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									     The ‘YOU’ in Public Service

     4th Public Sector Innovation conference

Restoring Citizens’ dignity: Innovative Responses to
        Public Service delivery Challenges
                     South Africa

                   Thuli Radebe
              Presentation outline

1. Who is ‘you’?
2. Innovation and intelligence
3. Individual Genius &Collective Intelligence
4. Individual innovativeness & innovators
5. Discouraging innovators
6. Enabling innovators
7. Organisational innovativeness
8. Leaders and innovation
9. Enabling organisational innovation
10. Concluding
                     1. Who is ‘you’?
The individual ( boss, worker, supervisor, leader, secretary) – all

The team (organisation)

We all feature as one and/or all of the above at some point

Important stakeholder in the space of innovation

“An innovator is a person who makes changes; a person who introduces
  new methods or procedures; an innovator is a creative person”
      2. Innovation and intelligence
A link between innovation and intelligence:
Individual Genius (IG) and Collective Intelligence (CI)

IG – individual innovativeness
CI – organisational/ team innovativeness

They capture the ‘YOU’ in innovation

A starting/ entry point for this discussion which I use to
  present your place and role in public sector
       3. Individual Genius &Collective
In the innovation space is a tension between Individual
   Genius (IG)and Collective Intelligence (CI)

Some favour one over the other. I favour both!

Importantly, how do we create the right conditions for
  CI and IG to work in synergy and to complement
  each other?
4. Individual innovativeness: Exploring the
              Eureka concept
Eureka – I have found it!
• The sudden, blinding flash of inspiration that
  leads to a new product, service or

• An exclamation of discovery linked to
  Archimedes (when he discovered the means
  of determining the proportion of base metal in
  King Hiero’s golden crown)

Eureka moment leading to Eureka thought
     Individual innovativeness – Eureka
Eureka Moments do not happen in multiple minds all at
  once - there’s usually someone who blurts out a new
  creative/innovative idea that catalyzes a whole new
  conversation (a new creative idea)

The habit of innovation at an individual level (personal
  brilliance) is the differentiator.

It is true that individuals possessing a habit of innovation,
    coming together, will make an organization more
      Eureka in public service a reality:
The Health profession has embraced the Eureka
  moment - coming up with practical solutions to
  everyday problems on the frontline:

• People not seeking financial gain or personal

• It is the realisation that a specific problem needs
  solving or a system improving that has inspired many
  nurses & other health professionals to come up with
  innovative ideas
             Eureka examples
- Lynne Phillippo, a nurse from Norfolk, invented
   ‘The Danrik Wedge’ – a pelvic cushion that
   makes patients more comfortable when they
   have a cervical smear and provides the
   practitioner with a better angle to carry out
   procedure safely;

- In South Africa Naumi Sithole (Physiotherapist) –
   using a coke bottle as a spacer for asthmatic
   children when she ran out and would have
   been forced to send them home gasping for
 Understanding individual innovators
Are these people after personal glory? Yes, that’s part of
  it (recognition always appreciated):
  - But importantly they also want to be the person who
  thought of a solution that changed everybody’s lives
  for the better.

  - They want to be able to walk around and see the
  results of that idea.

  Both of these incentives are crucial for bringing forth
        5. Discouraging innovators

People new to an organisation often have a lot of that
  passion, but it can be drained away

  When an individual can’t find anyone to listen and
  appreciate their idea (eureka thought):
  - their Individual Genius goes on its lonely course until
  either they find the right reception or
  - it dies

Most times people are ridiculed for sharing creative
 thoughts (given special discouraging names e.g.
  Discouraging innovators – leadership
Leadership is the key condition for
  sustaining innovation

If the leadership is not right creative
   individuals get buried by a bureaucracy
    - who asked you?
  - Uyaphapha (too forward)!
  - Have you forgotten your place?
  - What has that got to do with you?
    Discouraging innovators – leadership
“In some of my employment situations, I’ve been in
   meetings where an idea I’ve been evangelizing for
   months finally emerges from the lips of one of my
   superiors, and it’s stated as if it just came to them out
   of the blue” – that is a failure of leadership.

“It’s a well-known strategy to subliminally get a boss to
   think something is his or her own idea in order to make
   sure it happens, but if that strategy is the rule rather
   than the exception, it’s a strong indicator of an
   unhealthy place for ideas and innovation (not to
   mention people).”
    6. Enabling environment for individual
In order for individuals to care enough to have their Eureka
   thoughts, they have to be in a fertile, receptive environment that
   encourages that mindset

How can your innovation program support the development and
  enhancement of the natural innovators?

One method of boosting an organisation’s creativity, is boosting the
  creativity of the individuals within the organisation
  - get it right with nurturing individuals’ creativity and innovation
 Individual innovators – IP protection
Individuals’ innovations need to be protected as their
  inventions but in government as government

Private sector companies & individuals grab these for
   their own exploitation

TIA – protects all government financed innovations
7. Organisational (Team) innovativeness -
It is important to bear in mind the difference between
    individual innovation and organisational innovation

Arguments favouring Orgnisational innovativeness:
Very rarely does a single individual's innovation drive a
  large organisation’s innovation

  -   Rather it is the collaboration of numerous
      individuals with varying backgrounds who devise
      and implement ideas.
    Organisational/Team innovativeness
In arguing for organisational/team innovativeness:
• Innovation is typically characterized as incremental
   (improving existing products, process or services) or
   radical (creating entirely new products, services,
   methodologies, processes e.g. GEMS)

• One brilliant individual is insufficient for creating
  radical innovations

• The primary driver for radical innovations is groups of
  people sharing their ideas, insight, and experiments -
  more effective than the application of one brilliant

•           Juxtaposing the two fair?
Organisational/Team innovativeness
Innovation derives its value from communal context -
  most innovations that we encounter daily were, in
  one way or another, vetted, refined and amplified by

An example:
In Wolverhampton a team of community nurses came
   up with Hoo-kOn, a portable lightweight drip stand
   that allows bags of intravenous drugs or fluids and
   monitoring equipment to be securely attached so
   that nurses can safely administer treatment to
   patients at home or accident scenes (fits in boot)
     8. Leaders and innovativeness

Is the climate open to new ideas? As many
   people have mentioned, are 'bosses' open to
   new ideas? Do they support the initiative or
   ridicule the result?

It is also the duty of leaders must still define
    where new ideas are needed - officials need
    a sense of what is missing or what could be
   Leadership stifling innovativeness
Some reinforce (wittingly or unwittingly) cultural norms
  that alienate the eccentric-but-talented and give
  comfort to the bland-but-mediocre

Some preach about thinking outside the box, while
  perpetuating a hierarchical corporate system, one of
  the most primitive boxes around

Lack of supporting processes and tools will prevent
  creative ideas turning into tangible results
9. Enabling environment for organisational
 A minimum requirement for organizations to become truly
 innovative is to let their innovators connect and network across
 boundaries and hierarchies

  – The problem is that hierarchies, rules and employee
    procedures often stand in the way of innovative people to
    turn organizations into innovative organizations.

  – Fortunately, there are now many social networking tools and
    new web technologies (blogs, wikis, tagging, etc.) that are
    very useful for creating virtual networks of people which
    bypass the traditional boundaries and hierarchies - creating a
    new parallel digital workplace
 Enabling environment for organisational
- people all over the world are now able to collaborate
  almost instantaneously in rapid conversation,
  discussion and idea-vetting? – wisdom of crowds

- Some managers exchange their current/old
  employees for new and younger employees” – 10%,
  average age is 35, hoping that some individuals
  amongst the new breed will be innovative

- But without the correct environment even these new
  inventive individuals won’t get effective
    Enabling environment for organisational

- Some   organisations are also recruiting staff with very different
    perspectives to spice up their knowledge mix, not hiring “people
    like us, who think like us”

- Some organisations hire management from completely different
   industries (bring in completely different perspectives rather than
   tried and tested solutions only) - diversity

-   Every company is full of creative thinkers, but if management
    does not promote innovation, ensuring an environment of trust
    and genuineness about implementing innovative ideas, then the
    innovative efforts in the organisation will die
              10. Concluding

Each one of us is an innovator
Believe that you have something to offer in the
  space of innovation

Look around your environment, identify things
  you have been doing in the same way for
  many years (can do in your sleep)

Don’t be too comfortable with sameness
Thank you

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