Civil Service Live: Innovation & Learning

I’m in the Amyas Morse session on innovation and learning. The Comptroller and Auditor General says the challenges that we face are in innovation and the need to find new ways to work more effectively with fewer staff and a broader range of skills.

11:35 Bright ideas are no good unless implemented effectively. This doesn’t mean bureaucratising those ideas, but rather facilitating their articulation, and supporting their development in departments. Thus far, most innovation seems to have come from the top levels within the department. But there is untapped potential to tap the ideas and suppliers on the front line.

11:42 Leaders could act as greater role models. Silo structures prevent learning and knowledge is not optimally shared. Networks of people were the most effective way of spreading learning. Processes at centre of government are good at collecting information and knowledge but not good at disseminating it.

[JJ's note:this is where social media can help]

Anyam Morse at #cslive09

11:45 Sometimes innovation gets talked about as if it’s always a good thing, not as something that needs to benefit performance.

[JJ's note: I guess this depends on whether the metrics used to measure performance are appropriate.]

11:47 Unstructured experimentation is not what we need.  It requires priorities for investment.  Innovation and learning are more likely to be developed in a structured environment.

11:48 Most innovation comes from the top. The best source of untapped potential is on front line and in terms of suppliers.

[JJ's note: if most innovation comes from the top then either leaders are claiming credit for ideas or they are not adequate leaders, because they are not facilitating contributions. ]

11:50 A structured and planned environment can scale innovation and learning more succesfully than unstructured environments. Scalability necessary for benefits across civil service to be applied.

11:55 We expect that when something goes wrong that we learn from it, and that projects are stopped if they are not delivering.

11:58 We need to establish just how much risk we can bear.  Have to have some risk, but have to have limits.  Need to find ways of measuring risk consistently.  We don’t have sufficient measures in place either for assessing the risk of a project or for understanding how much risk can be borne by departments/employers/projects.  Risk is probably the wrong word, really. The word we should be using is probability.  We need to ensure the probability of success or at least the minimisation of failure is able to be measured.

This entry was posted in Civil Service Live, Events and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.