Public Sector Newsletter
May 2017

Embracing Innovation in Government: 2017 Trends

Since 2014, the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI), an OECD Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development (GOV) initiative, has been working to identify the key issues for innovation in government and what can be done to achieve greater impact. It has partnered with the MBRCGI in the United Arab Emirates to collate case studies of innovation from governments in more than 100 countries.

You can read and learn from those stories in the full report, which outlines some key factors that every government body must understand in order to unlock innovation, along with some vital recommendations for success. It is interesting to note, however, what an important determining factor technology is playing.

However, it is the six key trends that prove most interesting – and provide a lever – for innovation across UK Government departments. Each of which can and are already being supported by advanced analytics capabilities. Here’s a quick look at those trends and how SAS can transform them from trend into a reality.

Trend 1. Pairing human and machine
With more and more data being generated, and the voice of citizens available to support policy development, it’s now easier than ever to combine multiple sources of intelligence. A great exemplar is Greater Jakarta, which has developed an IoT-based flood warning system that, with inputs from citizens via social media, maps flood risk on a near real-time basis. SAS is built for the big data era with the ability to take multiple sources of data – structured and unstructured – and derive new tools, insights and capabilities.

Trend 2. Zoom in or zoom out: scaling government Many
Governments are looking at novel ways to scale up innovations once they have demonstrated value. Mexico City government for instance, used gamification to get citizens to map its entire bus route system! One of the key reasons that government bodies work with SAS is because our solutions can model highly complex problems and uncover new angles to solutions in a fraction of the time of in-house models and other vendors.

Trend 3. Citizens as experts: redefining citizen-government boundaries
The most innovative governments engage with citizens at every stage of the policy cycle, so that citizens are seen as partners who shape services and policy. SAS can help to build evaluation into your innovation process by building models to thoroughly test outcomes.

Trend 4. Mass or personalised services: the next generation of service delivery
Governments are realising that citizens should not be obligated to know their inner workings in order to access the services they need. Therefore, innovation is focusing more and more on transparent, personalised service delivery.

SAS has developed uniquely deep insights tools that predict the needs of service users and help to craft uniquely personalised services – something that our new Customer Intelligence capability delivers.

Trend 5. Experimental government: small bets with big potential
Governments must accept that there is no such thing as risk-free innovation, experimentation and learning by iteration are key. The report recommends that departments should test and validate new ideas and solutions at a manageable scale before disseminating and scaling-up successful experiments to minimise costs. In its research, the OECD found these commonalities:

  • Governments are engaging in behavioural insights experiments to inform new approaches to services
  • Some countries are building policies to foster national-level experiments
  • Experimentation is used as a way to test emerging technologies

SAS supports experimentation, with models that can be developed in hours rather than weeks, repeatability built in and capabilities such as next best actions.

Trend 6. Breaking the norms: rethinking the machinery of government
Some of the most forward-thinking Governments are working to build a workforce of innovators through cross-government networks and a focus on skills. They are also creating innovation funds to promote innovation from within, alongside fresh approaches to procurement that support bringing innovation in from other sectors. SAS can support this objective with solutions that enable smart, simple inter-departmental collaboration, and it can support your transformation by placing our own experts, who come to you with years of cross-sector expertise, on site to work with your analysts and data scientists.

We highly recommend that you review this report – it’s a great read, packed with inspiring and creative ideas that are making citizens lives better the world over and governments far more efficient.