Abstracts: January 19th, 2004

This working paper by the Strategy Unit, in the Cabinet Office, sets out a framework for thinking and action by public sector organisations in promoting successful innovation, and its implementation. It argues that innovation, new ideas that work, should be a core activity of the public sector because it helps public services to improve performance and increase public value, to respond to the expectations of citizens and adapt to the needs of users. It also increases service efficiency and minimize costs. Barriers to innovation include a culture of risk aversion, and a focus on short-term delivery pressures.The paper looks at how innovations originate from minor incremental changes such as using technology for processes, through radical change, such as SureStart to transformational change such as a primary care led NHS. It urges public bodies to develop a dissident culture in which organisational rulebreaking is encouraged and managed. Innovation means breaking rules and new discoveries often depend on suspending logic.

The Strategy Unit would welcome comments on the paper. Case studies from both the UK and other countries, together with details of relevant research and networks would also be welcome. Responses should go to David Albury, suinnovation@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk