Innovation in policy-making
We did a small piece of work recently on the role of innovation in central government policy-making. Arguably, both the challenge departments face and our prescriptions were fairly predictable. For departments, time and money is tighter than ever and too often innovation can feel like a luxury. For us, in policy processes of a few months duration, spending a few hours drawing on a broader range of methods and perspectives is a pretty smart move.
Perhaps most interesting was our synthesis of the range of things that limit the use of innovation in government policy-making:
- Topping and tailing – missing out strong problem definition at the outset of a piece of policy work or missing out detailed development and testing at its conclusion
- Insulating against evidence – allowing research and data-gathering to become a luxury rather than a necessity in policy-making
- Narrowing the range – limiting the range of options and perspectives that are considered and the range of methods that are deployed
If you are or have been a civil servant, what do you think? They certainly help to capture my experience of government, although I’m sure they’re partial and imperfect. In writing the work up, I drew on the excellent work in this area of the Institute for Government. I would particularly recommend these three papers.
By John Craig
Entry filed under: Government Departments.