What is innovation?

Innovation brings something new. Something new that changes things for the better. For example, a new or improved product, with better useability, or a new solution to a recognized problem in government. To implement improvements using innovations is a challenge – it requires knowing precisely what is to be changed, the problem, and wanting to change it by going to the root of the issue. 

An idea developed through problem solving can be called an innovation when it has been implemented, can be used and is efficient. Most important – it must solve the problem.

kas ir inovācija?

Is it an innovation?

The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) sees public sector innovation as a ‘many-splendoured’ thing. Innovation has many ‘facets’ or aspects, each of which can look quite different and can involve very different things with differing aims. OPSI has identified four facets:

uz misiju orientētas
Mission-oriented innovation is about asking “How might we achieve X?”, with X ranging from the world-changing (going to the moon) to the significant but relatively contained (ensuring better services). It starts with a driving ambition to achieve an articulated goal, though the specifics of how it might be done are still unclear or are not set in stone.
Enhancement-oriented innovation often starts with the question of “How might we do X better?” It is not about questioning what is being done, but rather how it is done and whether it can be done differently, and hopefully better.
Adaptive innovation starts with the question “How might our evolved situation change how we do X?” Adaptive innovation is essentially about a realisation that things are happening that don’t fit with what is expected.
Anticipatory innovation starts with the question of “How might emerging possibilities fundamentally change what X could or should be?”, with X being the relevant government response or activity. Anticipatory innovation is essentially about recognising and engaging with significant uncertainty about not only what works, but also what is appropriate or possible.

Best practices show that it is best to follow the so-called portfolio approach or to use all the aforementioned directions. More on public sector innovation here.