Conference paper


Innovation is considered to be a sine qua non to improve efficiency and effectiveness in government and respond to citizens’ increasing demand for better services. This paper draws together literature related to innovation in the public sector. A qualitative analysis was conducted to establish the key aspects related to innovation raised by senior managers within the Australian Public Service (APS). This study used content analysis of transcripts from senior manager presentations in Innovation Month seminars from 2014 to 2016. The content indicated senior managers’ perceptions of innovation in the APS in terms of four aspects: drivers of innovation; barriers to innovation; innovation characteristics; and typology of innovation. Content analysis revealed that those aspects typically associated with innovation in the APS, such as ad-hoc basis and top-down approach, have been hindered by a number of barriers within the public sector context studied. These major barriers comprise risk-averse culture, hierarchy, and the silo effect. The implications of the findings are discussed to suggest directions for further research on innovation in the public sector.

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