This report looks at the challenges and opportunities facing public service innovation in Wales.
- Build closer links between university researchers and public service practitioners.
- Develop the next generation of leaders who value and understand innovation.
- Harness the resources and capabilities within civil society and the private sector to support innovation.
- Match the commitment to innovate with the right resources and incentives – for example, by creating innovation budgets and running national challenge prizes.
This short review takes the temperature of public innovation in Wales and draws out some issues and opportunities for innovators, funders and policymakers to consider.
Welsh public services have a strong track record of public innovation, but this often takes place in small pockets, not at scale. As a small country with clear values and a public service cluster at its heart, Wales is well-positioned to make huge leaps in public innovation.
It is a joint project between Nesta and the Wales Public services 2025 Programme, based at Cardiff Business School, with the emphasis firmly on looking forward. It is based on 12 case studies of promising Welsh innovations, a review of existing literature, face-to-face interviews with around 50 practitioners, policymakers and academics, together with a series of three workshops held around Wales.
The review highlights a number of examples of leading-edge public innovation in Wales over the last ten years, but it does not pretend to be a comprehensive catalogue – there will be important high potential projects which we have not been able to explore.
There is also a companion study, Weathering the Storm, from Wales Public services 2025 looking at how other small nations are dealing with the current pressures.
Matthew Gatehouse and Adam Price