Licence to innovate: How government can reward risk

Released February 2016

Less than half of policy professionals in Ontario's Public Service feel innovation is valued in their work. However, enhancing innovation in policy design, processes, and implementation can build more effective and efficient public services. In Working Paper 24, Licence to innovate, the Institute reviews and compares innovation in the government of Ontario and abroad.

Government’s failure to innovate today means less effective and less efficient public services tomorrow. Based on comparative case studies, the Institute recommends the government of Ontario:

  • Integrate innovation to counter the risk-averse culture. Building innovation into core government activities signals that it is desirable and acceptable.
  • Revise funding frameworks and apply behavioural insights to boost policy design. Adopting a mission-driven approach and testing behavioural models fosters collaboration and enhances innovation.
  • Advance human resources and modify engagement to strengthen the policy process. Upgrading the human capital of Ontario’s Public Service as well as genuine public engagement builds internal capacity and fosters a culture that is open to change.
  • Revitalize relations with delivery agencies and streamline services to upgrade policy implementation. Broadening service provider mandates and creating bigger policy silos incentivizes innovation and shares resources.
  • Monitor government innovation to advance accountability. Evaluating the context, inputs, outputs, and outcomes associated with innovation ensures responsible use of public resources. The Institute calls on third party bodies of the Legislature and opposition parties to periodically assess government innovation.
Topics: Government investment and innovation