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Innovation in the public sector

Our rapidly changing society and its complex social problems require an ever more flexible and intelligent government. A government that is capable of rapid modernisation and, in so doing, of generating public value.

In addition, modernisation is no longer the preserve of individual government bodies, but increasingly the concern of networks, in which alongside the government, civil society institutions, private companies and citizens themselves participate. This trend for innovation in networks raises all kinds of questions about future government, as well as the transition process that will get us there. How will principles of good governance be safeguarded in public value networks? How will checks and balances be guaranteed? Which factors foster government innovation? And, what are the barriers to innovation in the public sector?

Open innovation

In the private sector a clear transition is evident from traditional innovation models to new, open innovation models. This shift from conventional innovation paradigms is also becoming apparent in the public sector. In the United States, for example, there are now initiatives in which citizens and government bodies jointly, and in an interactive manner, are designing new laws and developing public services. These participatory innovatory models offer new opportunities to get citizens involved in matters of public interest. TNO has a wealth of expertise in the field of open innovation, in both the public and private sectors. For example, TNO is developing new, open models of government innovation as well as instruments for monitoring open innovation.

Factors that influence

Various studies indicate that the public sector in the Netherlands has limited innovation capacity. Although investment is being made in government innovation, in general the results are disappointing (see, for example, the Social Sectors campaign by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and OECD reports). TNO conducts evaluation studies of government innovation in all sorts of sectors, has a great deal of practical knowledge of government innovation, and has developed all sorts of models designed to expose the barriers, drivers and impact of innovation in the public sector.

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