Background to Public Sector Innovation Project

Public Sector Innovation Project

The Secretaries Board of the Australian Public Service (APS) approved an APS 200 project on public sector innovation as part of implementation of recommendations from Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Service

The APS 200 Project on Public Sector Innovation was sponsored by Mark Paterson, former Secretary of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

The aim of the project was to make the APS more innovative in its practices as outlined in the recommendations of the 2010 report Empowering Change. The objectives were:

  • To develop a more open and collaborative approach to public policy and administration in the APS
  • To integrate innovation into APS work in a more strategic and systematic way
  • To develop and apply the right skill sets to facilitate innovative approaches within the APS
  • To share, recognise and reward innovation in the APS, both to increase learning and to develop a more innovative culture.

The Committee managing the APS 200 Project on Public Sector Innovation comprised of:

The APS 200 project on Public Sector Innovation finalised in April 2011 reported to the Secretaries Board with recommendations on the key areas for action for agencies, including leadership, openness, procurement and strategy. The report recognised that innovation is a long range, fundamental changing of practice and culture in the APS and produced several deliverables including the APS Innovation Action Plan, APS Innovation Toolkit and the Innovation Showcase.

Management Advisory Committee Project

In 2009, the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research led a cross-agency project to investigate how to advance innovation within and by the public sector under the auspices of the Management Advisory Committee.

The cross agency project arose from review of the National Innovation System and the Australian Government’s response to it – Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century. The 2008 report on the Review of the National Innovation System Venturous Australia – building strength in innovation made a number of recommendations relating to public sector innovation. In May 2009 Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century was released by the Australian Government and advised that the Australian Public Service Management Advisory Committee (MAC) was examining the recommendations, and the capacity of the public sector to implement them.

The project was overseen by a Steering Committee comprising representatives of the Department of Innovation, the Australian Public Service Commission, the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, CSIRO, the Department of Finance and Deregulation, the Department of Health and Ageing, and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

In August 2009 a discussion paper for the project on public sector innovation was released including a call for submissions. Seventy-eight submissions were received. The discussion paper is available for download.

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