Leading Innovation in Local Councils Joan Munro

Innovation in
Local Councils
Joan Munro
11th June 2012
Research context
Research on innovation mostly:
in private sector
about producing new products
from USA
Public sector innovation research mainly
based on good practice case studies
Little research on top leadership impact on
Some on organisational context for innovation
Innovation in local
Innovations can be changes to:
 Ambitions/Philosophy
 Services/service delivery processes
 Organisational structures/boundaries
 Democratic arrangements
 Ways communicate with & involve citizens
Deliver value for service users &/or citizens:
add ‘Public value’ or ‘Social good’
Accelerating Innovation in
Local Government Research
Key Aims
 Identify what chief executives can do to encourage
 Promote this learning to local councils.
 Contribute to research evidence on innovation in
public services.
 Building on NESTA’s Everyday Innovation research
 Discussion with group of 8 Chief Executives July 2011
 Interviewed 12 leading Chief Executives from larger
authorities, July to December 2011
 Between April to October 2012 testing Framework in
councils including focus groups with employees
Key findings so far
 Political
considerations & politicians’
attitudes to innovation & risk taking key
 Many innovations adaptations from other
 Leading chief executives interviewed
taking many of the actions that
encourage innovation
 Few have explicit & comprehensive
approach to encouraging innovation
More could benefit if:
 Agree
key long term priority areas for
major innovations
 Use design thinking to better understand
residents’/service users’ lives & aspirations
 Develop/obtain expertise in innovation
processes & latest new technologies
 Don’t expect private sector
commissioning/partnerships to
automatically produce innovation
 Work:
Across services internally
With public/voluntary sector partners &
‘funky people’
Local Councils’ Innovation
Leadership for High
Performance Ipsos Mori(2006)
 Clear
 Passion, energy,
 Communicate
 Delegate
 People-orientated
 Positive culture
 Accept some risk
 Invest
in people
 Recognise &
reward good work
 Involve –
 Focus on delivery
What’s different?
 Greater
focus on understanding residents’ &
service users’ lives & aspirations
 United top team
 Recruiting & retaining people with fresh
perspectives, &/or drive for innovation
 Cross boundary working
 Search for new ideas from abroad/other sectors
 Innovation strategies & processes
 Maximizing use of new technology
 Programme & project management
Clear political priorities
for innovation
Culture for
Effective delivery
It is important to let customers drive
innovation. Are our services still
relevant to the changing needs of
the public? Are we sufficiently
paranoid, or are we just carrying
on doing what we decided on
doing three years ago?
Barry Quirk, LB Lewisham
What is a bright idea depends on
the context. You can have all sorts
of bright ideas, but it is never going
to happen because you don’t
recognise the barriers or you don’t
chime with the aspirations with other
players you are not going to get
Will Tuckley, LB Bexley.
People have different models of
leadership: Nelson Mandela,
Mahatma Gandhi, Winston
Churchill or Rudy Giuliani in 9/11.
The picture I put up is Alan
Titchmarsh. It’s about nurturing
and sticking with things.
Bruce McDonald, LB Kingston upon
The key thing is having a really clear
idea about what you are trying to do;
have absolute clarity. It is essential to
have the support of the majority of
people: residents, staff, partners and,
especially, local politicians.
Amanda Skelton, Redcar and
We are shaping the local
government of the future, not
of the past and we are doing
it with a relentless focus on
more efficient outcomes for
our residents. We are doing
things that people couldn’t
have imagined previously.
Martin Swales, South Tyneside
Framework & other materials available at:
 Chief
executives’ self assessment questions
 Frontline staff focus groups formats
 Contact details:
Tel: 0779 2952 498