For answering to the present-day challenges and to proactively prepare the future of the public sector, we need a rigorous and robust knowledge about its real existing practices of innovation, taking into consideration, from the outset, the specific nature of the public sector’ mission and values. Besides producing a diagnosis based on sound evidence, the experimental project «InovX: Innovation Panel for Public Sector» developed a prototype of a tool for monitoring the innovation strategies of public organizations, a tool which must be adapted and applicable to the particular context of the Portuguese public sector. Given its experimental nature, this project has profited to accumulate a vast set of learnings in a short period of time and acted as a safe space to illustrate its potentialities before any implementation.
This experimental project benefited from the collaborative work with an research centre with large experience in this field (CIPES) and with the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI).
This experimental project had three main goals:
- Updated, systematized and relevant empirical evidence: it is critical the access to trustworthy and robust data about public sector performance, namely about the innovation strategies being adopted.
- Adaptation to the particular context of the Portuguese public sector: it was important to ensure that this project is not dependent neither from a direct and mechanical transposition of the innovation measurement associated with private sector, nor from exercises conducted in other national realities, where the State paradigms are quite distinct. The project has this concern without setting aside the potential for upcoming comparative exercises and, instead, keeping open a dialogue with other initiatives – such as the co-creation process around the «Copenhagen Manual», which we attentively follow.
- Developing a user-centric and actionable solution: we started from the needs identified amidst the potential users, so we can offer an accessible, understandable and usable version of the tool to be produced. Following this idea, we wanted to obtain an actionable and relevant instrument for the sake of the needs felt by its users, such as public managers, experts and other relevant actors, when dealing with the definition of innovation strategies for public organizations.
The project presented three main results, even when it is designed to be inscribed in an ongoing iterative process for incremental improvement:
- Diagnosis with updated data from the terrain: characterization of a representative sample of Public Sector organizations (92 public organizations, all administrative levels, 16 Government Areas).
- Use cases databank: collection of use cases comprised of the highest impacting innovations introduced during the last two years by the public organizations that participated in this project.
- Tool for evidence-based decision-making: this project not only enabled the creation of a descriptive representation for each individual public organizations (using indicators to give a clear picture of its situation and its relative position within the public sector metrics), but it also enabled the construction of a navigation panel with an interactive nature (dashboard format), which can be further developed in the next stages to become a decision board. Through this navigation panel, each public organization can manage in real time its innovation strategies, giving them customizable options we are still developing, and that gives them the chance to choose the visualization mode that suits them better for their current needs.