The Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), sponsored by the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS), Deloitte and Eskom, held its 5th Public Sector Innovation Conference in Durban from 24-25 August 2011.
With the theme "An idea remains an idea until it is implemented", the conference was aimed at enabling public servants and their partners from a range of sectors to collaboratively interrogate service delivery approaches, strategies and solutions and to empower them to embrace innovation as a vehicle for achieving government's service delivery priorities
Its objectives were to demonstrate the role and centrality of innovation as a tool for responding to current government priorities and for anticipating citizens' changing needs, explore collaboratively key elements for successful implementation and sustaining of innovative programmes that enhance public sector performance and share innovative perspectives and practices that respond to service delivery priorities.
In her opening remarks, Ms Thuli Radebe, the CEO of CPSI, said that the theme of the conference is not a suggestion that 'Think Tanks' are irrelevant to service delivery but that the public sector needs to avoid a circle of conceptualisation and focus on implementation to improve the lives of citizens. She further added that is important to note that innovation is not just about technological gadgets, but also about different ways of working that leads to better productivity and improved service delivery.
The panel of experts raised issues such as a need to create an enabling innovation environment to improve service delivery, importance of sharing best practices and experiences within the public sector, innovation should be institutionalised in all levels of the public service to meet government's priorities and that a balance between Ëœthink tanks' and Ëœdo tanks' should be maintained.
Reiterating the notion of implementation, in his address, Minister of Public service and Administration, Richard Baloyi also said that was time to move on and implement, "What I am saying is that we have a tendency to plan for too long, and to conceptualise for too long. It is time to just get on with it!" He added that it is important for implementers to find new ways of thinking if their actions are to yield desired results.
Speaking on service delivery, Minister Baloyi said that public servants need to move from the notion of "business as usual" to build the kind of future that we want, "We have an agenda to make a better life for all in South Africa, a better Africa and a better and safe world. It therefore cannot be Ëœbusiness as usual' in the public sector. We demand creativity and innovativeness amongst public officials, which must result in quick turnarounds for service delivery".
Issued by the Ministry for Public Service and Administration
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