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					 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!

				
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posted:4/13/2011
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