Smarter Crowdsourcing: A Global Online Conference on Learning and Teaching Public Innovation and Entrepreneurship

By Vishala Pariag and Kajol Char. This article originally appeared on Politics for Tomorrow.


On July 12th 2018, the GovLab and Politics for Tomorrow convened a global online conference, which marked the first in a series of now-quarterly online meetings. The purpose of these conferences is to examine the current state of public innovation training.

Hosted by Professor Beth Noveck, Director of the GovLab in the U.S, and Caroline Paulick-Thiel, Director of Politics for Tomorrow in Germany, the online conference brought together the following participants:

  1. Antonio Claret, ENAP, BR
  2. Beth Simone Noveck, The Govlab, US
  3. Caroline Paulick-Thiel, Politics for Tomorrow, DE
  4. Cat Drew, USCreates, UK
  5. Eckhard Stoermer, EU Policy Lab, JRC, BE
  6. Eran Raviv, Ministry of Social Equality, IL
  7. Inbar Almagor, The Institute for Leadership and Governance, IL
  8. Jackie Stenson, Unleash, DK
  9. Jonatan Beun, Coordinator of the National Direction of Public Innovation at the Ministry of Modernization of Argentina, AR
  10. Julie Munk, Social Innovation Exchange, UK
  11. Mark Hallerberg, Hertie School of Governance, DE
  12. Nicolás Rebolledo, Royal College of Art, UK
  13. Oliver Rack, OGN Germany, City of Heidelberg, Metropolregion Rhine-Neckar, DE
  14. Roland Persaud, Government Innovation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, US
  15. Sabine Junginger, Competence Centre for Design and Management, CH
  16. Verena Kontschieder, World Economic Forum, CH

The participants comprised leaders and innovators who are all currently working on teaching those in the public sector to innovate on a city-level, national, or global scale. They all employ a range of methods including, but not limited to: human-centered design, predictive analytics, ethnographic research, experimentation, foresight, agile technology or behavioral economics. As part of their approach, these experts are also involved in researching methodologies on innovation, identifying transformation competencies and promoting related skills.

Participants agreed that it is crucial to improve the content and quality of programs that teach public servants to be innovators, especially such skills as human-centered design, as innovation spreads to all working levels within political-administrative organizations. Furthermore, measuring the impact of training on the ability to solve problems more effectively is key. This is especially important in relatively new fields such as public service design, where the conditions for measuring impact differ from those in the private sector and little research capacity is designated to evaluating its mid- and long-term consequences.

Another key takeaway from the discussion was considering the need for co-creative strategies to be added to the pre-existing curriculum of design, public policy, political science or law courses. There was also the suggestion of building public interest design competencies in dedicated programs to encourage more young people and students to become involved. Besides those in secondary education, it is important to get ordinary citizens to participate in public problem solving. This would enable a range of contributions from people with diverse backgrounds in different disciplines and greatly add to the conversation.

Moving forward, the dialogue will continue with an eye toward bringing more and more diverse people using differing approaches into the discussion for peer to peer learning and support. The next topics to be considered are how to set milestones to measure  progress during public problem solving processes, as well as identifying the incentives needed in order to motivate more citizens, governments, and institutions to participate in impact-oriented public innovation and the design field in general.

If you are engaged in public innovation learning or public entrepreneurship training in and with governments and would like to participate, please email: [email protected] or [email protected]