It’s official: The OECD Declaration on Public Sector was adopted today!

Written by , Innovation Advisor on 22 May 2019

40 countries adhere to the OECD Declaration

At OECD Headquarters in Paris, France, Ministers from 40 countries officially adopted the OECD Declaration on Public Sector Innovation today, 22 May 2019!

In doing so, they have sent a strong message to the international community that public sector innovation is important, worthy of attention and support.

The OECD Declaration is a set of five principles, and associated actions, that governments and public organisations can use to inform (or enhance) innovation and its management. These principles are:

  1. Embrace and enhance innovation within the public sector
  2. Encourage and equip all public sector servants to innovate
  3. Cultivate new partnerships and involve different voices
  4. Support exploration, iteration and testing
  5. Diffuse lessons and share practices

We developed these principles based on our research, our work with countries and our extensive public consultation in the development of the OECD Declaration. This all showed that these principles make a difference to the way governments and public organisations foster innovation. Ultimately, we encourage governments and public organisations to use the OECD Declaration in ways that best serve their cultural and administrative context.

The OECD Declaration coheres concepts to move the field forward

Public sector innovation is still an emergent area of research and practice. At OPSI, we know that public sector innovation is still a topic that is shrouded in mystery or, if it is known, it is considered the kind of ‘side’ activity a few people do, rather than part of governments’ core strategic function. We developed the OECD Declaration to combat this. As a high-level document, it:

  • Legitimises innovation (it’s governments’ ‘new normal’)
  • Provides common language (so when we talk either internally to our colleagues or internationally to our counterparts it will be easier)
  • Supports the expansion and improvement of innovation (it’s no longer a ‘side project’ or serendipity)
  • Sees innovation as a way to address a variety of challenges and to leverage opportunities (there’s different kinds of innovation, for different kinds of goals and innovation is a ‘resource’ governments can draw on)

Signing up to the OECD Declaration sends a strong signal  

Signing-up to the OECD Declaration is an important signal to the international community that the country has innovation on its radar and is committed to fostering it better. We are open to hearing from you about what you need from us to be able to work with the OECD Declaration. In the meantime, we have developed a flyer that has the five principles and next steps and a flyer on how different people can use it.

Access the full OECD Declaration (in English and French), the flyers and see details on how to join the ‘Declare to Innovate’ campaign to show your support here.

  1. Qué buena noticia, por fin se pone sobre la mesa internacional un tema de debate que debe estar en la agenda de todos los gobiernos, no se puede administrar lo público pensando desde el ayer, la diversidad de contextos, nos invita o mejor nos empuja a pensarnos en administraciones públicas con una capacidad de hacer desde la creatividad, las alianzas y la innovación; la confianza de los ciudadanos en el Estado también se genera por unas instituciones más cercanas, amables, dinámicas en sus procesos. En buena hora que este discurso se empiece a volver oficial y no dependiente de la voluntad de turno, necesitamos pensarnos como instituciones horizontales desde la innovación, porque el valor de lo público se promueve en todos los servidores públicos, no en estructuras jerarquizadas.

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