Facilitating a Services Revolution Bobby Soobrayan (Director-General: SAMDI) Presentation to the GPG SMS Conference Johannesburg, 16 March, 2006 Unpacking the topic ♦ Background and history – govt distorted by apartheid ♦ New bureaucracy with strong mandate and huge service delivery challenges ♦ Public sector reform project – local and global dimensions ♦ Outcomes of these reforms are both intended and unintended ♦ Discourse on the Developmental State with high-profile projects like ASGI-SA ♦ Persistence of huge challenges accompanied by some service delivery failures ♦ Within above context that question of “services revolution is posed” So what is this revolution about? ♦ It’s about understanding our service delivery challenges ♦ It’s about finding better ways (that are credible and sustainable) of improving our service delivery performance ♦ It’s about understanding public-private interactions and how to manage these for optimising service delivery ♦ It’s about INNOVATION IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR Public-Private interactions ♦ PPP is only one aspect of the totality of our interactions ♦ Many issues that are important – at a policy and operational level ♦ Very often we are not conscious of the extent of public-private interactions ♦ Our understanding and capacity to manage these are very disparate The Innovation process ♦ Generating/initiating innovation – identifying and marshalling the impulses ♦ Formulating and incubating prototypes ♦ Taking to scale or institutionalisation ♦ Monitoring, evaluation, learning and re-design What are the impulses/stimuli for innovation? ♦ New demands ♦ New policy ♦ Financial and other constraints ♦ New technology ♦ But attention, not simply on origination of innovation – more important to focus on implementation and institutionalisation Outcomes/metrics ♦ Improvement in relevant outcomes ♦ Service responsiveness to needs of people, localities ♦ Reductions in costs for given set of outputs – cost effectiveness ♦ Caveat – sometimes M&E framework creates rigidities that confound success Incubation ♦ Process of innovation typically involves a stage in which ideas are turned into more viable prototypes which can be tested. This requires champions willing to invest at least some resources, and organisational structures for designing, implementing and evaluating them ♦ Good incubators provide advice, money and support ♦ Some eg’s where this works well. Singapore: dedicated govt institution – supplies modest funding to support ideas that “have the potential to create new value or significant improvements to delivery of public service”. This is open to everyone, not just public sector ♦ Many eg’s in other parts of the world ♦ What are our eg’s of successful innovation? Other general issues/considerations ♦ Experimentation ♦ Hawthorne effects ♦ Learning curve effects ♦ Introduction of quasi-markets ♦ Risk aversion ♦ Short-termism – threat to successful and credible innovation Concluding questions ♦ Innovation can and does happen organically and in response to random impulses ♦ Challenge of this commission: how can govt make this systematic ♦ How do we understand govt’s role? ♦ How does innovation happen in practice? Role of agents, institutional factors, “communities of learning” ♦ i.e. How do we create innovation-enabling institutional conditions? Siyabonga!