What MP3s can teach public services

May 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm Leave a comment

There are two stereotypes about innovators.  The first is of the outsider, alone in his garden shed (and yes, it is a ‘he’).  The second is of the enormous corporation, with endless resources for R&D.  Of course, both of these have produced amazing innovations, but so have a thousand other types of innovators.  I was reminded of the danger of those stereotypes by a piece from Mckinsey on innovation and the US economy.  Sure, it probably landed in your inbox too, but in case you didn’t read it, here’s the standout line:

“Intel’s Andy Grove writes that the United States has “misplaced faith in the power of start-ups.” German research labs may have created the MP3, but it was the scale-up capabilities of American technology firms that took this innovation and unlocked its value, from Apple’s iPod to file sharing to digital-media vendors like the iTunes store, and beyond. This ability to take basic innovation, deliver it at scale, and refine it with second- and third-order innovations plays a critical role in driving growth and jobs. ”

This is a helpful reminder for our public services that no matter how exciting and innovative our new entrants and start-ups, that alone cannot transform systems.  It is just as important to ask how adaptive and responsive encumbent providers are and to support their role in transforming services.  That is another reason why Innovation Unit speaks up for the potential of the leaders and organisations and running public services today for public service innovation.  We believe in them, but we also know that any account of public service transformation that ignores them has very little chance of success.

By John Craig

Entry filed under: Innovation Policy, Public Services.

The Power of Backward Design for teachers New home for our blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

The Innovation Unit website

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 28 other followers


Twitter Updates

Follow innovation_unit on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: