General Theme

Innovation: A Public Service Imperative

The central conference theme is Innovation: A Public Service Imperative.  Senior leaders are increasingly looking towards innovation as a means to achieve their goals. Some maintain that innovation is fast becoming an imperative for the public service. This alternate path requires a thorough review of current approaches to (1) developing capacity among public servants and its leadership to innovate, (2) nurturing engagement and communication, (3) harnessing alternate ways of working, and (4) reviewing governance for better allowing/mitigating risk.

The CAPAM 2016 Biennial Conference will focus on the innovation imperative by examining how governments can best instil a culture that fosters new approaches, partnerships and resources to solve the challenges of today and tomorrow. Through this journey of discovery, sessions will explore how innovation supports improved efficiencies and sustainability for activities ranging from policy development through to implementation.


Key objectives:

1.      To examine how governments are addressing the sustainability of innovation by creating a culture of innovation to achieve lasting and meaningful change within government; 

2.      To explore how senior public servants are using innovation to move from traditional management to new designs and alternate ways of working;

3.      To share practices in harnessing resources, partnerships and alternate inputs to achieve new approaches and build the capacity to innovate;

4.      To engage practitioners and academics in discussion and debate on the major issues.



Day 1. Leading Innovation: The New Normal

Without the support of leadership, no innovative endeavour has much chance of coming to fruition. However, not all senior public servants are comfortable with innovation, its inherent risk of failure, and the changes that could result. Those leaders who see the value in promoting new ideas may not have the tools and competencies to actively promote an innovative culture within their organisation. So how does a public service ensure that its senior administrators and managers are able to champion innovation in moving from traditional management to new designs and alternate ways of working?  How do leaders best prepare themselves and equip their employees to embrace innovation?

Under the sub-theme ‘Leading Innovation: The New Normal’, conference presentations will feature strategies, development approaches, and best practices in preparing leadership to work within and promote an innovative environment.


Day 2. Preparing the Organisation: Creating a Culture of Innovation

The status quo is not an option when technologies, globalized market forces, and changing geo-politics are in a constant state of flux. Governments must prepare their public services to proactively anticipate and effectively respond to the many challenges that they face. They must create a sustainable culture of innovation to achieve lasting and meaningful change within.  Key pieces towards achieving this relate to public service motivation and engagement, tolerance for risk, bridging organisational boundaries, and responding to societal pressures.

Under the sub-theme ‘Preparing the Organisation: Creating a Culture of Innovation’, conference presentations will centre on enabling factors, and review overarching national strategies for innovation and the guidance they provide to the practical innovation work of government agencies.


Day 3. Implementing Innovation and Measuring Impact

While leadership support and organisational preparation are critical to creating a culture of innovation and nurturing innovative ideas, it is the implementation and measurement of these visions that truly define whether a new approach is successful. A good idea on paper only becomes an innovation when it is executed and the processes and outcomes employed are properly assessed. What innovations have worked for governments and how did they successfully get from concept to realisation? How does the public sector know when an innovation has achieved the intended results?

Under the sub-theme ‘Implementing Innovation and Measuring Impact’, conference presentations will provide concrete examples of how innovations have been put into practice and will explore a variety of high-level, service-wide accountabilities for policy and oversight of public sector innovation, discussing their potential contribution to innovation success.