11th December, 2018
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday challenged the Lagos State Public Service to embrace innovation as a potential solution to solving all problems in the system.
Ambode spoke at a two-day training for civil servants on “Leading and Managing through Strategic Planning and Innovation,” held in Ikeja area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Ambode said innovation and the readiness to innovate would stand the Lagos State Public Service in good stead, saying that innovation was now seen as a potential solution to all problems and had become ubiquitous in both the private and public sectors.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Dr. Benson Oke stated that as governments strove to balance priorities, including the effective allocation of resources and meeting public expectations; it was becoming increasingly clear that new approaches were needed, saying that governments would have to innovate and find ways to make difficult things easy in the areas of service delivery, process improvement, regulation and policy implementation.
“The first strategy that the Lagos State Public Service may adopt for stimulating and sustaining innovativeness is the “Inside-Out Idea Flows” strategy. Outside-in idea flows have been well popularized and have become a common approach to access crowd-sourced or citizen-sourced ideas from outside the four walls of the organization.
“The less well-known counterpart to this is the notion of inside-out idea flows whereby unused or underutilized ideas are shared externally for others to explore and gain benefit. This is one area I believe has tremendous potential for government departments and agencies of the Lagos State Public Service.
“The second strategy has been popularly termed the Public-Private Idea Hubs. It is well-known that industry partnerships can be a valuable way to gain access to additional capital and expertise to assist in advancing innovation in the public sector. Interestingly, in a similar approach to the first recommendation, the solutions and lessons learned from the DT-Hub will be placed in the public domain, so they can be utilized in other cities and beyond. In this manner, inside-out solution flows, as well as idea flows, can be a valuable way for innovations to be disseminated across the public sector such as the Lagos State Public Service,” Ambode explained.
The governor also said the power of technology combinations was a useful strategy to innovate, stressing that many of today’s most innovative business models and processes took advantage of powerful combinations of emerging and disruptive technologies, explaining that by carefully defining, and in some cases expanding, the scope of innovation initiatives, public sector leaders could take advantage of these types of technology combinations to unlock powerful new opportunities which might have a far greater value proposition than if they focused on the business use cases of a single disruptive technology.
He added agile idea generation could be used for deploying innovation in the Lagos State Public Service, while also recommending advancing internal competencies as ways of stimulating and sustaining innovation in the Lagos State Public Service.
“A foundational way to accelerate innovation is to take a programmatic approach by establishing a formal innovation office (which the Lagos State Government has) and by building on the maturity of this office over time. This requires continually assessing and advancing capabilities across strategy, people, process and technology. Innovation playbooks and toolkits can be a valuable way to help spur culture change and unblock barriers to innovation, Ambode said.