Innovation in Government: Collaborating

Collaborating and Innovating within governmentSharing and collaborating are part of innovating within and between government departments in the public sector.  There are many initiatives around innovation going on at the moment; however, each department is starting from different points and has differing ideas on what innovation is, as they should. The size and mandate of each department and each minister as well as culture determines the type and level of innovation best suited for each organization.

 

Efforts are being made in increasing collaboration on innovation between departments, with initiatives such as innovation fairs, where speakers from a number of departments discuss the progress they have made.  There are also reports on efforts and progress each department has made in the past year.  This is a phenomenal start and there is room to increase the level of innovation collaboration even more.

 

How can we increase collaboration around innovation further?

To increase sharing and collaboration further we would recommend short-term working groups for common challenges. Bringing people from a number of departments together to discuss common problems and identify solutions. Ideally solutions can be relevant and used in all the departments participating in the discussions; if not, it gives differing perspectives on how to resolve common challenges.  We get used to thinking in the same frameworks and constructs in time constrained environments – it becomes difficult to look outside of our own arenas for alternatives.  These working groups would have short life spans to encourage faster action and allow members to focus on executing in their own organizations.   Planning needs to go into creating an environment where these groups can be effective with condensed timelines and that means changing the way working groups work.

 

Collaborating on challenges with differing perspectives creates sparks that weren’t there before.  This is also an opportunity to learn from other’s mistakes and successes; see what has worked and hasn’t worked. If we look at what has made the most innovative companies successful, it is collaborating and looking outside of their boxes. Apple’s initial innovative differentiators were the mouse and graphical user interfaces (GUIs) which Steve Jobs saw in other organizations and made them better. The government has opportunities to do the same with its own departments. Take innovations being worked on in other departments and make them even better or collaborate on solutions to common problems.  The key to these is to execute quickly.

 

To find out more about collaboration and setting up environments where challenges can be worked on for rapid execution contact Spring2 Innovation.