Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Service

The Australian Public Service (APS) Management Advisory Committee (MAC) last year commissioned a report on public sector innovation and what could be done to encourage innovation in the APS.

That report, Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Service, has now been released.

The report looks at the innovation ‘state of play’ in Australia and overseas, and is accompanied by an annex report which looks at public sector innovation in Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the UK.

Empowering Change identifies and considers many of the barriers that public servants face when innovating. It looks at sources of innovation and those who can help design, implement and deliver it. It outlines what agencies, teams, and individuals can do to foster innovation.

This report, along with other related reports and reforms happening in the Australian Government, makes a clear case for innovation. It recognises that changes need to occur to help innovation in the public sector. Twelve recommendations are proposed around the following five themes:
• Strategy and culture
• Leadership
• Systemic/structural issues
• Resourcing and managing innovation in the APS
• Recognition, sharing, learning

These will be addressed by individual APS agencies, and by the APS as part of the broader reform effort outlined in Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration.

As noted in the report by the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Terry Moran, the MAC commends the report to all our colleagues throughout the public sector, including those in other countries. We hope that this resource may be of interest and is a helpful contribution to any interested in public sector innovation. We recognise that this does not have all the answers, but we think that it will be a major step in achieving a public sector where innovation is expected and welcomed.

Alex Roberts
Government Innovation Policy Team
Innovation Division
Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Australian Government

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steve davies

Great to see this finally released.

The report made the front page of the Canberra Times and the article included the following quote from Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Terry Moran, “Barriers to innovation must be identified and overcome at all levels. The red tape and ‘siloed’ thinking of the past have no place in the high performing APS our citizens expect and deserve.”

A call to action for public servants and, indeed, citizens.