Mapping Public Sector Innovation Units in Australia and New Zealand - 2018 Survey Report

 
Mapping Public Sector Innovation Units in Australia and New Zealand - 2018 Survey Report
Mapping
    Public Sector
Innovation Units
 in Australia and
    New Zealand
    2018 Survey Report
Mapping Public Sector Innovation Units in Australia and New Zealand - 2018 Survey Report
Michael McGann, Jenny M Lewis, and Emma Blomkamp

This survey was funded by a research grant from The Australia and New
Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)

Cite this publication as: McGann, M, Lewis, JM and Blomkamp, E (2018)
Mapping public sector innovation units in Australia and New Zealand: 2018
survey report. Melbourne: The Policy Lab, The University of Melbourne.

The Policy Lab at the University of Melbourne addresses contemporary
challenges of politics and policy-making through research centred on three
main themes: opinion and expertise in politics and policy, policy systems, and
projects that deal with specific issues and policy sectors. Related to these
areas, The Policy Lab explores three core questions:

        What shapes policy decisions?
        How do policy systems and processes operate?
        What works in policy design?

If you are interested in The Policy Lab's projects or partnerships, you can
contact the team at the-policy-lab@unimelb.edu.au

Twitter: @ThePolicyLab
Medium: www.medium.com/the-policy-lab
Web: arts.unimelb.edu.au/the-policy-lab

The Policy Lab
School of Social and Political Sciences
University of Melbourne
CONTENTS

Executive summary / 4

Introduction / 7

About the Survey / 9

Organisational size and history / 11

Background and skill-sets of staff / 15

PSI units’ relationship to government / 18

Policy areas and innovation domains / 31

Methods of PSI Units / 29

Conclusion / 33

References / 34

Appendix A: List of participating PSI units by location / 35

Appendix B: Principal component analysis of innovation domains
and methods / 36

                                              3
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Public sector innovation (PSI) units are                    Over half were established within the past
increasingly being established and                           two years.
commissioned by governments to bring new
                                                         While we found several examples of very large
insights and approaches to policy design and
                                                         PSI units in Australia—including some with
the delivery of public services. According to
                                                         more than a hundred staff—the survey results
previous estimates, worldwide, there are
                                                         overall highlight the extent to which PSI units in
approximately 100 such units based within
                                                         Australia and New Zealand are very small
governments alone while new units are being
                                                         organisations:
created at ‘a rate of at least one a month’ (Price
2015). This report, based on a survey of PSI                About half of PSI units employ five staff or
units in Australia and New Zealand undertaken                fewer
in February 2018, suggests that the actual                  12 of the PSI units employ at most two
number of PSI units worldwide may be                         people.
significantly higher than previously thought.
                                                         As a result, PSI units may have to frequently
Although we surveyed PSI units based both
                                                         draw in external expertise or second staff from
within and outside of government, we
                                                         other agencies and departments to carry out
identified at least 26 PSI units based in various
                                                         work. This is implied by the extent to which we
levels of government in Australia and New
                                                         found PSI units in Australia—both within and
Zealand alone. There are a similar number of
                                                         outside of government—were utilising
non-government units and mixed-organisation
                                                         consultants and/or consultants:
types regularly undertaking public sector
innovation work with, or on behalf of,                      In the six months prior to the survey,
governments in Australia and New Zealand. This               government-based PSI units each hired just
includes organisations such as The Australian                under four consultants or contractors on
Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) and the                 average while units based outside
Behavioural Insights Teams, many of which                    government (independent PSI units) hired
collaborative extensively with state                         over six consultants or contractors on
governments. And this is only counting the PSI               average to carry out work on their behalf
units that responded to the invitation to
                                                            Government-based PSI units seconded an
participate in the survey.
                                                             average of just under three staff from other
All this suggests a vibrant public sector                    government agencies and departments in
innovation landscape is emerging in Australia                the six months prior to the survey
and New Zealand. This is reflected in how
                                                            More consultants/contractors than
recently many of the PSI units surveyed were
                                                             employees carried out work for
established:
                                                             independent PSI units in the six months
   Six of the government-based PSI units have               prior to the survey, suggesting that there
    been operating for 12-months or less                     may be a supply chain of public sector

                                                     4
innovation in Australia and New Zealand                   such as ‘Graphic design’ and ‘Service or
    whereby governments commission                            user experience design’
    independent PSI units who, in turn, further
                                                             Government-based PSI units tend to recruit
    subcontract work.
                                                              primarily from within the public sector
The relationship of PSI units to governments in
                                                             While these PSI units tend to recruit at least
Australia and New Zealand is highly varied,
                                                              some staff from outside government,
although the survey results suggest that most
                                                              including community-sector organisations
units can be classified as either government-
                                                              and design agencies, only about a third
controlled PSI units (based within and funded
                                                              report recruiting ‘many’ of their staff from
by government) or government-enabled units
                                                              outside government.
(non-government units that rely extensively on
government funding). Unlike some prominent                Similarly, the range of policy sectors and public
international examples such as the UK                     service delivery areas that PSI units work across
Government’s Policy Lab, very few (if any)                is wide:
government-based PSI units in Australia and
                                                             More than half of PSI units undertake work
New Zealand appear to charge out their
                                                              in the area of ‘Social issues, housing and
services despite regularly undertaking work for
                                                              welfare’
other agencies and departments:
                                                             ‘Public administration and governance’,
   Most of the government-PSI units surveyed
                                                              ‘Education’, ‘Health’, and ‘Indigenous and
    were funded by the national or federal
                                                              Maori issues’ are other prominent policy
    government, and based within a parent
                                                              sectors that many PSI units work on
    department or agency

   Only two were co-owned by multiple                       16 PSI units in Australia and New Zealand
    agencies or departments, and both of these                work on ‘Transport’ policy
    were NZ-based PSI units                                  12 PSI units undertake work on ‘Policing,
   10 of the Australian PSI units surveyed were              crime, and the justice system’, including
    based within a state government                           eight government-based PSI units.
    department or agency                                  Within these policy sectors, we have identified
   The survey results also indicate that                 three distinct domains of innovation that PSI
    independent PSI units regular carry out               units are involved in:
    work for state government departments
    and agencies.                                         1. Policy development and reform: involving
                                                             identifying or scoping problems, consulting
The skills-sets, qualifications and capabilities of          with stakeholders, scaling and spreading
people working within PSI units in Australia and             new approaches, supporting and
New Zealand are very diverse:                                developing partnerships, developing policy
   Qualifications in ‘Sociology or social work’             proposals and reforms, and working on
    and ‘Management and business                             systemic change;
    administration’ are the most common,                  2. Evaluation and systems improvement:
   Many PSI units are staffed by people with                based around evaluating
    formal qualifications in design disciples                programs/trials/pilots, incorporating
                                                             technology into public administration,

                                                      5
organisational change management, and               and New Zealand, which converge around three
    business systems or process improvement;            main frameworks:
    and
                                                         1. A Human-Centred Design framework: this
3. User and customer-experience:
                                                            is associated with the use of ‘interviews
   understanding users’ experiences,
                                                            and/or empathy conversations’; ‘focus
   generating ideas, piloting/prototyping
                                                            groups’; ‘ethnographic methods’;
   solutions, and service or customer
                                                            ‘citizen/stakeholder engagement through
   experience (re)design.
                                                            workshops, walkthroughs, and other
                                                            collaborative approaches’; ‘user
Many PSI units undertake work in all three
                                                            testing/prototyping’; and ‘systems thinking
domains of innovation, although activities in the
                                                            or mapping’;
domains of User and customer-experience and
Policy development and reform appear to be               2. An Evidence-based framework: this is
the predominant focus of PSI units, with                    associated with the use of ‘RCTs’;
individual PSI units appearing to frequently                ‘Behavioural Insights’; ‘Survey research’;
undertake activities in both these domains.                 ‘Research/evidence reviews’; and the
                                                            ‘Analysis of existing (big) data sets’; and
They also bring a variety of methodological
                                                         3. An Agile methods framework: this is
frameworks and approaches to the work that
                                                            associated with the use of ‘design sprints’;
they are undertaking in these domains and
                                                            ‘agile or lean project management’; and
policy areas, but especially a suite of methods
                                                            ‘challenge prizes, awards, and open
associated with Human-Centred Design. This
                                                            innovation programs’.
underlines how the spread of PSI labs
internationally has been associated with                Of these three, HCD was the methodological
growing interest in the application of ‘design          framework most frequently employed by the
thinking’ to policy. This relationship between          PSI units surveyed, and was associated with PSI
the emergence of PSI units and ‘design thinking’        units undertaking activities in the domains of
approaches to policy and public sector reform is        Policy development and reform and User and
largely confirmed by the survey results on the          customer experience.
methods that PSI units are using in Australia

                                                    6
INTRODUCTION

The number of public sector innovation (PSI)          The reasons why governments are turning to
units – sometimes also referred to as                 these ‘islands of experimentation’ (Tõnurist et
government innovation labs or i-teams - has           al. 2017) are varied. Some commentators argue
spread rapidly in recent years, both                  that the proliferation of PSI units reflects a
internationally as well as in Australia and New       heightened emphasis on evidence-based
Zealand. Prominent international examples             policymaking by government departments and
include the Danish Government’s MindLab, and          public agencies.
the UK Policy Lab. MindLab is a cross-
                                                      Others have associated PSI units with the
departmental innovation unit, jointly owned by
                                                      pursuit of ‘open government’ agendas and
the Danish Ministries of Industry, Employment,
                                                      initiatives to promote transparency,
and Education, while Policy Lab is formally
                                                      accountability, and the empowerment of
located within the Cabinet Office of the UK
                                                      citizens through new technology and data
Government although it works across the whole
                                                      sharing platforms (Gryszkiewicz et al. 2016, 7).
public service.
                                                      This seems to be a particularly important focus
PSI units thus have varying relationships to          of the work of PSI units in Latin American and
government and differences in their relative          Caribbean countries (Acevedo and Dassen
proximity to executive decision-making. This is       2016). Many others identify the spread of PSI
what Geoff Mulgan (2014) describes as the             units with the recent upsurge in interest in co-
‘radical’s dilemma’: working at a distance may        design and the application of various ‘design
enable PSI units to develop more frame-               thinking’ practices to public policy (Bailey and
breaking alternatives to the status quo but at        Lloyd 2016; Bason 2013; Fuller and Lochard
the risk of being ignored and marginalised;           2016; Mintrom and Luetjens 2016).
while working more centrally within
                                                      On occasion, commentators have indeed
government may enable units to more directly
                                                      defined PSI units by their emphasis on using
influence policymaking but at the risk of being
                                                      innovative design methods to ‘reform and
co-opted and shifted from radical to
                                                      change the way government operates’ (Bason
incremental change.
                                                      and Schneider 2014, 35) and ‘involve all
Importantly, not all PSI units are based within       stakeholders in the design process’ (Fuller and
government. Many operate instead as                   Lochard 2016, 1). This reflects the view among
independent organisations that work with—and          many practitioners and commentators that the
for—governments on a commissioned basis to            previous ways in which governments have
support agencies and departments looking to           sought to design and implement policies are no
innovate in policy design or public service           longer suited to the complexity of today’s policy
delivery. This includes some of the most              and social challenges (Kimbell 2016); that the
frequently cited examples of PSI units, such as       systemic nature of policy challenges in areas
Nesta’s Innovation Lab and The Australian             such as health, social services, employment and
Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) (see, for        education (among others) leaves governments
example, Puttick et al. 2014; Selloni and             with little choice ‘but to innovate’ (Puttick
Staszowski 2013).                                     2014, 20)—principally through embracing a
                                                      more ‘experiment-oriented’ (Fuller and Lochard

                                                  7
2016, 14) approach that, in turn, requires              supported by a grant from The Australia and
drawing on capabilities and skills-sets usually         New Zealand School of Government, and feeds
not available in the public sector (Carstensen          into wider ongoing research that The Policy Lab
and Bason 2012, 5).                                     is carrying out on the sector throughout 2018.
                                                        This includes detailed case studies of five PSI
While the age of the innovation lab has arrived,
                                                        units to further explore their collaborative
little is known about what these labs do, how
                                                        governance arrangements and the challenges
they differ from other public sector change
                                                        and opportunities they experience in
agents and policy actors, and what range of
                                                        contributing to policy innovation and reform at
approaches they are bringing to contemporary
                                                        different jurisdictional levels. Further details
policy challenges (McGann et al 2018). Further,
                                                        about this ongoing work are available on the
although several international mapping reports
                                                        project web page:
and practice guides on PSI units have been
                                                        http://go.unimelb.edu.au/ix86.
produced within the past five years, the
emerging landscape of PSI units in Australia and
New Zealand has yet to fully documented or
mapped. Interested parties had been
wondering:

  How many PSI units are now operating in
   Australia and New Zealand?
  How recently have they been established
   and what are the key challenges they face
   to their operation and survival?
  What are the key levels of government and
   policy areas that they are working within?
  What are the distinct capabilities and
   approaches that these units are drawing
   on and bringing to innovation in public
   service delivery and policy design?

To address these questions about the
emergence of PSI units in Australia and New
Zealand (NZ), The Policy Lab at the University of
Melbourne undertook an exploratory survey of
the sector in early 2018. The survey was

                                                    8
ABOUT THE SURVEY

The survey was carried out online from 29               This involved directly approaching PSI units
January to 25 February 2018. For the purposes           within and outside of government that we were
of the survey, PSI units were defined as any unit       already aware of to participate in the survey,
or team that was ‘established for the purposes          publicising the survey via The Policy Lab’s
of supporting public or social innovation’              website, social media and mailing list, and via
including both ‘units within government, or the         contacts within government and the wider
public sector, as well as non-government                public sector. For example, an email about the
organisations and labs that work with                   survey was circulated to ‘Heads of Labs’ within
governments on public sector innovation.’               the Australian Public Service via the Public
                                                        Sector Innovation Network (PSIN), which is
The question of how to define PSI units is a
                                                        managed by BizLab within the Department of
contentious issue due to the multiplicity of
                                                        Industry, Innovation, and Science. The PSIN also
organisations that feature in discussions of the
                                                        included an article about the survey in its
emergence of innovation units and labs, and
                                                        weekly email circular, ‘Bits of News’, which goes
their heterogenous nature (McGann et al. 2018;
                                                        out to more than 3,600 subscribers, including
Tõnurist et al. 2017). For this reason, and
                                                        people working within Local and State
reflecting the exploratory nature of the survey,
                                                        Government and non-government
we opted for a definition that enabled us to
                                                        organisations who are interested in public
include or exclude potential participants based
                                                        sector innovation.
upon whether they self-identified as being
established to support public sector innovation.        Additionally, the survey was promoted to
Subsequent questions probed participants                members of the Australia and New Zealand
about the extent to which they are funded by            School of Government – which includes public
governments and undertake projects for                  servants working within the New Zealand
government departments and public agencies              Government, the Australian Government, and
at various levels. The answers that participants        all State governments in Australia – and via
gave to these questions indicated that the non-         Twitter using the hashtag #psilabs. This is
government units and teams that responded to            recognised as a commonly followed hashtag by
the survey nonetheless regularly worked for,            practitioners within the field of public sector
and with, government partners on public                 innovation, particularly among those involved in
service and policy design innovation projects.          innovation units and teams (Williamson 2015).
                                                        Finally, individual survey participants were
As the total number of PSI units operating in
                                                        asked to nominate other PSI units or teams that
Australia and New Zealand is unknown, we
                                                        they were aware of who might wish to take
adopted a multifaceted and snowball sampling
                                                        part.
approach to recruiting potential participants.

                                                    9
A total of 52 PSI units and teams took part in                   lab in exchange for receiving personal
the survey, once duplicate and unusable                          office/studio space from Moreland City Council.
responses had been removed from the data                         A full list of participating units and teams is
file. This included 13 responses from NZ-based                   provided in Appendix A, with 11 out of the 52
units and 39 responses from PSI units and                        respondents indicating that they have offices in
teams based in Australia. As Table 1 shows, 26                   multiple locations.
out of the 52 units and teams that responded
                                                                 While the survey included both government-
to the survey were based within government –
                                                                 based PSI units as well as units operating as
albeit at different levels – while a further 23
                                                                 non-government organisations – and also units
units were independent from government in
                                                                 innovating in public service design as well as
the sense that they had operational
                                                                 teams working on policy innovation – the
independence and were not subject to direct
                                                                 number of units that responded to the survey
oversight by a government department or
                                                                 suggest that the total number of PSI units
agency. Three PSI units were mixed-
                                                                 worldwide has been substantially under-
organisations that operated as a partnership
                                                                 estimated in previous research. For example, it
between government and a community-sector
                                                                 is commonly reported that ‘Worldwide there
or non-profit organisation. In New Zealand, this
                                                                 are over 100 Policy Labs, approximately 65 of
included the Tamaki Mental Health and
                                                                 these are in Europe’ (Whicher 2017). The term
Wellbeing Team, which is a partnership
                                                                 ‘policy lab’, as used in these estimates, is more
between the Auckland District Health Board, its
                                                                 narrowly defined than how the term ‘PSI unit’
primary care partners, and the Tamaki locality.
                                                                 has been used to determine eligibility for
In Australia, this included Designing Out Crime,
                                                                 participation in this survey. Nevertheless, the
which is a research partnership between the
                                                                 survey has identified that there are at least 26
NSW Department of Justice and the University
                                                                 government-based PSI units in Australia and
of Technology Sydney; and the Moreland Civics
                                                                 New Zealand alone—units that closely
Lab, which is an experimental lab for local
                                                                 resemble the government innovation and policy
government issues in which designers, artists
                                                                 labs featured in international reports.
and researchers contribute to the work of the

                                        Table 1: Profile of Participants

                               Based           Independent        Mixed           Total
                               within          from govt          organisations
                               govt
                 New Zealand   5               7                  1               13
                 ACT           10              2                                  12
                 NSW           4               5                  1               10
                 QLD           1                                                  1
                 SA            1               2                                  3
                 VIC           4               6                  1               11
                 WA            1               1                                  2
                 Total         26              23                 3               52

                                                      10
ORGANISATIONAL SIZE AND HISTORY

Previous studies have characterised PSI units as                 Only four PSI units reported that their
‘islands of experimentation’ (Schuurman and                      establishment was an initiative of an elected
Tõnurist 2017, 9) within the public sector,                      official or member of government. This
emphasising their fluid structure, relatively                    suggests that the emergence of PSI units within
short life span, and small size in comparison to                 government in Australia and New Zealand is
other public sector organisations (Tõnurist et al.               being driven by public managers and
2017). This is reflected in our survey findings, as              administrators, rather than by politicians or
reported in Figure 1. Almost a quarter of the PSI                elected officials seeking to promote a policy
units based within government (6 out of 26)                      agenda of government innovation and public
have been in existence for 12 months or less,                    sector reform. This marks one way in which the
and three quarters (20 out of the 26) have been                  recent proliferation of PSI units can be
established within the past three years.                         distinguished from earlier public reform
                                                                 agendas and discourses, such as the
By comparison, the non-government or
                                                                 ‘government reinvention’ labs that were
independent PSI units tend to have a more
                                                                 established in hundreds of US Government
established organisational history with almost
                                                                 departments and agencies in the early to mid-
two thirds (15 out of 23) indicating that they
                                                                 1990s under the direction of the Clinton
had been operating in their present form for
                                                                 administration (Thompson and Ingraham 1996).
three years or more. When asked about how
the decision to establish their unit or team                     The results reported in Figures 2 and 3 show
came about, the overwhelming majority of                         that PSI units—both within and outside of
government-based PSI units (70.8%) reported                      government—are overwhelmingly very small
that it was ‘an initiative of the head or chief                  organisations in terms of the number of staff
executive officer of a government/council                        they employ. Although seven PSI units reported
department or agency.’                                           employing more than 20 staff, approximately
                                                                 half of the units surveyed directly employed five
                                                                 staff or fewer.

                                      Figure 1: How long have labs existed?

    INDEPENDENT (23)

      GOV-BASED (26)

                       0%    10%      20%     30%      40%       50%    60%      70%     80%     90%   100%

                 ·     12 months or less                     ·    More than 1 but less than 2 years
                 ·     More than 2 but less than 3 years     ·    3 to 5 years
                 ·     More than 5 but less than 10 years    ·    10 years or more

                                                      11
Indeed, almost a quarter employed                     Zealand had seconded 70 of its staff to
considerably fewer staff than this with one in        government departments and public-sector
five government-based units reporting                 agencies. In contrast to seconded staff, the
employing no more than two direct employees           survey results indicate that PSI units make
and one in four independent units reporting the       frequent use of consultants and that this is a
same.                                                 consistent pattern across units based within
                                                      and outside of government. For example,
The small size of PSI units suggests that they
                                                      across government-based PSI units the ratio of
may rely heavily on either working with external
                                                      consultants (used within the previous six
consultants or seconding staff from (other)
                                                      months) to employees was just under half (i.e.
departments and agencies when carrying out
                                                      units had commissioned one consultant for
projects. However, we found that few PSI units
                                                      nearly every two of their direct employees)
relied on seconding staff from government
                                                      while among independent PSI units it was
departments and agencies. Only 10 of the
                                                      higher still (1.6 consultants per direct
government-based PSI units surveyed reported
                                                      employee).
having seconded ANY staff to work with them
within the previous six months. And although
the mean number of seconded staff reported             Lab Example 1: Co-design and Innovation Lab
by government-based PSI units was 2.9 people,          Based within Tauranga City Council, New Zealand.
the magnitude of this number was largely
                                                       Established within the past two years.
accounted for by two PSI units who each
reported seconding a total of 30 or more staff         Employs three staff members.
from other government departments and                  Additionally engaged four consultants as well as
agencies (the Project Office within Policy             seconding four additional staff from other agencies
Innovation and Projects Division of the                and departments to work on projects within the
                                                       previous six months.
Australian Government’s Department of Prime
Minister and Cabinet, and the Service
                                                       Lab Example 2: BizLab
Innovation Lab within the New Zealand
Government’s Department of Internal Affairs).          Based within the Australian Government’s
                                                       Department for Industry, Innovation and Science.
PSI units reported being even less likely to place
                                                       Established within the past two years.
their own staff into government departments
and agencies to work on projects, with only six        Employs 15 staff members.
government-based PSI units reporting having            Within the six months prior to the survey, this was
seconded their own staff to work within                also supplemented by three interns and two staff
another department or agency within the                members seconded from other government agencies
                                                       and departments.
previous six months. The comparatively high
mean number of staff that independent PSI              One of the few (6 in total) government-based PSI
                                                       units that reported seconding its own staff (3 staff
units reported seconding to government
                                                       members) to another agency or department to
agencies (5.4 staff) can be partly explained by        undertake project work.
the fact that one international design agency
with multiple offices in Australia and New

                                                 12
Figure 2: How PSI units are staffed (Government-based units)

              20+                         2 staff
              staff                         or
                                          fewer
                                                                           Employees (mean)

                       Proportion
        11 to          of units by                                         Consultants used in last 6 months (mean)
       20 staff         staff size

                                                3 to 5                     Seconded FROM a gov. dept. within last 6 months
                                                 staff

                                                                           Unit staff seconded to work within a gov. dept. in last 6 months
             6 to 10
              staff

                                                                           Ratio of consultants to employees

             Figure 3: How PSI units are staffed (Independent units)

     20+                                        2 staff
     staff                                        or
                                                fewer                     Employees (mean)

                      Proportion of
                      units by staff                                      Consultants used in last 6 months (mean)
 11 to                     size
20 staff
                                                                          Seconded FROM a gov. dept. within last 6 months

                                                 3 to 5
       6 to 10                                    staff                   Unit staff seconded to work within a gov. dept. in last 6 months
        staff

                                                                          Ratio of consultants to employees

              Figure 4: Ratio of consultants to employees by organisation size

                       Units with 2 or less staff

                       Units with 3-5 staff

                       Units with 6-10 staff

                       Units with 11-20 staff

                       Units with 20+ staff

                                                          13
The reliance of PSI units on engaging external
                                                            Lab example 4: Co-Design Studio
consultants may necessitate from the small
number of staff they directly employ.                       A design consultancy firm head-quartered in
                                                            Melbourne with a sister office in Brisbane.
Although units with a higher number of direct
employees generally reported commissioning                  It has been operating for over five years, employing
more consultants and contractors than units                 12 staff members.

with fewer direct employees, smaller PSI units              This is supplemented by a mix of interns and
nevertheless reported engaging a                            contracted consultants, with Co-Design Studio
considerable number of consultants in                       engaging 10 consultants and employing 10 interns in
                                                            the six months prior to the survey.
comparison to their organisational size. This is
illustrated by the high ratio of consultants to
direct employees among PSI units with small                 Example 5: Smart City Office
numbers of employees, reported in Figure 4                  Based within the City of Melbourne.
above.
                                                            Established within the past three years.

                                                            Employs a total of 40 direct staff. Within the six
 Lab example 3: ThinkPlace                                  months prior to the survey, this was supplemented
 An international strategic design consultancy firm         by the engagement of 10 consultants.
 that has been operating for over 10 years.

 It has offices in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne,
 Wellington, and Auckland, and employs
 approximately 80 staff.

 Within the six months prior to the survey, it had
 seconded 70 of its staff to working within
 government departments and agencies.

 Conversely, it rarely utilises consultants or staff
 seconded from elsewhere, only engaging four
 consultants and one staff member from a
 government department or agency to work on
 projects

                                                       14
BACKGROUND AND SKILL-SET OF STAFF

Globally, the spread of PSI units has been                   government-based PSI units. This reflects the
heralded as part of a movement ‘that is bringing             participation of several behavioural insights units
knowledge and practices developed in other                   in the survey, although it is surprising that
fields into the heart of the public service’ (Puttick        comparatively few (less than one in three) PSI
et al. 2014, 5). This is thought to be especially            units reported having staff with formal
true of PSI units that are committed to applying             qualifications in economics – another discipline
‘design thinking’ to policymaking (Bason 2013;               that is strongly associated with drawing on
Mintrom and Luetjens 2016). But to what extent               behavioural insights for policy. What Figure 5 also
is this true of PSI units that are operating in              illustrates is the high proportion of PSI units
Australia and New Zealand? We sought to                      employing people with formal qualifications in
address this question by surveying units about               design disciplines such as ‘graphic design’ and
the formal qualifications held by their staff, and           ‘service or user experience design’ (18 PSI units
the sectors from which they have recruited staff             in total reported employing staff with these
— for example, whether their employees have                  qualifications). This is the case across both
considerable private sector experience, or have              government-based and independent PSI units,
previously worked in design agencies or in                   although it is especially true of the latter with just
academia or other research organisations.                    under half (47.6%) of independent PSI units
                                                             indicating that their staff held formal
The findings reported in Figure 5 show that PSI
                                                             qualifications in graphic design.
units employ staff with very diverse skill-sets.
‘Sociology or social work’ was the discipline most           Figure 5: Skill sets of staff in PSI units
frequently identified by PSI units overall in terms             Data science or analytics
of the formal qualifications held by their staff,                        Political science
with 20 PSI units in total reporting that they had                            Psychology
staff with such qualifications. This likely also                              Economics

reflects the types of policy issues that PSI units       Marketing and communications

work in (See Figure 18), with ‘Social Issues,                   Management or business…
                                                                   Accounting or finance
Welfare and Housing’ the main policy area that
                                                                                     Law
PSI units report working on by some distance.
                                                             IT or software development
Among government-based PSI units, the most
                                                             Industrial or product design
frequently reported qualification held by staff
                                                        Service or user experience design
was in ‘Management or business administration’                            Graphic Design
(13 out of 22 government-based PSI units that                                Engineering
responded to this question) followed by ‘Law’ (11               Architecture or planning
PSI units). Only nine government-based PSI units                               Education
reporting having staff with formal qualifications                Sociology or social work
in ‘Sociology or social work’. Following business                          Anthropology

and legal qualifications, ‘Psychology’ was the next                                     0            5       10   15
most commonly reported discipline by                                          Independent         Government

                                                   15
The ‘design’ background of PSI unit staff is             ongoing operation. Not surprisingly, ‘risk
further reflected in the proportion of units who         aversion’ was the most frequently reported
report that either ‘some’ or ‘many or almost all’        challenge identified by government-based PSI
of their staff worked in a design agency prior to        units, with 18 government-based units reporting
joining their unit or team. As Figure 7 shows,           that they had encountered this as an obstacle to
almost 70 per cent of independent PSI units (13          their operation or establishment.
out of the 19 units responding to this question)
                                                         Figure 6: Sectors from which Government-based PSI unit
reported that some, many or almost all their staff       staff have been recruited
had prior experience working in a design agency.
This compared with only eight government-based                Overseas innovation units

PSI units that reporting having recruited some or          Other innovation units within
                                                                   your country
many staff from design agencies (See Fig. 6).
                                                            Academic or other research
Rather, government-based PSI units appear to be                   organisations
heavily reliant on recruiting people already within                Other private sector
                                                                       businesses
the public sector, with 18 government-based PSI
                                                           Management or consultancy
units reporting that ‘many or almost all’ their                    firms
staff previously worked in the public sector, and a                     Design agencies
further five reporting that ‘some of their staff’
                                                           Non-government community
previously worked in the public sector before                        sector
joining their unit or team.                                               Public sector

When government-based PSI units do recruit                                                 0    5    10     15    20   25
from outside the public sector, it appears that
                                                                           Some           Many or almost all
they are marginally more likely to do so from
non-profit organisations rather than commercial
                                                         Figure 7: Sectors from which Independent PSI unit staff have
enterprises. What is noticeable across both              been recruited
government-based and independent PSI units is
                                                            Overseas innovation units
the proportion of units (over a third) that have
                                                         Other innovation units within
recruited staff from either an overseas or                       your country
domestically-based PSI unit.                               Academic or other research
                                                                 organisations
Staffing issues, and the capabilities and skill-sets              Other private sector
of personnel emerged as important operational                         businesses

challenges that the PSI units surveyed reported           Management or consultancy
                                                                  firms
(See Figs. 8 and 9). For example, half of PSI units
                                                                      Design agencies
overall ‘agreed or strongly agreed’ that the
‘difficulty of attracting highly skilled staff’ was an        Non-government or
                                                               community sector
important challenge they experienced. Among
government-based PSI units, 16 PSI units                                 Public sector

reported that ‘lack of capabilities and skill-sets                                         0     5     10        15    20
within the organisation’ was a key challenge they
                                                                           Some          Many or almost all
experienced to either their establishment or

                                                    16
The challenges identified by PSI units in this                         Bureaucracies function to bring ‘predictability
survey echo long-standing concerns about the                           and order’ (Puttick et al. 2014, 3) but this can
capacity for innovation within public sector                           engrain an aversion to risk within their
organisations and whether bureaucratically                             organisational cultures not least of all because of
structured departments and agencies are suited                         the political accountability and public scrutiny
to developing ‘radical new solutions’ to complex                       they are subject to (Schuurman and Tõnurist
social and policy problems (Carstensen and                             2017, 7). This takes us to a consideration of PSI
Bason 2012, 3).                                                        units’ relationship to government and the
                                                                       executive, which we examine in the next section.
 Figure 8: Challenges reported by Government-based PSI units           Figure 9: Challenges reported by Independent PSI units

                                                                              Lack of operational capacity
      Lack of operational capacity
                                                                              within the organisation
      within the organisation

      Risk aversion within                                                         Risk aversion within the
      the organisation                                                             organisation

       Funding constraints                                                             Funding constraints

  Lack of commitment to driving innovation of change
  from senior internal/external decision makers                        Lack of commitment to driving
                                                                       innovation or change from senior
                                                                       internal/external decision makers

  Difficulty of securing endorsement from host org. leadership            Difficulty of securing
                                                                          endorsement from the unit or
                                                                          team's host organisation's
                                                                          leadership

      Lack of capabilities and skills-
      sets within the organisation                                      Lack of capabilities and skills-sets
                                                                        within the organisation

       Difficulty of attracting
         highly skilled staff                                                 Difficulty of attracting highly
                                                                              skilled staff

-20                -10               0         10                20     -15         -10          -5             0   5    10     15

      Disagree or strongly disagree      Agree or Strong Agree

                                                                  17
PSI UNITS’ RELATIONSHIP TO GOVERNMENT
The units and teams participating in this survey    clients and community-sector organisations, we
have widely varied relationships to government      can similarly map PSI units in Australia and New
and the public sector. Although half of the units   Zealand along these dimensions.
surveyed could be described as based within
                                                    The results reported in Figures 10 and 11 suggest
government, 23 out of the 52 units that took part
                                                    that PSI units in Australia and New Zealand tend
in the survey were independent from government
                                                    to operate predominantly as either government-
in the sense that they were not based within a
                                                    controlled units – i.e. units based within the public
government department, agency or public sector
                                                    sector and wholly-funded by government – or
organisation but operated as independent
                                                    government-enabled units – i.e. units located in
organisations that partnered with public sector
                                                    non-government or for-profit organisations but
organisations to drive innovation and reform in
                                                    which rely on government funding. For example,
policy design and public service delivery.
                                                    14 out of the 20 independent PSI units that
Elsewhere we have distinguished four broad
                                                    answered this question estimated that either
organisational forms of PSI units based on the
                                                    most of all of their annual budget is derived from
extent to which they are funded, and subject to
                                                    ‘contract funding from government clients’.
oversight, by government (McGann et al. 2018):
                                                    However, six of the PSI units based outside of
 1. Government-controlled units that are based      government reported that they received no
    within/owned by a government                    contract funding from government clients and so,
    department(s) or public sector agency and       in this sense, could best be described as entirely
    wholly funded by government                     independently-run units. Only one government-
 2. Government-led units that are based             based PSI unit reported receiving any funding
    within/owned by a government                    from non-government sources. What is also
    department(s) or public sector agency but       evident from the results reported in Figure 10 is
    only partly funded by government                that very few government-based PSI units (only
 3. Government-enabled units that are based         four) operate on a fee-for-service model whereby
    within or operate as a non-government           other departments and agencies (within the
    organisation but rely to a significant extent   public sector) engage them to work on projects on
    on government funding (mainly through           a commissioned basis. This is reflected in the fact
    contracts)                                      that 17 of the government-based PSI units
 4. Independently-run units that are based within   reported that they were entirely funded by ‘direct
    the private or third sector and which receive   budget allocation’, which has been described
    no government funding (these types of           elsewhere as a ‘sponsorship model’ (Whicher
    innovation units are most analogous to think    2017, 7) for funding innovation units.
    tanks that seek to influence public sector
                                                    The survey findings clearly suggest that, unlike PSI
    innovation and reform through independent
                                                    units internationally such as the UK Policy Lab,
    research, advocacy, and the promotion of
                                                    only a very small fraction of government-based
    ideas)
                                                    PSI units in Australia or New Zealand operate on a
Drawing on how PSI units responded to questions     cost-recovery or commercial model whereby they
about the extent to which they are funded by        charge client departments for the work that they
government or rely on funding from private          do.

                                              18
Figure 10: How Government-based PSI units are funded        Figure 11: How Independent PSI units are funded

                                                                External fundraising/grants
                                   24                               from foundations or            11        8 1
 External fundraising/grants                                    philanthropic organisations
     from foundations or
 philanthropic organisations

                                                              Contract funding from private
                                   24                           enterprises or businesses
                                                                                                    9         11
     Contract funding from
     private enterprises or
           businesses

                                                             Contract funding from not-for-
                                   23 1                               profit clients
                                                                                                    9         9    2

 Contract funding from not-
      for-profit clients

                                                                     Contract funding from
                                   20 4                               government clients
                                                                                                       6 3        11

     Contract funding from
      government clients

                                                              Direct budget allocation from
                                        25 17                       government/host               14     4 11
    Direct budget allocation                                          department(s)
    from government/host
         department(s)

            None               Some of budget                          None                   Some of budget
            Most of budget     All of budget                           Most of budget         All of budget

This is somewhat surprising given that, as the data         Focusing on PSI units based within government
reported in Figure 12 shows, a significant                  and the public sector, we next consider the
proportion of government-based PSI units are                different levels of government that they are
undertaking work for other government                       located in and the extent to which government-
departments and agencies. PSI units                         based PSI units in Australia and New Zealand are
predominantly report that the projects they                 cross-agency initiatives or nested within single
undertake are either requested by the parent                departments and agencies.
department or agency in which they are based, or
                                                            As Figure 13 shows, despite the significant
are self-generated initiatives of their own unit or
                                                            number of units that undertake work across
team – indicating that PSI units generally have a
                                                            departments, 17 of the government-based units
considerable degree of organisational autonomy
                                                            surveyed reported that they were owned by, and
(Tõnurist et al. 2017, 15). Nevertheless, 12 of the
                                                            based within, a single government department or
government-based units reported that the
                                                            agency.
projects that they work on sometimes or often
originate from another government department
or agency.

                                                       19
Figure 12: Origin of Government-based PSI units’ projects         Figure 13: Location of PSI Units within Government

        Another government
        department or agency

   From the central executive                                        0        5         10        15         20        25     30
   branch (e.g. Department of
   Prime Minister and Cabinet                                            Based within a parent government department or agency
     or Premier and Cabinet)                                             Co-owned by multiple government departments or agencies
                                                                         Based within the central executive branch
  From within your own unit or
    team (e.g. self-generated                                            Operates as a separate public sector organisation
            projects)

 Your parent department(s) or
   agency(ies) (if relevant)
                                                                     0                 10                  20                30
                                 0    5     10     15   20                  National government (funded by)
               Sometimes         Quite or very often                        State government (funded by)
                                                                            Local or municipal government (funded by)

Only two government-based PSI units reported                      For the purposes of this analysis, we have
that they were co-owned by multiple                               grouped government-based PSI units into units
departments or agencies (the MindLab model),                      based within national government and units
and both were New Zealand PSI units. These                        based within a state or territory government (we
were: the NZ Government’s Service Innovation                      have excluded units based within local
Lab, which is located within the Department of                    government, since only 3 PSI units reported being
Internal Affairs but funded by (and works across)                 based within local government).
multiple government agencies, and the Auckland
                                                                  The data suggest that PSI units are very frequently
Co-Design Lab, which is a partnership between
                                                                  in communication with other government
Auckland Council and eight different central
                                                                  agencies and departments, particularly on a
government agencies. This funding model was
                                                                  ‘weekly’ or monthly’ basis, although cooperation
unique among the PSI units surveyed, with
                                                                  across different levels of government is less
Auckland Co-Design Lab being the only unit that
                                                                  common. In particular, PSI units appear to seldom
reported being funded by or accountable to
                                                                  engage with local government unless they are
multiple different levels of government – in this
                                                                  units directly based within local government. On
case central and municipal government.
                                                                  the other hand, PSI units based within state or
Figure 14 details the survey findings on how                      territory governments reported frequently
frequently PSI units within government are in                     engaging with national government, with four
contact (excluding email circulars) with staff from               state-based PSI units indicating that they are in
other government agencies and departments, as                     ‘weekly’ contact with someone from a
well as the extent to which PSI units based within                central/federal government department or
national government agencies and departments                      agency. This is in contrast to the lack of weekly
are interacting with people from state and local                  communication between units based within
government and vice versa.                                        national government and people from lower
                                                                  levels of government.

                                                             20
Figure 14: Frequency of contact across agencies and levels of government

       PSI units based in national government                           PSI units based in state or territory governments

     Someone from local                                                       Someone from local
                                     5       1 1         2                                                 4               2       1           2
        government                                                               government

    Someone from a                                                        Someone from a
      state/territory                                                       state/territory
                             1     2     2           3                                               1         3           2               3
 government department                                                 government department
     or public agency                                                      or public agency

      Someone from a                                                           Someone from a
    (another) central or                                                     (another) central or
                                 4               5                                                   1 1           2   1               4
    Federal government                                                       Federal government
   department or agency                                                     department or agency

 Someone from your unit's                                               Someone from your
  parent department or       1 1             6                        unit's parent department        1    1                   4
         agency                                                               or agency

                            0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%                                                 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

      Never                        Less than quartery                             Never                        Less than quartery
      Quarterly                    Monthly                                        Quarterly                    Monthly
      Weekly                                                                      Weekly

                                                                    Note: only units that are based within either national or state
                                                                    governments are compared, due to the very small number of
                                                                    units (3) based within the local or municipal government.

The survey also asked PSI units to report on the                    There was also a high-level of ‘quarterly’ contact
extent to which they are in contact with a range of                 with PSI units overseas, further pointing to the
external stakeholders (including private sector                     strong collaborative linkages between PSI units.
businesses, individual citizens, and community                      What was somewhat surprising, however, was the
sector organisations) and participating in                          number of government-based PSI units that
networks of public sector innovation units                          reported ‘never’ communicating with an
nationally and internationally.                                     individual member of the public (6 out of 21), a
                                                                    representative of a citizen or consumer
The data suggest that networking with other PSI
                                                                    interest/advocacy group (6), or a representative
units is high among government-based PSI units,
                                                                    of a community sector organisation. The lack of
with half reporting that they are in at least
                                                                    engagement with citizens and community
‘monthly’ communication with a representative
                                                                    stakeholders is particularly surprising in light of
from a public sector innovation network or
                                                                    the very strong emphasis that PSI units seem to
professional association within their own country.
                                                                    place on understanding citizens’/users’
                                                                    experiences, consulting with stakeholders, and
                                                                    service or customer experience (re)design in

                                                             21
terms of how they describe the domains of                                                 Figure 16: Networking and frequency of contact with
                                                                                          stakeholders (Independent PSI units)
innovation that they frequently work on (see next
section). This raises the question of how PSI units
are consulting and engaging with citizens to                                                 An individual member of the
                                                                                                                               11              5                       8
understand their experiences and co-design new                                                          public
approaches and services with them, if many never
                                                                                           A representative of a citizen or
actually communicate with individual members of                                             consumer interest/advocacy         2 11                    7                       4
the public or representatives of citizen interest                                                      group
groups.
                                                                                            Researchers from a university
                                                                                                                               2               5               4               4
                                                                                            or other academic institution
Figure 15: Networking and frequency of contact outside of
government (Government-based PSI units)
                                                                                                    A representative of a
                                                                                                     community sector          1 2                 5                   7
                                                                                                    organisation or NGO
  An individual member of
                                   6           21            6               6               Someone from a private firm
         the public
                                                                                                                               11              4       2               7
                                                                                                   or business
    A representative of a
     citizen or consumer           6           2 3               6               4                    Someone from local
  interest/advocacy group                                                                                                      1 2             2       5                   5
                                                                                                         government

    Researchers from a                                                                             Someone from a
     university or other       2 2                  12                       6                state/territory government           2                           8
    academic institution                                                                     department or public agency

     A representative of a                                                                   Someone from a (another)
      community sector             5       1 4                   7               4         central or Federal government           2       2           5                   5
     organisation or NGO                                                                       department or agency
                                                                                              A representative of a public
  Someone from a private                                                                     sector innovation network or          3           3           4               4       1
                         1 3               4             7                   7                  professional association…
     firm or business
                                                                                              Someone from the OECD
   A representative of a
                                                                                             Observatory of Public Sector              1                           2
  public sector innovation
                           2           4        4                11                  1               Innovation
  network or professional
  association within your…                                                                  Someone from a public sector
  Someone from the OECD                                                                       innovation unit in another       11              5                   7               1
   Observatory of Public                                                                               country
                                           14                            5       3
     Sector Innovation
                                                                                                                              0%       20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
   Someone from a public                                                                        Never    Less than quarterly       Quarterly           Monthly                 Weekly
  sector innovation unit in    2           9                         9           02
      another country
                                                                                          In contrast to government-based PSI units, the
                              0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
                                                                                          independent units surveyed reported engaging
          Never                                Less than quarterly                        with citizens and community interest groups on a
          Quarterly                            Monthly
          Weekly                                                                          very frequent basis. Eight out of 15 independent
                                                                                          PSI units reported being in contact with individual
                                                                                          members of the public on a ‘weekly’ basis, with a
                                                                                          further five units communicating with individual
                                                                                          members of the public on a monthly basis. Similar
                                                                                          patterns were evident in relation to contact with
                                                                                          community sector organisations and

                                                                                     22
representatives of consumer interest or advocacy                              questions about which levels of government they
groups. What also emerges from the data                                       had worked for over the previous 12 months. As
reported in Figure 16 is the higher frequency of                              shown in Figure 17, independent PSI units were
contact that independent PSI units have with                                  more likely to report having worked on projects
people from state government departments and                                  commissioned by departments or agencies within
agencies compared with people based within                                    a state or territory government than to have
departments or agencies of the central or federal                             worked on projects commissioned by an agency
government. For example, eight Australian                                     or department of the central or federal
independent PSI units reported being in ‘weekly’                              government. Indeed, eight of the independent
contact with someone from a state or territory                                units reported that the projects they work on
government department (this question only                                     originate ‘quite often’ or ‘very often’ from a state
applied to Australian based PSI units since this                              government department or agency, with a further
level of government does not apply to New                                     five independent PSI units reporting that they
Zealand). This was in comparison to five out of the                           ‘sometimes’ work on projects originating from
sample of both Australian and New Zealand                                     state government. Although broadly similar
independent PSI units that reported being in                                  numbers of independent PSI units reported
weekly contact with someone from a central or                                 frequently working on projects originating from a
federal government department or agency. Also,                                central or Commonwealth government
whereas contact between government-based PSI                                  department or agency, these numbers included
units and local government was rare, 10                                       the New Zealand based PSI units (which were not
independent PSI units reported being in either                                asked about their cooperation with agencies and
‘weekly’ or ‘monthly’ contact with someone from                               departments at state government level). The data
local government.                                                             reported in Figure 17 also suggest that
                                                                              independent PSI units almost never work for the
These findings concerning the level of contact
                                                                              Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet,
between independent PSI units and different
                                                                              whereas they are more likely to undertake work
levels of government are further supported by
                                                                              on behalf of a state Department of Premier and
how independent PSI units responded to
                                                                              Cabinet.

                        Figure 17: The different levels of government that are commissioning Independent PSI units

 Quite or very often    1                  8                        6                 3               8

        Sometimes           2          4                        8                         4               5

                       0%       10%    20%       30%      40%           50%     60%       70%   80%       90%   100%

                                 Federal/National - The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
                                 Federal/National - A Federal government department or agency
                                 A local or municipal government
                                 State/Territory - The Department of Premier and Cabinet
                                 State/Territory - A State government department or agency

                                                            23
POLICY AREAS AND INNOVATION DOMAINS

Internationally, the rise of PSI units has been        Most of the units surveyed, however, reported
framed as a response by governments to the             working on at least four different policy or public
increasingly ‘complex and systemic’ nature of          service delivery areas.
today’s policy and social challenges (Public Policy
                                                       Figure 18: Main policy areas that PSI units work on
Forum 2013, 1). As Kieboom (2014, 9) observes of
the context in which PSI units have emerged: ‘The
latest trend in our quest to fix the global
challenges of the 21st century is to “lab” complex         Indigenous or Maori issues

issues.’ This raises questions about the principal
policy and service delivery areas that PSI units and                         Transport
teams work in, and how they are approaching
policy design and public sector innovation within          Urban design and planning
those areas.
                                                             Public administration and
PSI units undertaking the survey were asked to                      governance

nominate the five policy or service delivery areas          Policing, crime, the justice
that they had worked on the most during the                           system
previous 12 months. As the data reported in
                                                                                Health
Figure 18 shows, ‘Social issues, housing, and
welfare’ was by far the main policy area that PSI
                                                            Social issues, housing and
units reported working on especially among the                        welfare
independent PSI units, 16 of which had worked in
this policy area within the previous 12 months.                              Education
This was followed by ‘Public administration and
governance’, although government-based PSI                                Employment
units reported working equally on both areas.
‘Health’ and ‘Education’ were other key areas of              Economic Development
focus for the PSI units that participated in the
survey along with, unexpectedly, ‘Transport’ and         Environment or conservation
‘Policing, crime and the justice system.’ Indeed,
                                                                                           0     5     10    15   20
one in three government-based PSI units reported
that they had worked on ‘Policing, crime, and the                          Independent         Government

justice system’ within the previous 12 months. Six
of the PSI units surveyed (all government-based        Another way of conceiving of the focus of PSI
PSI units) reported working only on one policy         units’ work is in terms of what might be described
area or issue. These areas were: transport (1);        as the domains of innovation they are involved in.
policing, crime, and the justice system (2); social    That is, within the policy or service delivery areas
issues, welfare, and housing (1), and health (2).      that they are working, at what stages of the policy
                                                       or innovation cycle (Figure 19) are PSI units
                                                       predominantly operating?

                                               24
Figure 19: Comparing the Policy and Innovation Cycles
                                                                         Opportunities
                                                                         and challenges

                                                                                  Generating
                                                                                    ideass

                  Support and
                                  Agenda setting
                  Maintainence
                                                                          Develooping
                                                                          and testing

         Evaluation                            Formation                          Making the
                                                                                    case

                                                                         Delivering and
                                                                         implementing
                 Implementation     Adoption

                                                                                 Growing and
                                                                                   scaling

                                                                           Changing
Source: Adapted from (Howlett and Ramesh 1995; Puttick                     systems

2014)

PSI units were asked about the different stages of              ‘very’ or ‘quite’ frequently on piloting/prototyping
the policy and innovation cycles they                           solutions. Conversely, far fewer units reported
predominantly work on and the extent to which                   that they were involved at the evaluative and
they are actively involved in policy development                scaling end of the policy cycle. For example, the
and reform as opposed to innovating on how                      proportion of PSI units who reported that they
existing services are delivered within established              ‘very frequently’ worked on ‘evaluating
policy frameworks. Figures 20 and 21 report the                 programs/trials/pilots’ was just under 30 per cent.
survey responses on these items for government-                 The proportion of PSI units who reported that
based and independent PSI units respectively. The               they frequently worked on policy development
data suggests that PSI units and teams are very                 and reform was also low, particularly among
heavily involved at what might be termed the                    government-based PSI units.
earlier stages of the policy cycle, namely:
                                                                Allied with PSI units’ focus on the earlier stages of
identifying/scoping problems; generating ideas;
                                                                the policy cycle is their emphasis on stakeholder
and piloting/prototyping solutions. For example,
                                                                engagement and exploring citizens’ and users’
over 90 per cent of independent PSI units and well
                                                                experiences of public services and programs. This
over half of government-based PSI units reported
                                                                is reflected in the very high frequency with which
that their unit or team is ‘very frequently’ involved
                                                                PSI units report ‘consulting with stakeholders’ and
in identifying or scoping problems. Almost all PSI
                                                                working on ‘enhancing government-citizen or
units reported working either ‘quite’ or ‘very
                                                                stakeholder communication/engagement.’ Along
frequently’ on ‘generating ideas’, with nearly 85
                                                                with identifying and scoping problems and
per cent of independent PSI units reporting that
                                                                generating ideas, engaging with stakeholders,
they ‘very frequently’ worked on ‘generating
                                                                citizens and users to understand their experiences
ideas’. Over 60 per cent of the government-based
                                                                appear to be key activities of PSI units in Australia
PSI units surveyed, and almost all of the
                                                                and New Zealand.
independent PSI units, indicated that they worked

                                                           25
You can also read
Next slide ... Cancel