Innovation themes


What does great innovation look like?

Here are six themes of innovation that keep coming up in discussions we’ve held across the public service. These themes are all about people: what holds us back, and what we can do to help make innovation thrive.





who enable and reward

Too often, innovation is stifled by leaders who don't value or support it.

We need leaders who understand, value and reward innovation and those who deliver it.  



who are confident and empowered

We need to create space for our people to reflect, think and test their ideas, to give them a real chance to develop.  






Pockets of good practice exist across the public sector but, as a rule, we don't encourage our people to constantly search for better ways of doing things, to learn and adapt as we go, and to ponder the 'what if?'.

We need more opportunities to build skills and perspectives, to recognise and tap into our diversity and latent talents, and to broaden our perspectives as we work.  



with each other

Our silos serve some needs and stifle others. Our 'vertical' structures around departments or portfolios can hold us back in sharing our ideas, experiences and knowledge across government.

We need more ‘horizontal’ structures to connect and share so that people working on similar problems can find each other, avoid known mistakes, and join heads around similar solutions.  



with the community and others

We need more opportunities to partner collaboratively. Engaging to enrich our understanding of the problem enables a more agile and open way of working with others.  





value to people

Having the goal of improving people's lives and working closely with them is not enough.

Starting with what the community wants, we need a strong focus on outcomes and meaningful ways to measure and assess public value. Part of this is also practising what we preach.  


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