Welcome to Apolitical’s guide to government innovation — a collection of many of the world’s best publicly available tools, frameworks, reports, strategies and more.
With this resource, you’ll be able to:
- Follow and learn from some of the world’s most influential public sector innovators
- Find tools, frameworks and landscapes that will help you harness innovation techniques in your own work
- Read in-depth reports about using innovation to rethink public services
- Watch some of the world’s most prominent innovators speak about their experiences
- Subscribe to the world’s top newsletters on government innovation
- Explore city, state and national government strategies for systematically bringing innovation into policymaking
We’ll continually update this guide with new developments — if you have a suggestion for a resource, please let us know through this Google Form.
🇩🇰 Christian Bason — CEO, Danish Design Centre
🇨🇦 Amanda Bernardo — Senior Advisor, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
🇹🇼 Audrey Tang — Digital Minister, Government of Taiwan
🇺🇸 James Anderson — Head of Government Innovation programs, Bloomberg Philanthropies
🇹🇭 Giulio Quaggiotto — Head, Asia Pacific Regional Innovation Centre, UNDP
🇨🇦 Alex Benay — Chief Information Officer, Government of Canada
🇫🇷 Claudia Chwalisz — Policy Analyst, OECD
🇺🇸 Nigel Jacob — Co-founder, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston
🇸🇱 David Moinina Sengeh — Chief Innovation Officer, Government of Sierra Leone
🇨🇦 Abe Greenspoon — Talent Manager, Canada’s Free Agents
🇬🇧 Jack Collier — Deputy Director of Digital, UK Government’s Department for Education
🇨🇴 Javier Guillot — Learning Manager, Public Innovation Team, National Planning Department, Government of Colombia
🇬🇧 Owain Service — Co-founder, the UK Behavioural Insights Team
🇦🇷 Rudi Borrman — Undersecretary of Public Innovation and Open Government, the Government of Argentina
🇺🇸 Amanda Daflos — Chief Innovation Officer, LA Mayor’s Office
🇬🇧 Gianncarlo Durán — Learning Director, FutureGov and PhD Researcher at The University of Manchester
🇬🇧 Eddie Copeland— Director of Government Innovation, Nesta
🇦🇺 Sam Hannah-Rankin — Executive Director of Public Sector Reform, Victoria State Government’s Department of Premier and Cabinet
🇬🇧 Andrea Siodmok — Lead, the Cabinet Office’s Policy Lab
🇨🇴 Juan Felipe Yepes — Coordinator, Public Innovation Lab of Bogota (LABcapital), Veeduría Distrital
🇬🇧 Dominic Campbell— CEO, FutureGov
🇨🇦 Alex Ryan — VP Systems Innovation and Program Director, MaRS Solutions Lab
🇺🇸 Matthew Klein — Director, The Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity
🇪🇸 Bruno Sánchez-Andrade Nuño — Impact scientist
🇬🇧 Thea Snow —Senior Programme Manager, Government Innovation, Nesta
🇺🇸 Beth Simone Noveck —Chief Innovation Officer, Government of New Jersey
🇦🇺 Carolyn Curtis — Chief Executive Officer, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation
🇬🇧 Kit Collingwood — Co-founder, OneTeamGov
🇨🇱 Roman Yosif — Executive Director, Laboratorio de Gobierno
🇺🇸 Beth Blauer — Executive Director, GovEx
🇬🇧 Jen Gold — Head, the UK Government’s What Works Team
🇺🇸 John Paul Farmer —Chief Technology Officer, New York City Government
🇨🇻 Pedro Lopes — Secretary of State for Innovation, Cape Verde
🇬🇧 Paul Maltby — Chief Digital Officer, UK Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government
🇨🇦 Miki Stricker-Talbot — Intrapreneur, Integrated Strategic Development, City of Edmonton
🇨🇴 Aura Cifuentes — Director, Public Innovation Team, National Planning Department, Government of Colombia
🇦🇺 Alex Roberts — Innovation Author, OPSI, OECD
🇬🇧 Nesta: Playbook for Innovation Learning
A tool for innovation practitioners who want to spread their skills, methods and techniques across government.
🌎 OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation: Innovation Facets and Core Values
An in-depth look at different types of public sector innovation — from mission-oriented to anticipatory — and how you can harness them in your work.
🇩🇰 The Danish National Centre for Public Sector Innovation: Innovation Barometer
An innovation measurement mechanism that incorporates surveys from 1,255 municipal, regional and state-level Danish government agencies about their work.
🌎 Jo Szczepanska: A Dreadfully Incomplete List of Design Thinking Tools, Tips and Courses
A comprehensive list of reports, videos, toolkits and advice related to design thinking and human-centred design.
🇬🇧 EAST: Four Simple Ways to Apply Behavioural Insights
An easy-to-understand introduction to applying behavioural approaches to policymaking and public service design, with crucial tips and step-by-step instructions.
🇺🇸 US Government: Challenge and Prize Toolkit
A knowledge repository with case studies of successful challenges, best practices for running challenges and ways to contact experts in different phases of the challenge process.
🌎 Development Impact & You: Practical Tools to Trigger and Support Social Innovation
A toolkit on how to invent, adopt or adapt and evaluate innovative ideas.
🇬🇧 States of Change: Competency Framework for Experimental Problem Solving
A framework that defines the key skills, attitudes and behaviours that public sector innovators can use to solve public problems.
🌎 OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation: Toolkits
A compendium of toolkits for innovation in government, ranging from open government and digital transformation through to product design.
🇦🇺 The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, the Tasmanian Government: Systems Practices You Can Do Every Day
An introduction to how systems thinking can help you better understand complex situations and improve your decision-making.
🇺🇸 18F: Collection of Human-Centred Design Tools
A repository of tools for using human-centred design to understand stakeholders’ concerns and design better solutions.
🌎 The Open Government Partnership: Participation and Co-Creation Toolkit
A toolkit to help you understand open government principles and practices, and guide you through implementation.
🇬🇧 Nesta: Landscape of Innovation Approaches, Version 2
An updated compendium of public sector innovation methods and approaches.
🇺🇸 The Centre for Public Impact: The Future of US Cities
A handbook for city government officials who want to innovate to improve outcomes for all residents.
🌎 IDEO: Design for Europe & Nesta: Designing for Public Services
A collection of tools and methods for better integrating design principles into public services.
🇬🇧 Agile Government Leadership: The Agile Government Handbook
Agile, a product management tool borrowed from the tech sector, promises to ‘de-risk’ public sector innovation. This handbook explains how it can help civil servants respond to problems more quickly and creatively.
🌎 The Apolitical Weekly Briefing: Find out how governments are tackling the world’s most pressing problems with our weekly roundup of global policy innovation.
🇺🇸 Bloomberg Cities’ Spark: Learn about how US cities are harnessing innovation tools, like big data and human-centred design, to provide better outcomes for citizens.
🇦🇺 Public Sector Innovation Network: A tongue-in-cheek look at the public sector innovation movement, with a particular focus on Australia and New Zealand.
🌎 The Centre for Public Impact: Read about how to unlock government’s potential with innovative policymaking.
🇺🇸 CityLab: Discover how governments are working to build the cities of the future.
🇬🇧 The ODI — The Week in Data: Read about the newest developments in data, from breaking news to cutting-edge innovations.
🇺🇸 NYU GovLab Digest: Each week, receive 20 new pieces of actionable knowledge on governance innovation.
🇬🇧 Public: Stay up to date with the latest developments in the GovTech sector.
🇺🇸 MIT Technology Review’s The Download: A daily dose of the most important developments in emerging technology.
🌎 OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation: A look at the OECD’s work to help governments improve citizens’ lives through better policies and services.
🇺🇸 Next City: Learn about how cities are leading the way to a more sustainable, equitable future.
🇸🇬 GovInsider: Read about how governments across Asia are innovating and testing exciting new approaches to policymaking.
🇺🇸 GovTech: A look at how state and local US governments are solving problems through smarter use of technology.
🇦🇺 The Mandarin: Discover how Australia’s public sector leaders are harnessing innovation to counter the problems inherent in modern bureaucracy.
🇺🇸 Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center: Innovators Insights: Ideas and examples of government innovation for policymakers, policy advisors and practitioners.
🌎 The World Economic Forum: The Agenda Weekly shares insights from both public and private sector innovation around the world.
🇺🇸 Governing Daily: The day’s headlines in US state and local government news, with an emphasis on new and innovative policy.
🇨🇦 Exploring Policy Innovation: Tools, Techniques and Approaches
The Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
A report that describes in simple terms the tools, techniques and approaches innovators and designers need to impact policy.
🇺🇸 Getting the Work Done: What Government Innovation Really Looks Like
A report that identifies what’s working in the US government innovation field, and three principal barriers that hold it back.
🌎 Open Data Demand: Toward an Open Data Demand Assessment and Segmentation Methodology
GovLab, Agence Française de Développement & Inter-American Development Bank
A report that aims to provide policymakers with an approach for identifying, segmenting and engaging with data in their work.
🌎 Growing Government Innovation Labs: An Insider’s Guide
UNDP, Europe and South Asia
A report focusing on how successful innovation labs were seeded and scaled in Armenia, Georgia, Macedonia and Moldova, countries with difficult political landscapes.
🇺🇸 Encouraging and Sustaining Innovation in Government: Technology and Innovation in the Next Administration
Partnership for the Public Service & The IBM Centre for the Business of Government
A report that equips public sector leaders to harness the power of tech in management, decision-making and innovation.
🇪🇺 Social Innovation as a Trigger for Transformations
A report examining how to scale social innovations by harnessing collective impact and collaborative networks.
🌎 Embracing Innovation in Government: Global Trends 2019
A comprehensive overview of current and future trends in the government innovation landscape.
🇬🇧 Policymaking in the Real World: Evidence and Analysis
The Institute for Government
A report that will serve as a useful dose of reality for innovators unfamiliar with the pressures public servants and policymakers work under.
🌎 Government: Investor, Risk-taker, Innovator — Mariana Mazzucato, 2013
Mazzucato challenges the long-held notion that innovation is the private sector’s realm, and the state’s role is to simply get out of the way. This failure to recognise government’s role in game-changing breakthroughs, she argues, poses a danger to the field.
🇩🇰 MindLab: Enabling a Culture of Innovation — Thomas Prehn, 2016
Thomas Prehn served as the most recent head of MindLab, the world’s oldest government innovation lab that has spawned imitations all over the globe before its closure last year. In his role, he stood at the forefront of efforts to make government cleverer, faster and more inventive.
🇨🇦 Innovation in Local Government — Jason Reynar, 2018
Jason Reynar is an innovator who is passionate about improving citizens’ quality of life through local government. His approach focuses on rapid action and implementation, rather than aiming for perfection.
🇺🇸 Doing Government Differently to Accelerate Innovation — Richard Culatta, 2016
Richard Culatta, previously the Chief Innovation Officer of Rhode Island, discusses how we can push innovation further, to encourage governments to provide better services at a lower cost.
Digital Strategy (2016)
Denmark 2020 (2010)
Finland, A Land of Solutions (2015)
Place to Experiment: Finland (2017)
Innovation 2020 (2015)
🇳🇱 The Netherlands
Encouraging Innovation (2018)
🇰🇷 South Korea
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates
National Innovation Strategy (2014)
🇺🇸 United States
🌍 United Nations
(Picture credit: Unsplash)