The Innovation Barometer

About: “Demographic changes. Climate crisis. Cybercrime. Budget deficits. Diminishing political legitimacy. From a global perspective there is no shortage of complex problems facing the public sector. The need for innovative solutions is evident, but a systematic knowledge base for necessary public sector innovations is hard to come by.

Private sector companies have been the subject of internationally comparable statistics on innovation for nearly three decades, giving private companies, scholars and public sector decision-makers essential guidance for business development, research and policymaking.

For the public sector, however, anecdotes and opinions have been substitutes for statistical data on innovation. That is why, in 2015, the Danish National Centre for Public Sector Innovation, in association with Statistics Denmark, began separating myth from reality. The result was the Innovation Barometer, the world’s first official statistics on public sector innovation. The statistic is based on a nationwide web-based survey addressed to managers of public sector workplaces of all kinds – kindergartens, schools, hospitals, police stations ect.

While the findings were both surprising and useful, additional insight from national comparisons was missing. But not for long. By 2018 Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland had all conducted one or more national surveys, utilising similar methodologies and definitions, though adapted somewhat to better serve national agendas. Their ongoing efforts have also contributed to methodological adjustments, improving the original survey design.

Currently a large variety of people and organisations use Nordic Innovation Barometer data, applying them for their own purposes, e.g. inspiration, policymaking, strategizing, HR development, teaching, research and consultancy services. Or for legitimising certain decisions and criticising others. In short, the Nordic Innovation Barometers are being put to use as the public good they were intended to be, also in ways the developers and adaptors did not foresee.

On behalf of the remarkably innovative Nordic public sectors we are pleased to present the first website containing cross-Nordic comparisons. Although this website does not tell us everything that we would like to know about public sector innovation, it does provide a sorely needed systematic foundation for developing new solutions….(More)”.