Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Australian government innovation report Part II: "Innovation in Government"

The previously reported "Review of the National Innovation System Report - Venturous Australia" -- interestingly and surprisingly -- includes a whole section entitled "Innovation in Government".

Its recommendations are:
  • Recommendation 10.1: Consideration should be given to extending the platform created to enforce payments and administer income contingent loans through the tax system; for instance, by extending income contingent loans for tertiary education outside universities and for sole trader entrepreneurs seeking to fund innovative projects.

  • Recommendation 10.2: An advisory committee of web 2.0 practitioners should be established to propose and help steer governments as they experiment with web 2.0 technologies and ideas.

  • Recommendation 10.3 An Advocate for Government Innovation should be established to promote innovation in the public sector.

  • Recommendation 10.4: A rigorous policy of evaluating all Australian Government innovation programs ­ and other relevant programs ­ be established. In a way analogous to the requirement that new regulation cannot be implemented without adequate regulatory impact analysis, a policy should be adopted whereby new programs cannot be implemented without an adequate evaluation strategy and funding for evaluation including the collection of `base data' to evaluate the effects of the program.

  • Recommendation 10.5: Experimentation in innovative policy and administration should be a major theme of the current refashioning of federal relations. States and Territories should be able to bid for federal funds to pioneer innovative approaches and to have their innovations properly and independently evaluated. This could be taken up within the COAG National Partnership Rewards payments currently being negotiated.

  • Recommendation 10.6: The Australian Government should recognise its role as an active participant in facilitating innovation through procurement practices. In this context, the Government should: ·actively manage its ability to enable and demand innovation in procured services and products given its significant presence as a major purchaser; ·in procurement, be open to participating in risk sharing in relation to innovation demanded; ·explore the use of forward purchase commitmentsas a means of fostering more innovative approaches to government procurement; and ·work with the State and Territories to implement a pilot Small Business Innovation Contracting program based on the US SBIR design principles, to strengthen the growth of highly innovative firms in Australia. The Advocate for Government Innovation should operate as a source of expertise and seed funding for the resourcing of such approaches to procurement.

  • Recommendation 11.1: National innovation priorities as set out in this Review, be a focus of innovation policy and activities and the National Innovation Council be charged with ongoing evaluation of the alignment of public innovation policy with National Research and Innovation priorities.

  • Recommendation 12.1: The Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council should be replaced by a new National Innovation Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, and supported by a small but high level Office of Innovation. An International Innovation Advisory Panel would be formed to provide advice to the Council on international engagement.

  • Recommendation 12.2: To more effectively coordinate the innovation activities of public sector research agencies and to provide a source of coordinated advice to the National Innovation Council, a Research Coordination Council should be established.

  • Recommendation 12.3: The Minister for Innovation should be a joint signatory to any Cabinet proposals from across government significantly bearing on the nationalinnovation agenda, to ensure co-ordination.

  • Recommendation 12.4: Innovation Australia should be the single major agency responsible for delivering innovation program support for firms. Such programs would be delivered through the AusIndustry network.

  • Recommendation 12.5: The Australian Government and State and Territory governments should adopt a framework of principles for innovation interventions (as setout in this Review) to enhance consistency in approach across governments and improve the overall accessibility and efficiency of the suite of interventions.

  • Recommendation 12.6: That governments review the existing suite of programs and develop any new programs in the light of these principles. All program proposals should contain clear ex ante evaluation criteria, and provide for the provision or collection of relevant base line data before program implementation. Design principles and rules should be applied consistently. (See proposed design principles in Chapter 4 and Annex 4)

  • Recommendation 12.7: That senior government officials develop a collaborative mechanism to oversee the agreed approach and report periodically to relevant Australian Government and State and Territory ministers.

  • Recommendation 12.8: That common metrics, performance indicators and mechanisms for collecting and sharing data be developed and adopted by all jurisdictions.

  • Recommendation 12.9: That governments together develop a single mechanism (such as a web portal) for providing information to clients about access to the full range of Australian and State and Territory government innovation programs.

  • Recommendation 12.10: The ABS should be resourced to ensure the longevity and international consistency of innovation data collections and their availability to facilitate effective policy development. The National Innovation Council should advise where additional data collection is required to produce its Annual Statement on Innovation.

  • Recommendation 12.11: An Annual Statement on Innovation should be prepared by the National Innovation Council and incorporate a clear set of framework indicators. (An initial proposal for these indicators is set out in Annex 12).

  • Recommendation 12.12: The Australian Government, with the guidance of the National Innovation Council, should establish rigorous and consistent evaluation processes for innovation programs in line with the principle that the function should be carried out on an armslength and transparent basis.

  • Recommendation 12.13: A National Centre for Innovation Research should be established to advance knowledge of the innovation system through high quality, independent research which is strongly relevant to policy and practice.


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