Public Sector Innovation

The Australian Public Service Commissioner Steve Sedgwick launched the APS Innovation Action Plan on 29 June 2011.

As part of embedding innovation in the Australian Public Service, Secretaries from across the service have signed the APS Innovation Action Plan as a demonstration of their commitment to fostering innovation in the Australian Public Service.

The Plan acknowledges that harnessing the innovative potential of the Service and the wider citizenry is critical to successfully delivering better outcomes, and it sets out principles and a structure to achieve this. The Action Plan provides the APS with a framework for embedding innovation in its work and for achieving better outcomes.

Divided into the key areas of Consciousness, Capacity, Co-creation and Courage, the Plan outlines initiatives to support the APS to achieve against its innovation goals.

The Plan is a key deliverable from the APS200 Project on Public Sector Innovation as part of implementation of recommendations from Empowering Change: Fostering innovation in the Australian Public Service.

Empowering Change

The report Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Service (2010) by the Australian Public Service Management Advisory Committee looked at the 'state of play' of innovation in the Australian Public Service. The report identifies

  • Barriers that Australian public servants face when innovating
  • Sources of innovation
  • Those who can help design, implement and deliver innovation
  • What agencies, team, and individuals can do to foster innovation.

The report makes twelve recommendations around the following five themes:

  • Strategy and culture
  • Leadership
  • Systemic/structural issues
  • Resourcing and managing innovation in the Australian Public Service
  • Recognition, sharing and learning.

Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Service

Annex 1: Assessing Policy, Programs and Other Initiatives to Promote Innovation in the Public Sector: International Case Studies

Public Sector Innovation Toolkit and Blog

The Public Sector Innovation Toolkit is an online resource designed to support innovation in the APS and it delivers on a recommendation of Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Public Service. The Toolkit houses practical tools and information to help public servants harness and embed innovation into their work. The Toolkit provides an avenue for APS staff and innovation experts to contribute to build a living body of knowledge.

The Toolkit has a diagnostic feature to enable users to quickly ascertain the areas that their workplace could work on to foster innovation. The diagnostic tool helps practitioners identify strengths and weaknesses in their own context, as well as materials and case studies to assist them in applying innovative solutions.

The Toolkit includes case studies and examples of innovation and Gov 2.0 initiatives implemented by the public sector in Australia. The Innovation Showcase part of the website enables government agencies and departments to share examples of innovation and consider how innovative practice may be applied in their context to achieve better outcomes. The Showcase highlights examples of innovation in action, and a descriptive narrative about how the innovation was implemented.

Australian public sector agencies are invited to provide examples of innovation from their experience.

The Toolkit is a living resource, and will continue to be developed as the ingredients for successful innovation in the public sector are better understood.

The Toolkit also includes a blog for discussion of issues relating to public sector innovation and can be accessed through the Public Sector Innovation Toolkit.

Join the Public Sector Innovation Network

The department has drawn together a network of public sector innovation practitioners and those interested in innovation at the Australian, State and Territory, and Local Government levels. Further information about the network is available from the Innovation Toolkit.

Australian Public Sector Innovation Indicators (APSII) Project

An initiative endorsed by the APS 200 Project on Public Sector Innovation is the Australian Public Sector Innovation Indicators (APSII) Project. The APSII project is being led by the department to develop a series of Australian Public Sector Innovation Indicators to report on innovation performance by public agencies.

The APSII has designed and conducted a survey of innovation in the Australian public sector to build a set of innovation indicators. The outcomes of the project will help to better understand the extent of innovation capability in the Australian public sector and to equip agencies with the information they need to assess their own innovation capabilities. Information on the first survey can be found below.

More Information on Public Sector Innovation

If you would like to know more about the background of the department's work on public sector innovation or and resources on public sector innovation


For enquiries regarding this work, please email the department of Innovation. You can also follow the department's work on public sector innovation through the Twitter account @PSInnovate.

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