Where does government innovation come from? In the United States there are examples like DARPA's collaboration with universities and the private industry, and the CIA's In-Q-Tel private sector partnership. In Denmark, there is MindLab, a private-public enterprise not existing within one department but expanding throughout multiple organizations which acts as something of an innovation special-op. A cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society, they are of the system, but act outside it.
"We have a loyalty and respect for the way system works, on the we also have a mandate to challenge it and to ask the tricky questions."
This is a quote from Christian Bason's interview with the DorobekINSIDER. Bason is the Director of Innovation at MindLab, head of their team of uniquely skilled problem solvers. They are an organization with an annual budget and consider themselves colleagues of the government rather than contractors. Bason and his team deploy on a case-to-case basis, mapping out how improved quality of government products can be achieved, then moving out to let implementation take place. Bason explains how his group defines success, despite their broad charge:
Bason explains some of his success to his team's ability to ask the right questions, and set the right objectives. In his latest book, Leading Public Sector Innovation: Co-creating for a Better Society, he says that there are certain keys for successful innovation in the public sector:
having awareness of innovation as a process in its own right
identifying capabilities and competencies
asking the right questions
appropriately harnessing leadership
Bason says that in America specifically there is a certain perception that technology has the potential to be a government fix-all. Bason cautions that in addition to responsible use of technology, there must be attention given to bettering the government systems behind the technology. If technology is only masking problems, this is not a real solution.
The future of government innovation is about changing the perception of what is possible, and making sure you are working toward proper changes.
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