Whether you actually invent a new product or process, or you use creativity to find a better way to market existing products or services, you will need to learn how to think like an inventor.
Linkedin Nesta is currently working with leading innovation practitioners from around the world to define the key skills, attitudes and behaviours that public sector innovators combine in order to successfully solve public problems. In this blog we introduce a new competency framework that we are creating, and describe our plans for developing it further.
Finding the space and time to invest in the future while being responsible for delivering services that people rely on today is a well-known dilemma for governments around the world.
Governments are still struggling to embed innovation in their organisations and existing operational processes. The big question is how we go beyond individual pilots, projects and labs? How best to apply and spread the approaches, skills and culture that increase the ability of governments to innovate?
What will strengthen the innovation capacity of governments and enable a better use of innovation resources in order to deal more effectively with public problems? Human resources as an enabler for public sector innovation?
One significant part of answering these questions lies within the domain of human resources HRand the relationship between public workforce skills and innovation. We see that governments are increasingly using competency management approaches to set up standards for professional behaviour and performance management, as well as to gain competitive advantage by integrating HR policies with business strategies.
But, beyond the broader and more established employee characteristics and behaviours for innovative working - such as motivation, openness to ideas, and change management - less is Successful community problem solving about the unique attitudes, skills and competencies needed to support public sector innovation.
How do they differ from, relate to or build on current core competencies of public officials? And, not least, how do public organisations succeed in practically implementing them in their core operations? We believe that problem solving is at the Successful community problem solving of how governments operate, and so we need to demystify how innovation approaches can be useful and what the relevant skills and competencies are in relation to core problem solving activities.
This is core to our work on developing a new competency framework for experimental problem solving.
By framing our competencies around experimental problem solving, we try to emphasise how core attitudes and characteristics, in combination with key skills and competencies, enable behaviours that increase the likelihood of successful problem solving activities and better improve capacity.
We also want to go beyond creative thinking techniques and brainstorming — which are useful for generating ideas — and highlight the competencies that are needed to systematically create, authorise, test and improve on ideas.
The framework presented here is an initial overview and the first step in our process to understand, reflect on and assess the key attitudes and skills that we consider crucial for public sector innovation.
In order to ensure practical relevance, we have chosen to be guided by practice rather than theory and have used the following approaches to develop the framework: Firstly, we have used the experience of the Nesta Innovation Skills team who have worked in and with multiple pioneering government innovation labs and teams for a considerable amount of years as a starting point.
Thirdly, we have tested our research insights with selected governments and innovation experts to ensure accurate representation, relevance and usefulness.
Fourthly, over the coming months, we will be continuously working with innovation practitioners to co-develop and refine concrete behavioural indicators and assessment criteria. Fifth, and most importantly, we will be working directly with ambitious governments to test and experiment with how the competency framework can be integrated into their innovation learning journey as part of systematic capacity-building activities.
Content principles for the framework The framework identifies core skills needed by public servants in order to experiment and adopt a greater range of innovative practices for public problem solving.
Some important content principles are: The broader innovation skillset The attitudes and skills outlined in the framework are the broader elements that, in combination, drive successful application of experimental problem solving activities.
They are crucial for successfully creating impact with established innovation methods, such as human-centred design, behavioural insights, data-science, foresight, etc. So in addition to the skills needed to simply apply innovation methods, our framework focuses on innovation craft.
That is, how might we practically and effectively navigate, apply, embed and organise for innovation approaches in government and how to create an enabling environment to make innovation happen and ensure impact. Team-focused skills framework Teams are central to successful problem solving and so we start with the team, rather than the individual, as the unit of action.
The framework presents a diverse palette of skills and attitudes that are rarely all found in one individual, but need to be present within the wider innovation team. The challenge and opportunity is to combine these skills and attitudes in ways that make the team greater than its individual members.
Framework of complex skills Solving complex problems involves managing the intricate tensions and dynamics between opposing mindsets, skillsets and ways of acting.
All this requires ongoing judgement and the ability to combine multiple different attitudes and skills at the same time. The framework With these content principles in mind, we have attempted to describe key attitudes and skills that provide a combined view on what it takes to set up and run explorative innovation processes, while also creating an enabling environment for innovation within an administrative and political context.
The framework describes three core categories that - according to our experience and research - are crucial to form the basis of successful experimental problem solving: Exploring and experimenting to identify knowledge gaps, create new understanding and inform decision-making in new ways Working together: Engaging with citizens and multiple stakeholders to ensure co-creation and collaborative ownership of new solutions Leading change: Creating space for innovation and driving change processes to mobilise people, inspire action and ensure strategic outcomes Download this diagram as a PDF.
How we plan to use it and next steps As with many competency frameworks focused on change and innovation, there is a risk of it becoming a static, aspirational artefact rather than a practical tool for shifting practice. In this light, we see our research so far and this synthesis as only a starting point.
In its current version, the framework mainly serves the purpose of bringing some clarity to the core elements and as a point of reference to enable further dialogue within the community of practice.
Going forwards, we will be focusing on a number of activities to operationalise, test and further develop the framework into concrete activities, tasks, roles and incentive structures that can support real behaviour change.Successful Community Problem Solving In the mids, the city of Anaheim, California, experienced a tremendous problem with gangs, drug dealers, and criminals preying on a small apartment community in the city; someone got shot, stabbed, or robbed on a daily basis/5(1).
Psychedelic agents in creative problem-solving experiment was a study designed to evaluate whether the use of a psychedelic substance with supportive setting can lead to improvement of performance in solving professional problems. The altered performance was measured by subjective reports, questionnaires, the obtained solutions for the professional problems and psychometric data using the.
Solve any problems today? Of course you have! We continuously bump up against obstacles that stand between us and what we need or want. Whether we realize it or not – we’ve become adept at working around these barriers using everyday problem solving skills.
Download this diagram as a PDF.. How we plan to use it and next steps. As with many competency frameworks focused on change and innovation, there is a risk of it becoming a static, aspirational artefact rather than a practical tool for shifting practice.
Successful Community Problem Solving In the mids, the city of Anaheim, California, experienced a tremendous problem with gangs, drug dealers, and criminals preying on a small apartment community in the city; someone got shot, stabbed, or robbed on a daily basis.
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Our lives are full of problems -- small and large -- from knowing how to find pencil to understanding what to do if you are bullied. Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty coming .