,
what doesn’t work And that makes the profession effective Because we can communicate
and share concepts with shared understandings In the same way, innovation is actually a language There are concepts, there are tools,
there are theories about innovation And we have to build a consciousness
within our public sector organisations About what that means So the first part of the
innovation ecosystem that Senior managers, leaders
in government must build Is simply the awareness, the consciousness
of the language of innovation What are the methods, approaches and
how do we share that That can be done through
internal communication It can be done through building
strategies, national plans And it can be done by beginning to
also recruit and develop people within the organisation That actually know how to systematically
work with innovation That brings me to the second part
of the innovation ecosystem Which is, capacity Capacity is the ability to
develop organisations That are more nimble, more agile,
that have less of a hierarchy Capacity is around building explicit strategies That explain how we’ll work with
innovation in our organisation And explicit strategies that set out,
not only, our objectives But how will we innovate to get there It is strategies that determine our highest
priorities for innovation And also allocates the resources to address them Capacity is about culture,
it’s about what is right and what is wrong To do in an organisation It’s about what are our accepted
degrees of risk taking It’s about ways in which we
meet with each other in our organisation Culture is about diversity and
the types of skills we have in our organisation Good organisations invest in innovation capability
they invest in training and skilling The third component of the
innovation ecosystem is co-creation I’ll take more about co-creation
in a moment Overall co-creation is about the
process of innovation Co-creation is about designing,
developing new solutions Together with people
not just for them or to them Co-creation is about a mind-set
that balances involvement of your own organisation Your own system and the involvement
of the world out there The world that’s certainly not a
ground zero but is full of actors, of interests Of organisations, of people
that we have to involve To understand their worlds
and try to orchestrate a process Where the world of government and
the world of society comes together To tackle these wicked problems we have The fourth and final part of the
4Cs – the innovation ecosystem has Got to do with leadership
I call it courage And courage is about the ability to balance On the one hand, an inspiring and
visionary leadership Leadership that’s always searching for
new ideas on one hand That’s open to inputs and suggestions from
staff at all levels within the organisation But courage is also about execution It’s about deciding and executing on the best ideas
and making them happen to create value Because ultimately, the reason we need
to build an innovation ecosystem The reason we need to both build
consciousness, capacity, co-creation And courage within our organisations is
because innovation is about the creation of value And value in public service
organisations is both about Higher productivity in these
times of austerity It’s about a better service experience for
people, for businesses That are the end-users of our services It’s about creating better outcomes
such as more health, more learning, More safety, more growth, more sustainability
in our societies, for example And finally, value is about enhancing
our democracy, equality empowerment, Equal rights, transparency and
accountability and so on So the 4Cs of the innovation ecosystem
is really about Changing and developing
public sector organisations into What you might call innovation machines Organisations that can work professionally
at all levels, consciously to create more value Which is, of course,
why we even are here Alright, so co-creation is about
the process of innovation And of course, there are many different
methodologies and processes out there But what I’ll try to share with you
is a generic way of looking at Thinking about and certainly doing
innovation, which is about involving Both your own system but certainly also End-users, business people, citizens
and other actors that Have knowledge, insight and experience
to bring into the process We believe very strongly at MindLab
that it is only through co-creation That you can get the buy in and the
contributions from your own organisation That will ensure that implementation
can actually happen And co-creation is also the only way
you can get a systematic and deep understanding of The world in which your ideas and
solutions need to come and work To start with, let’s take a look at what
does a generic design process look like The slide you’re seeing shows
how we need to move in any innovation process From the present, today and the concreteness
and actuality of the situation we have today Through a process of abstraction where
we begin to analyse and understand What’s going on today means
for an organisation To the future where we
synthesise new ideas, new concepts, New visions about the future And finally to a new situation,
a new concrete situation In the future where we actually have
innovated, where we have changed Where we have actually moved from
the present situation to one that is better That’s the fundamental nature of the
innovation process, that does not mean We cannot begin it or start it
In different quadrants But it means that we ultimately need to move
from one situation now to one in the future That is, by the way, also the way how Herbert Simon
the late Nobel Prize winner, defines design He defines design as the ability to
make up plans and actions that will Change the current situation into a better one The next slide shows the multiple number of Types of activities that we undertake
in all of these 4 quadrants And from knowing the situation today
re-framing problems, from shifting up to Analysing and doing pattern recognition
and understanding The significance of insights for organisation
and moving all the way to Ideation, concept development, prototyping
and back to testing and Scaling and to learning from the process In my experience, the most powerful place
in the process is probably the knowing It’s about knowing the world in a
much more qualitative, in-depth, Rich way than we usually do in government And knowing is about what I also
characterise as professional empathy If we move to the next slide
you can see how that whole part of the process Is really about diving into
the context and the practice Of how actual citizens, actual businesses do their work Professional empathy is about visiting
a number of farmers Physically and spending time with them
half a day or whole day Video-filming interviews with them about their experience With government, red tape and bureaucracy Understanding what are the tools that
they use to manage government regulation Everything from manual files to IT systems
from work processes And when does what government does
seem meaningful, useful and sensible And when does what government does
seem problematic, frustrating, irritating, Too slow and basically not helpful So spending time and energy
on understanding that context Understanding the experience
which is of course, objective But still actually the experience is the
starting point of the process of co-creation From professional empathy of really
harvesting this type of knowledge And doing it in a way where we actually
take video or audio With us back into the office, back into the organisation We need to begin to rehearse the future This is where design methodology
really comes into play In terms of using visualisation
it can also be graphical Illustrations of a service journey through the system It can be the video, it can be the audio
using it to tell the stories and the narratives About real people, about what our services do And then beginning to generate new
understandings of the significance of this So to rehearse the future is, first of all,
to identify what are the core problems That are happening out there And beginning to identify, what we characterise or
call ‘how might we’ questions A ‘how might we’ question is
a reaction to a problem A ‘how might we’ question is an indication
that an organisation is trying to find A direction, trying to find a set of solutions That will actually solve problems
and challenges both for End-users but certainly all the problems and
challenges we see in our organisation So ‘how might we’ becomes the
beginning of a design process Where we brainstorm, we use various
techniques to generate more ideas And in this process we really need
to get divergence We need to get crazy ideas, wild ideas
and to do that we often… MindLab involve wildcards So when we brainstorm we don’t
necessarily involve Colleagues across an agency or department But we do involve artists, people from
private sector who work maybe related areas We involve end-users in the process And we take them through a process
of systematic brainstorming that leads to Of course a selection of ideas, refinement of them,
in the beginning of writing up concepts A concept is a rich, detailed
articulation of a set of ideas Coherent set of ideas that include
consideration such as Who will this idea serve
what are the needs it addresses What are the resources needed
what are the types of barriers that might be What kind of knowledge do we still need to understand
the field better and develop a better concept What kind of resources will
really be required in implementation Who should take main responsibility for implementation
whom should they collaborate with and so on So developing a concept is
beginning to get a joint understanding of What is it going to take to
take this idea into practice Then we prototype
and prototyping is a step of Transferring an idea into something
that is tangible And moving through the design cycle
back into something that’s more and more concrete So what can a prototype be? A prototype could be a mock-up of a website Prototype could be a narrative of the future It could be a story about
how the future should be It could be a storyboard
a film storyboard with drawings That illustrate exactly how might
the story play out in the future It could be a film about it It could be a scenario…
a video scenario playing with small figures And actors and doing a role play
with small stick figures It could be a full-scale role playing where
we actually play out scenes of the new service Across a number of different actors A prototype could be a mock-up
of a physical space Of a service centre and
how that is going to work for people Prototypes are not supposed to work Prototypes as a part of the design process
are vehicles for learning They are vehicles for trying out rough ideas And getting feedback from end-users,
from businesses, from people How would that work for them in their lives
What is not working? What do we need to change and to refine? And is a co-design process where
we actually have a dialogue about How it should be rather than
evaluating it in an abstract way We can actually work on it
together and collaboratively Prototypes come before pilots Prototypes happen in the lab or they happen in
small-scale interviews and interactions And then, when we are reasonably sure
that we’ve got a prototype That’s beginning work and has been refined Then we can begin to take our idea,
for example, to a pilot And we can, for example, to randomised
control trials Other tests where we get quantitative
feedback and really test What works for certain constituents
then we can take it to a broader scale And we can begin to say,
“Let’s go to full-scale implementation” Throughout this process, we learn And throughout this process we are still
curious about how does this actually play out In what is not the ground zero
but what is really a rich, social context And as you can see
the design model is circular It’s iterative, it’s one where we continue to learn Which means, basically that
implementation is never finished And we will never be satisfied with scaling But actually continue to be concerned with How does this solution,
how does this concept play out in the real world? And ready to continuously
improve on it and refine it So the process of co-creation
needs to end with systems change It needs to end with redefining
not just concrete interactions Between citizens, end-users in the system
but it needs to end with a Beginning a redefinition of the
relationship within the whole system So for example, how do we change
the processes between agencies? Or the processes that go on between
non-governmental organisations and the public agency How do we change the processes between local government And perhaps, state or national government? How do we change the workings of
the system around a solution So that it actually… really makes
a difference to people? So getting a scale usually requires that
we don’t just redesign Interactions, vis-à-vis citizens But actually requires redesign
interactions across the whole system Co-creation can be done in a few weeks But to implement it and get it to scale
sometimes takes years It’s a process where you have to keep the vision
and keep the intent alive And so throughout the process of co-creation
even if it takes years We have to remember the insights
and experience of people Using the video, the audio and the
narratives to remind us why we’re even doing this We’ve worked with organisations that used
the video of how citizens experience our services As training material and is really material
that is used to help build a culture Where we continuously remind ourselves
in the organisation Why we need to innovate, why we need to co-create
and where we want to go So one of things that we’re
finding in public organisations That want to build an innovation ecosystem,
that want to co-create Is that they really have to build an
authorising environment for innovation What does that mean? That certainly means that the
senior management and the top executive Takes responsibility for articulating
why we should innovate And dedicates time and resource to it This means that we create the places and the spaces Whether they are innovation units
or they are physical spaces that are accessible It means that we invest in people’s capabilities It means that we embrace error when it’s made Mainly when it’s smart error Smart error, basically is error that is strategic Where we tried something
we didn’t know how to do in advance Where we did our best and
where it just didn’t work It’s where we did our best and
where it didn’t work in a small-scale Where we prototyped it
that’s smart error Dumb errors are errors where we should know better It is where we make mistakes and fail
at something where we actually Have the knowledge, have the skills,
have the expertise to do it right So an authorising environment is one that stimulates
and facilitates smarter errors And still of course, tries to eliminate dumb error The last thing that I think we should keep in mind When we talk about innovation in government is
that co-creation as a process Tends to show us what a new
business model for government might look like So whenever we begin to involve end-users,
citizens and businesses in Design of new solutions we discover
that they actually have resources themselves They can contribute to our solutions
and they can contribute not just with ideas Or with insights into their worlds
but they can actually be part of the solution And so the question becomes How my government, in a time where
we don’t have the money And we don’t have the resources
to do everything ourselves for people How can we produce public services with people With organisations, with external stakeholders, with partners And a paradigm that, I think is worth considering
for future model of governance Is what we call co-production And very briefly, co-production is a paradigm That sees government not just as an
authority that decides for people But actually as an organisation that
is a platform for good things to happen So from authority to platform means that
basically we are facilitating processes We step maybe a little bit back
and let actors in society Do what they see is best for them
it could be through personalised budgets It can be through empowering people To draw up their own plans for activities and investments It can be through designing digital solutions That empower people to do the things they need to do We also see co-production as a paradigm Where we fundamentally redefine
the relationship between Government, people and citizens From one where government
tries to optimise what it’s doing To beginning to redefine what’s even
the fundamental mission It could be redefining from saying
that government is teaching people To creating learning environments It could be redefining from saying government
optimises a case management process To government helping you get a
meaningful and thriving life As a family or as an individual And finally, co-production is
really a paradigm shift That helps government think
not about helping people But about investing in their skills and their capabilities
to do the things they need to do So together co-production is a shift from authority And optimising and helping to platform,
to redefining and to invest in And that kind of paradigm shift has
significant consequences for how we run government Consequences for how we budget,
consequences for how we plan Consequences for our skills, for our professions And for how we think of ourselves as experts And in fact and this will be my concluding remark Businesses and citizens and
organisations are usually experts In their own reality, in their own lives And the role of government is to
understand that expertise, that knowledge And bring that into play without political objectives So we create more meaningful services
more meaningful solutions And create value for people and for our society.

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