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Org 13% | Sector Average: 15%
Senior leaders in our public sector understand innovation is important for delivering better outcomes.
However, they told us that they don’t have a way to measure it...
...and you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
In response we set out to develop a cross-government tool that provides senior leaders with rich data, highlighting their innovative ability. They can then take practical actions to improve and track progress over time.
The Innovation Barometer was born and in 2020 we ran a pilot with the following organisations
You can see the results of the pilot in the interactive barometer below.
To view the barometer, access this site on a device with a bigger view port. Or, if you are using a tablet, turn it to landscape
The innovation barometer measures staff perception of your organisation’s capability in innovation related stocks.
Select a stock to learn more:
It is widely understood across the New Zealand Government that there is a strong need and desire to collaborate across government to more effectively ‘ act as a unified public service - He ratonga tūmatanui e kotahi ana’. Additionally, Collaboration with Iwi and Māori is shown to be easier if Te Tiriti o Waitangi is meaningfully incorporated in government policy.
Stakeholders are grouped to distinguish between key groups for more meaningful insight. Most innovations happen across multiple teams within an organisation, making insight on ‘within my organisation’ collaboration a pivotal SubStock to lifting Innovative Outputs.
The SubStocks relate specifically to The Strategy for a Digital Public Service’s strong emphasis on co-creation with third parties (public and non-govt entities) and cross-organisation collaboration. Specific Iwi and Māori data captured supports the Government's commitment to strengthening the Crown’s relationships with Māori to uphold Te Tiriti responsibilities.
Leadership is incorporated in its broadest sense. ‘Within any organisation, an innovative culture must be supported by individuals in power.’ The role of individual leaders and their skills (Innovative Know How) is widely acknowledged as a ‘ make or break’ for innovation. We need leaders capable to navigate an ‘authorising environment’ from the strategic objectives through to team enablement. Leaders are responsible for the effective dissemination of information to staff (Internal Communication). In addition innovation objectives and outcomes should align to the broader organisational strategy to be progressing towards one vision (Strategy).
Honouring Te Tiriti is a constitutional requirement of government organisations and aligned to the legislative commitment to ‘strengthen the Māori–Crown relationship.’ In the new Public Service Act 20206 Honouring Te Tiriti as a category to lift innovation is, unsurprisingly, not referenced in any international literature. However, we and the government organisations we have worked with, agree innovations should occur within an environment that honours Te Tiriti.
People are acknowledged as a fundamental ingredient for the success of any innovation, and importantly, people who are motivated to innovate. Learning people’s attitude towards innovation creates the imperative to implement ways to improve an organisations’ ability, learnt from the Barometer dataset.
The overall sentiment of growing capability including people’s incentives and autonomy is reflected in international reports notably OECD’s advice on measuring innovation, and the NZ Strategy for a Digital Public Service. ANZSOG’s 2019 report highlights the need for new skills to innovate. Qualitative data from our 2019 research of over 60 public servants showed that successful innovative project teams were given the necessary autonomy, support, and resources to try new things.
The academic literature also stresses the role of people empowerment in innovation. In particular, empowered individuals are pointed out as crucial for the success of the different stages of policy innovation (i.e. ‘idea generation, idea selection, idea testing, idea scaling-up and idea diffusion’).
With all the will and skill in the world - without enabling systems - innovation will remain on the fringes and bottleneck. This aligns with the research sentiment that rules and processes, including funding, both mitigate risks and enable innovation, thus we need to know how people perceive rules and processes. DIA’s System Settings Changes report from 2017 explores the systemic barriers and changes necessary to enable a digital transformation of government.
The findings are equally important to an innovation transformation. Systems around technology and its growing role plays a foundational role i n governments’ ability to innovate. The NZ Digital Strategy wants the public service to have ‘ compatible digital systems, interoperable data systems. We need the systems of learning (Evaluation), of utilising technology (role of technology), and of adaptability to allow better ways of working to spread.
The SubStocks for Outputs - the examples of innovative projects - directly aligns with the Nordic Innovation Barometer types of Innovation. These are Service, Process, Product, Communication.
They have been adopted by four other Nordic countries making international comparison possible.
One core reason being it improves the comparability of data between countries and aligns with the Copenhagen Manual, new international guidelines for measuring innovation in the public sector, which the NZ Barometer team have been involved in co-creating.’
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