Beth Noveck at apolitical: “So how do we develop these better ways of working in government? How do we create a more effective public service?
Governments, universities and philanthropies are beginning to invest in training those inside and outside of government in new kinds of public entrepreneurial skills. They are also innovating in how they teach.
Canada has created a new Digital Academy to teach digital literacy to all 250,000 public servants. Among other approaches, they have created a 15 minute podcast series called bus rides to enable public servants to learn on their commute.
The better programs, like Canada’s, combine online and face-to-face methods. This is what Israel does in its Digital Leaders program. This nine-month program alternates between web- and live meetings as well as connecting learners to a global, online network of digital innovators.
Many countries have started to teach human-centred design to public servants, instructing officials in how to design services with, not simply for the public, as WeGov does in Brazil. in Chile, the UAI University has just begun teaching quantitative skills, offering three day intensives in data science for public servants.
The Public sector learning
To ensure that learning translates into practice, Australia’s BizLab Academy, turns students into teachers by using alumni of their human-centred design training as mentors for new students.
The Cities of Orlando and Sao Paulo go beyond training public servants. Orlando includes members of the public in its training program for city officials. Because they are learning to redesign services with citizens, the public participates in the training.
The Sao Paulo Abierta program uses citizens as trainers for the city’s public servants. Over 23,000 of them have studied with these lay trainers, who possess the innovation skills that are in short supply in government. In fact, public officials are prohibited from teaching in the program altogether.
Image from the ten recommendations for training public entrepreneurs. Read all the recommendations here.
Recognising that it is not enough to train only a lone innovator or data scientist in a unit, governments are scaling their programs across the public sector.
Argentina’s LabGob has already trained 30,000 people since 2016 in its Design Academy for Public Policy with plans to expand. For every class taken, a public servant earns points, which are a prerequisite for promotions and pay raises in the Argentinian civil service.
Rather than going broad, some training programs are going deep by teaching sector-specific innovation skills. The NHS Digital Academy done in collaboration with Imperial College is a series of six online and four live sessions designed to produce leaders in health innovation.
Innovating in a bureaucracy
Training classes may be wonderful but leave people feeling abandoned when they return to their desks to face the challenge of innovating within a bureaucracy.
With hands-on mentoring from global leaders and peer-to-peer support, the GovLab Academycoaching programs try to ensure that public servants are getting the help they need to advance innovative projects.
Knowing what innovation skills to teach and how to teach them, however, should depend on asking people what they want. That’s why the Australia New Zealand School of Government is administering a survey asking these questions for public servants there….(More)”.