By reusing the solutions of others, public sector workplaces can save development costs, avoid unsuccessful strategies and achieve desired outcomes more quickly.
Furthermore, by sharing our own solutions with others, we can use their experiences to improve the original solution and possibly achieve a greater reach and impact. COI aims to ease the path to share and reuse innovation in the public sector. Field studies in Danish municipalities, tests with leaders and employees on all levels of government and in various fields and insights from national and international research shows that networks and relations between innovators are important for innovation to spread.
In order to establish and enhance the relations between Danish public sector innovators COI has undertaken two national initiatives:
- National Innovation Internship
- Networks for innovative leaders and employees.
The first national innovation internship was organized by COI in September of 2015 and the third took place in September 2017. Aside from matchmaking innovators across the public sector, COI’s focus has been on creating the best circumstances for the actual spreading of innovation by organizing preparatory and follow-up workshops. Yearly evaluations show that participants have an incredibly high satisfaction with the internship and that many of the relations become lasting.
A high level of trust is important when innovators share the difficult parts of the innovation process which is crucial in order to succeed with the spreading of innovation. COI has established two networks which aim to create a confidential space, where these difficulties can be shared, learned from and solved. One network is solely for leaders of innovation units, whereas the other is for employees and leaders working within the field of public innovation. Both networks are now on their second round and have five meetings planned in 2017. An evaluation of one of the networks confirms the importance of having these rare network-constructions across different levels of government. The networks provide inspiration, concrete solutions and builds capacity and confidence towards spreading innovation.
In order to further ease the spreading of innovation COI has launched a guide and dialogue tool for “givers” and “takers” of innovation to use when collaborating. The guide consists of six steps with recommended actions to take and associated tools that help structure the dialogue throughout the spreading process. The guide provides an overview of an otherwise complex process and is relevant for anyone who wants to collaborate on spreading an innovation from one context to another.