The OECD, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance of Finland and with the support of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme, organized on 11 and 12 March 2021 an international online workshop on anticipatory innovation, one of the 4 facets of innovation, according to the OPSI-OECD model.
Anticipatory innovation is action based on knowledge of the future, creating something new that can have an impact on public value. It helps governments explore and operate in view of uncertain change.
Anticipatory innovation management refers to the structures and mechanisms that help and promote anticipatory innovation in relation to other types of innovation in the public sector.
Anticipatory innovation is one of the four facets of innovation, based on the "4 facet" model developed by the OECD Public Sector Innovation Observatory.
The workshop was attended by akmost 300 executives, from 70 countries, including executives from the Greek public administration.
The 3 topics discussed at the workshop
The discussion focused on 3 topics:
1) how to set up systems of anticipatory innovation management on the national level2) how to build in room for radical experimentation,
3) how to align these activities with traditional strategies and possible missions governments may have.How can an anticipatoryinnovation system be set up?
Two cases of countries were presented at the discussion. Finland has begun designing a new system of governance based on future needs. The aim is to change the policy-making system to a systemic level rather than a sectoral approach. The country will soon begin exploring and piloting anticipatory innovation mechanisms. It is very important in this process that the change is carried out not only in the administrative system but also at the political level. The big challenge in this case is for the citizens to be active and involved, so that there is co-creation in practice.
Ireland has begun to integrate anticipatory innovation as part of its administrative reform. The goal is to help policymakers anticipate and think about the future when making policy decisions, taking into account major trends affecting all sectors of the economy.
How can radical experimentation be done in the public sector?
Applying anticipatory innovation in practice requires many alternatives and experimentation. Canada supports experimentation by developing the ability to introduce incentives for experimentation at the systemic level (for example, through annual Departmental experimentation surveys). Nevertheless, many systemic barriers remain.
Sweden aims to make public administration a testing ground for new regulations that support preventive innovation. Thus to "challenge" not only those who innovate, but also those who legislate in order to take into account the dimension of preventive innovation.
Linking anticipatory innovation with existing goals
Anticipatory innovation, like any other aspect of innovation, on the one hand must be linked to the broader objectives within which a public organization operates, and on the other hand it must take into account the innovation portfolio that it has or wants to have in the long run. Traditionally, the study of the future is associated with expert analysis. But new infrastructure and communication channels need to be created, through which innovative responses are created by more sections of the population about what may arise in the future. In general, anticipatory innovation is linked to social goals and goal-centered approaches, based on co-creation.
The common acceptance by the speakers was that preventive innovation requires non-discriminatory participation, transparency, collective intelligence, commitment and courage. According to Riel Miller, a speaker from UNESCO, even the best system cannot help us meet today's complex challenges. We need an ethical approach that includes future generations. If we consider that the existing system cannot be repaired, what strategy should we adopt to promote the transition out of the existing system? The new preventive innovation administration must be humble and ambitious to deal with the way public administrations operate.
Read more about the 4 aspects of innovation here: https://innovation.gov.gr/fourfacets/