Response to Innovation in Policy paper
A few weeks ago, we published the provocation paper Innovation in Policy in collaboration with MindLab, an innovation agency working within the Danish Government. This paper intended to stimulate debate and dialogue about the challenges involved in developing a culture of innovation within government, and how decision-making can better deal with uncertainty and complexity in social policy.
It explores the question: are our public institutions, our ways of exercising authority and our dominant ideas of the social contract between the citizen and the state serving the purposes we want them to serve?
The paper is itself a product of open and ongoing dialogue between public decision makers, researchers, practitioners and others involved in rethinking public governance. In an expert seminar in Copenhagen, Bryan Boyer from Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, shared his reflections on the challenges facing the public sector:
"Increasingly the cost of interacting with institutions is so high that citizens prefer to accept the costs of self-organization or the risks of using services from private or third sectors. As our culture changes, the public sector will continue to find itself subject to competition in ways that it's not used to. We must internalize this to our core.
But let me rephrase this more bluntly.
When a city builds a digital service, their competition is not other city websites. They are competing against Facebook.
When a ministry develops a service their competition are 3rd parties who act as sherpas, providing better service for a minimal fee with far less hassle.
When an agency provides guidelines, their competition is against the top search result in Google.
When I suggest that the public sector will find itself competing, do not mistake what I'm saying as a suggestion of neo-liberalization.
Rather, this new competitive landscape helps us understand democracy as an old technology, one that's surely not obsolete but showing its wear and tear - as a technology that's in need of a tune-up. And I use the language of tune-up specifically because it's practical, implies banging on things, making small tweaks over long periods of time."
Read Bryan's blog on MindLab's website.