The Innovation Laboratory

Countries

Latvia

Policy areas

Organisation name The State Chancellery

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Contact person: Marina Blaske, Adviser in Better regulation, the Public Administration Development Division, Department For Public Administration Policy

The State Chancellery of Latvia, with the support of the European Commission Structural Reform Support Service, has launched the Innovation Laboratory project. This initiative stems from the need to raise the overall efficiency and effectiveness of public administration by promoting good governance and improving the level of staff competence.

The key priorities of the project are the reduction of unnecessary bureaucracy and therefore the introduction of a zero-bureaucracy approach. It means increasing the value of public administration services, developing modern human resources, developing a national strategic communication system and other projects. The overall goal was to introduce innovative approaches and methods in public administration, to make it faster and more efficient to address topical or old problems, come up with the necessary solutions, and develop and test prototypes.

The novelties of the project support the aim to identify the most suitable innovative approach for sustaining and operating innovation labs in the Latvian context. This is achieved through learning-by-doing, the different ways in which problem-solving is carried out and the involvement of participants from public administration institutions and experts from other sectors. These change regularly depending on the issues to be faced, and all the new approaches and ideas allow flexibility and improve cross-sector, cross-institution and cross-department collaboration. Another idea is the introduction of experimentation in the process, which is currently lacking.

The vision of the Innovation Laboratory is based on the driving force to change thinking, attitudes and behaviour of the public administration’s way of working. It is based on encouraging experimentation to develop useable solutions to existing problems and to meet new needs and finally, aims to represent an example of innovation management for other institutions of public administration.

The project is built in a way to ensure the sustainability of the Innovation Laboratory. Project activities are tailored to build public sector capacity and particularly the capacity of the State Chancellery to become strong in-house consultants of innovation and design thinking in the public sector.

Establishing the Innovation Laboratory was meant to foster innovation culture in the public sector, which is included in the government’s action plan, thus there is clear political support. Attention to public sector innovation has a stable incremental tendency. Additionally, the theme of the year in the Top-level Managers Development Programme, which involves around 180 top-level managers (heads) from different public institutions in 2019, was ‘innovation and experimentation’. This demonstrates that innovation as a priority was also on the executive leadership level in the public sector of Latvia.

It is believed that development of the Innovation Laboratory will continue, ensuring that it becomes one of the key drivers of public sector innovation in Latvia. After the first project ExCel! (finished in October 2019), the second project ExCel! 2.0 was started (this project has gained financial support from The Structural Reform Support Programme, still ongoing in the middle of 2021). From 2021 the work and development of the Innovation Laboratory is co-financed from the state budget.

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