FEATURE: A Celebration Of Innovation

The quest for innovations in governance has been ongoing for quite sometime now, but this has attained a level of urgency with the commitment made by world leaders in the Millennium Declaration, the 2005 World Summit and many other global and regional conferences.

The global consensus on the urgency of reinventing government is not only made manifest in the research efforts that are focusing on how to improve the performance of governments and public institutions. It is also seen in the innovators’ readiness to come together to share information and knowledge about their innovations to minimize wastage of resources and time in re-inventing the wheel.

It has dawned on most people concerned with the improvement of performance in the public sector that although innovations in government are circumscribed in scope, they have the potential to trigger a bigger process of transformation of the State and produce general positive benefits to citizens through improved service delivery.

There are networks of innovators being formed for purposes of sharing and adapting successful practices in innovation. One of them is the Network of Innovators in the Mediterranean region which is being spearheaded by the Programme for Innovation in Public Administration in the Mediterranean Region. This is part of the innovation programmes of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management of United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).

Just like BusinessWorld Intelligence’s Innovation Award, there are also awards instituted at the international level to recognize and further promote innovative practices in the public sector. The most prestigious international recognition of excellence in the public service is the United Nations Public Service Awards, which is managed by UNDESA. It was launched in 2002 to search for innovations in the public sector, reward and motivate civil servants, as well as disseminate knowledge about successful practices in good governance in order to provide the opportunity for peer-to-peer learning among member states.

In order to sustain efforts towards a better public administration, BusinessWorld is supporting initiative of this kind, to encourage innovation in the public sector, to motivate public servants to help bridge the gap between governments’ actions and citizens’ expectations. We believe that there is no shortcut to effective delivery of services except to have the best talent in the public sector. Ultimately, the ability of government to provide services effectively and efficiently depends upon a competent cadre of civil servants.

First and foremost, good government requires good people. The men and women who have received the prestigious Public Service Awards are testimony to this. They represent the best in the public service. One way to encourage them to continue in their quest for more efficient, participatory and equitable public services is to recognize their efforts at the highest level possible through award programmes such as this.

The purpose is to encourage more women and men in the public sector who are working hard to improve citizens’ lives and to recognize the efforts of people like Governor Aregbesola, who have made the society better and raised the standard of living of the ordinary man a notch higher through uncommon innovations.

Businessworld Intelligence Report.