Discussion paper

The key message of this report is that the public sector must become a leader and enabler of innovation in Australia, constituting as it does about 35% of GDP with a pervasive role in our economy and society. It should have the capacity to prototype and diffuse models of change and innovation as well as work with the private and community sectors to address the major challenges we face. The report of the 2008 Review of the National Innovation System Venturous Australia contended that public sector innovation warranted much greater attention than it has had previously in Australia, and this was subsequently addressed in a series of reports, culminating in the 2011 APS Innovation Action Plan.

The present report aims first to raise awareness of international developments in public sector innovation and stimulate debate regarding barriers and capability gaps in the Australian context. There have been influential studies of public sector innovation in many other countries over the past several years. These earlier reports emphasised the importance of innovation in the public sector, and why it should be of policy interest. As the experience and assessment of innovation initiatives has increased, the more recent global reports have indicated what can be done and how. This is the focus of our report which addresses those aspects of strategic relevance to the Australian public sector.

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