Innovation in the Public Sector
Geoff Mulgan’s NESTA pamphlet Ready or not? Taking innovation in the public sector seriously [PDF 336K] is a fantastic exposition on the subject. The paper sheds some light on the obstacles to public sector innovation and provides a wealth of great examples. The appendices and bibliography alone are a goldmine.
In the public sector, as in other fields, innovation can mean many different things. It can mean new ways of organising things (like Public Private Partnerships), new ways of rewarding people (like performance-related pay) or new ways of communicating (like ministerial blogs). Distinctions are sometimes made between policy innovations, service innovations and innovations in other fields like democracy (e-voting, citizens’ juries) or international affairs (prepayments for new vaccines or the International Criminal Court). Some innovations are so radical that they warrant being seen as systemic (like the creation of a national health service, or the move to a low carbon economy).
Mulgan was the founder of Demos in the UK and has written many other books and pamphlets. I’m working my way through one on social innovation at the moment. Lots of good stuff here.