We can define innovation as coming up with new ideas and applying them and it is a key element in government modernization and transformation initiatives. Therefore, Current habits in the government sector must include more innovation to enable governments to become more flexible, structured and technologically empowered. Government practices and policies should adopt innovation as a continuous mechanism. On the other hand, The orientations of the innovation mechanism are affected by the different government agencies, their capabilities and the prevailing culture in them, as well as external influences that either hinder the mechanism or push it forward.
Innovations in government work are achieved according to several methods and levels, including:
1. Innovation in services: Providing new and improved services
2. Innovation in service delivery: Introducing a new or different way of providing the service
3. Administrative or organizational innovation: New mechanism facilitates access to the service
4. Conceptual innovation: A new way of looking at challenges and challenging current assumptions
5. Policy Innovation: Change in the way policies are prepared
6. Inclusive Innovation: A new and developed method for dealing and interacting with the various government departments with stakeholders
There are plenty of inspiring examples of government innovation. Wired magazine declared Estonian society to be the most digitally advanced in the world. This is thanks to the Estonian government's investment over the past two decades in IT solutions starting with e-governance in 1997, e-tax in 2000, public safety in 2007, digital transactions and e-healthcare in 2008 and e-residence visas in 2014. Access to digital Estonia has not been without trials and errors and learning from them to make Estonia a secure electronic state that offers automatic electronic services available around the day and the clock.
In Portugal, The government introduced the SIMPLEX participatory innovation platform in 2006. This platform calls on all government entities to simplify their mechanisms and achieve measurable results on an annual basis. Every year, Various government entities propose government initiatives to simplify procedures and mechanisms and set a deadline for their implementation. SIMPLEX receives ideas and suggestions from government employees directly through the "Simplex Ideas Award" as well as proposals submitted by community members, companies and institutions that contribute to the public consultation. This platform thus contributed to putting Portugal on the right path towards modernization and innovation.
In Boston, The government has taken an additional step to involve community members in the day-to-day running of the city. The "Boston Youth Budget" initiative included allocating one million US dollars from the government budget for young people (online) to manage and spend on the development of the city. Such projects create a sense of community participation and establish a sense of belonging. It also opens the door to a lot of creative and innovative ideas that make the city more livable.
There are hundreds of examples of advanced thinking and innovation in government. While technology enables many of these initiatives, they are not as grounded in them as in the old e-government initiatives. Today, Governments around the world follow a different pattern of public value creation, making them innovators in every sense of the word.
Cultivate a culture of innovation
Government entities can innovate in isolation. However, innovation at the level of government as a whole brings efficiency gains and opens the door to the exchange of knowledge and best practices that can be replicated across the entire sector. To create a similar environment, The essential factors for success must be in place.
Integrated strategic thinking. Strategic planning is an essential part of government sector operations, Innovation must be placed as a clear priority on the government's strategic agenda. Besides the drive for innovation at various levels of government, Each government entity should prepare detailed strategic plans that include strategies to identify and implement innovative options and solutions.
Information flow. The free flow of information supports the mechanism of government innovation, highlighting the importance of transparency in the preparation and implementation of government policies as an important element in achieving innovation in government work.
Risk management. Political risk is an essential feature of the government environment and its management is very important in facilitating the innovation process, especially if it is large-scale and the associated risks are very large. Decision-makers should be kept up-to-date on the degree of risk and potential benefits of an innovation. That is, risks of different types and strategies to reduce them must be identified in advance.
Leadership. Leaders must promote and support innovation within their organizations to foster a culture of innovation. Leaders should also develop strategies to deal with challenges related to resistance to change by involving individuals in decision-making. This requires leaders to have the skills to facilitate innovation and understand all the potential risks associated with collective thinking.
Modern technologies. New technologies are changing the way they communicate and interact with companies and governments, raising the expectations of community members about their inclusion and access to services. To meet the expectations of individuals whose expectations are rising day by day and to realize the value of stakeholder engagement, Government sector entities should adopt Government 4.0 tools and methodologies in a timely manner.
There is no doubt that innovation is an important factor in the success of future governments. But creating a culture of sharing innovations is critical for governments to become more flexible and responsive.