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Minister McGrath welcomes Public Service-wide Innovation Week

Public Service-wide Innovation Week takes place from today (Monday 19th) until 23rd October.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, today (Monday) launched Public Service Innovation Week.

Innovation Week provides us with an opportunity to highlight the importance of continuous improvement in our Public Service. For Ireland to succeed we need a dynamic and responsive Public Service. This week we showcase great stories of transformative initiatives at home and further afield, particularly the pioneering responses of our public servants to the current global crisis. This initiative, under Our Public Service 2020, the current framework for reform in the public service, will see sectors and organisations engage in multiple innovation-related events for the week.

Opening the programme of events, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, said:

“This week we put a spotlight on originality throughout our Public Service for Innovation Week. In times of rapid change, growing complexity and uncertainty, it is incumbent on the Government and our Public Service to better prepare for the unexpected and to strengthen our resilience. People rely on public services, often in very difficult circumstances. The main objective of Government and the Public Service as a whole is to provide vital services to people when they need them most and innovation within the public service must be focussed on providing better outcomes for our citizens. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced governments around the world to pivot rapidly and change the way they organise their activities to meet the needs of the public. Ireland’s Public Service has responded admirably in this transformed environment, quickly developing new channels to deliver services to citizens, whilst simultaneously taking measures to mitigate the impact of the virus on our economy and society.

As we plan our recovery, it is imperative that we identify ways to sustain the enhanced culture of innovation that has featured prominently across our Public Service since the onset of this pandemic”.

Through the central programme of events curated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and through locally organised events, Innovation Week will see public servants in all sectors share ideas and experiences. Online talks, panel discussions and workshops will explore how we can put our customers at the heart of our transformation efforts through: design-thinking, behavioural economics, inclusivity initiatives, prototyping, ideation, and collaborative working, among other topics. The week is designed to further deepen a culture of transformation throughout the Public Service, a key action under the current Public Service reform and innovation framework.

Secretary General at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), Robert Watt, in supporting the innovation agenda, said: “As we begin to develop the next public service reform programme, it is critical to consider future challenges and the megatrends coming our way. The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent shift in the global economic landscape reminded us that we are often required to pivot dramatically and quickly change how we serve our public. More widespread events connected to health, climate change, geopolitical situations and other quickly developing issues are likely to emerge and it is crucial that we integrate strategic foresight and innovation into our planning. The next reform framework must reflect what the world will look like in 2030, the challenges and opportunities we may face and the capabilities we will need as a public service to effectively navigate this new world. We need to better anticipate changes that will emerge in the future, we need to future-proof our policies and we must embrace innovation as the expectation.”

Head of Reform in the Department in DPER, Dr Lucy Fallon Byrne added:

“Innovation Week provides us with a fantastic opportunity to highlight the importance of the role of innovation in the Public Service. It allows us to explore great stories of innovation in Ireland and further afield. Importantly, there are several sessions that will allow public servants to engage with the topic of innovation in practical ways; for example, sessions on developing innovation strategies, using new technologies such as Robotic Process Automation and innovation assessment tools.”

DPER’s Public Service Innovation Programme is available here

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