Headlines: August 7th, 2008

The National School of Government has set up an Innovation Hub to develop know-how on stimulating and supporting innovation in government and the public services. The hub is one of a range of initiatives flowing from the ‘Innovation Nation’ White Paper which describes the ambition to make Britain the best country in the world to run an innovative business, public service and third sector organisation.

The Innovation Hub will help find more innovative ways of addressing the big-cross-cutting challenges like social care and climate change by building bridges between those in public services and in Whitehall who want to make a difference.

By providing a focal point for public innovation the hub will play a galvanising role in developing the channels and behaviours in government that will support the flow of innovative practices across Whitehall and locally. It will create new partnership of organisations “to capture and disseminate learning about public sector innovation”.

The Hub will fulfil its role by carrying out research and consultancy, network formation and active learning events for departmental leaders, developing corporate mechanisms that will help incentivise innovation, and looking to international government interventions that seek to support more innovative government. The National School will work with the Hub to build capacity to deliver more imaginative and integrated approaches to public service leadership and system innovation.

The Government is committed to driving innovation in public services, through allocating resources and structuring incentives. Major forces such as attitudes to risk, budgeting, audit, performance measurement and recruitment must be aligned to support innovation. Together, and with effective leadership, these will progressively overcome existing cultural and incentive barriers.

The Hub comes with a call for those responsible for public service delivery to learn the lessons of open innovation and adopt innovative solutions from the private and third sectors.

Other initiatives from the White Paper include a public services innovation laboratory, trialing new methods for uncovering, stimulating, and incubating the most radical and compelling innovations in public services, a network of Whitehall innovators to demonstrate commitment at a senior level of Government and an innovation-enabling programme for practitioners in the public sector, along the lines of the existing private sector model.