Think of innovation and chances are tech giants such as Apple, Google, and Uber will spring to mind. They are, after all, some of the most disruptive innovators of our time. Look beyond the world of technology, however, and we find an altogether different kind of innovator: Government.
Innovation within government entities may not grab headlines in quite the same way as its private-sector counterpart, but the potential of government-led innovation to impact societies and economies worldwide is just as great from a socioeconomic impact perspective. Currently leading the charge to realize that potential are the U.S., UK and UAE governments. Each has its own national specificities to consider and has defined its national innovation strategy to fit ambitions.
In the UAE—a country that aims to be one of the world’s most innovative by 2021—the national innovation strategy comprises four tracks. These tracks encompass the establishment of institutions and laws that foster an innovative environment, encouragement of private sector participation, education, and the institutionalization of innovative practices within government bodies. Across MENA, and on the wider global stage, it is this latter component that requires particular attention.
Government entities have the power to innovate and should treat innovation as a strategic priority. For the UAE, and other countries now setting out on their nationwide innovation journeys, success for government bodies hinges on fostering a culture of in-house innovation, in addition to the wider ecosystem. In fact, in today’s context of greater demand on government services, fewer resources, and divergent societal needs, enabling culture to flourish within government entities is now vital. For innovation to take root, there are several key steps that government entities can take, ranging from a clear definition of innovation scope to designing innovation enablers.