Making innovation routine: creating more inventive civil services

Photo by Freepik.com
September 7, 2021
Global
Workforce

To meet the public’s needs, civil services need to innovate – adapting to emerging threats and finding new ways to tackle old problems. But leaders acting on this agenda face major cultural and structural obstacles. Civil service processes designed to minimise risk and protect value for money can stifle experimentation. Hierarchical, organisational and professional boundaries hamper collaboration and the flow of ideas. Political and media pressures tend to reward the cautious over the adventurous.

To become more innovative, civil services must act on many fronts. Recruitment and promotion, for example, can be reformed to reward intelligent risk-taking. ‘Sandboxes’ and hackathons can provide safe spaces for experimentation. New communications platforms can gather in ideas from specialist and frontline staff. Government-wide assurance processes can be streamlined and made more flexible. At this webinar, civil service leaders and external experts will discuss how civil service leaders can make full use of their workforce’s expertise and enthusiasm – creating more responsive and inventive organisations.

Time

USA/Canada Eastern Time (EST): 09:30 – 10:45
British Summer Time (BST): 14:30 – 15:45
Central European Summer Time (CEST): 15:30 – 16:45
Eastern European Summer Time (EEST): 16:30 – 17:45
Singapore Time (SGT): 21:30 – 22:45
Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST): 23:30 – 00:45

Panel

Webinar chair: Siobhan Benita, former UK senior civil servant

Siobhan Benita was a senior civil servant with over 15 years’ Whitehall experience. She worked in many of the major delivery departments, including Transport, Environment, Health and Local Government. She also had senior roles at the heart of Government in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, including supporting the then Cabinet Secretary, Lord O’Donnell to lead work on Civil Service reform and strategy. Siobhan left the Civil Service to run as an independent candidate in the Mayor of London election. She subsequently joined her alma mater, Warwick University as Chief Strategy Officer of Warwick in London and Co-Director of the Warwick Policy Lab.

Dr Vik Pant, Chief Scientist and Chief Science Advisor, Natural Resources Canada

Vik is responsible for providing strategic direction to build capacity within NRCan’s scientific community, promoting a departmental vision for S&T and assessment of future needs. This involves leadership in developing and advancing S&T priorities, providing strategic policy advice on horizontal science issues and opportunities to ensure strong linkages between science and policy communities, and promoting effective engagement of S&T activities. Vik is responsible for accelerating the creative application of innovative digital technologies including Artificial Intelligence, to enhance NRCan’s ability to conduct research and analysis, as well as provide evidence-based policy advice that is supported by advanced analytical techniques. Vik works with counterparts from other science-based organizations to ensure that the management of federal policy and research activities support and align with Government of Canada priorities.

Vik earned a doctorate from the Faculty of Information (iSchool) in the University of Toronto, a master’s degree in business administration with distinction from the University of London, and a master’s degree in information technology from Harvard University, where he received the Dean’s List Academic Achievement Award. His research, featured in numerous peer-reviewed journals and refereed international conferences, focuses on the conceptual modelling of strategic coopetition in complex multi-agent systems.

Vik joined NRCan from the MaRS Discovery District, a technology start-up accelerator in Toronto, where he was a Senior Technical Advisor of Applied Artificial Intelligence. Prior to that, he held progressively strategic positions in leading software enterprises including Oracle, SAP and Open Text.