Society has changed, what about the public sector ? Why does the public sector need innovation ? How to reinvent not only the services delivered but also the way they are designed ?
The AER plenary meeting in Hampshire was an opportunity to look at how regions have drastically changed the way they were working in order to improve cost efficiency, provide effective leadership and manage social integration and change.
This has led a region like Norrbotten (SE) to focus on the digitalisation of services, with a purpose to get government “disruptive, flat, dynamic, responsive, advanced and social”.
Digitalisation brought about not only new ways of accessing services but also a redistribution of roles and responsabilities. Change will largely depend on the ability of governments to channel power, delegates heard at the seminar on innovation in the public sector.
Hampshire County Council (UK) invested in top talent while reducing costs by sharing resources, sharing staff and sharing fuding, allowing the County Council to adress dramatic cuts in budget with a sustainable and ambitious transformation strategy.
While circumstances often seem to be a trigger for innovation, there is no clear cut evidence that necessity is the mother of inventions. On the contrary, Prof Gerry Stoker explained: some level of optimism is needed to engage into change. Similarly key aspects like participation, design-thinking and co-creation require a long term approach. They develop in an environment of trust and mutual interest, which canot be improvised to answer a crisis.
This was evidenced as well by the study visit to Boldrewood Innovation Campus at the University of Southampton, a £140m investment in new buildings and facilities, focusing on automated engines and the result of a successful partnership between the academic world and the private sector.
“Learning together is key for the deployment of innovative solutions, we heard it over and over and this is what AER is about: bringing the people together to increase knowledge and experience sharing for better policy making and efective lobbying” says Dr Hande Özsan Bozatli.
In fine the reason for reinventing the public service is the urge to provide citizens with added value, in a way, which corresponds to their usages.
All the presentations can be found on the event’s page.