States of Change public innovation learning programmes running in Australia and Canada

States of Change has been set up to develop and support public innovation learning for creating public impact. Central to our mission is helping governments to build their capability and culture to practically deal with the complex problems they face, and as part of this we have been developing a foundational learning programme on public innovation.

We’re excited to announce that we are now running the first of our 9-12 month learning programmes with two government partners - the Victorian State Government in Australia and the Privy Council in Canada’s federal government.

Learning by ‘doing’

This programme builds on our experience of designing learning initiatives and our knowledge of making innovation happen in the public sector. It focuses on building innovation capacity and creating culture change over time, and champions learning by doing and solving problems together.

In teams, participants work on real-life challenges that are connected to their job roles. These projects enable in-practice learning, helping teams to develop their skills with the guidance of experienced innovation practitioners. Each project tackles a persistent challenge that requires a shift in the approach of how governments traditionally operate. Peer-learning also plays a key role in the programme as teams explore what works and learn from each other's experience in a structured way.

Focus on innovation craft

The overall aim of the programme is to support public servants to adopt innovation mindsets and habits that help them become more effective change agents, and to sustain an innovation culture in government. In order to do so, the States of Change curriculum goes beyond just innovation methods to also include the behaviours and cultures that enable innovation in government – what we call innovation craft.

This means that as well as learning new approaches, participants receive guidance on how to create an enabling environment for innovation, and how to manage projects within bureaucratic and political contexts.

The programme in Victoria

In Victoria, we are working with 10 teams of 42 civil servants from a range of departments including Consumer Affairs Victoria, Department of Education and Training, VicRoads, Department of Health and Human Services, Transport for Victoria and the Department of Treasury and Finance.

The teams will be working on pressing issues in Victoria throughout the nine months, such as reducing Aboriginal over-representation in the criminal justice system; preparing secondary students for the realities of life after school; and foiling online scammers by developing greater consumer resilience.

The programme in Canada

In Canada, we are working with a cross-government group of 18 policy entrepreneurs with the mandate to challenge existing ways of working on persistent policy and structural challenges in Canada.

The team has been selected based on their capability and motivation to explore new functions that can deal with complex public problems and help foster a culture of experimental problem-solving. They will be focusing on areas such as disrupting public service systems in health, food systems and social inclusion, innovating staffing and HR systems, and making use of new forms of data and technology to develop better public engagement and solution development.

Learning from experienced public innovators

We have been collaborating with the world’s most experienced public innovation practitioners and experts to build the learning collective and form an international faculty (see the States of Change website for more info). This faculty bring with them valuable first hand experiences of driving innovation in government, and will guide participants through the innovation process.

Sharing the States of Change learning journey

Both programmes will be kicking off in the next two weeks, and we are eager to share the learning journeys of both the teams and the programme itself. This will be an explorative process to learn about works in public innovation, and we want to share this in an open way.

So as well as achieving impact for the participating teams, our aim is to learn across countries about what works when embedding experimentation and innovation in government, and to share this as part of the States Change collective.

To keep up to date with our journey as we progress, please sign up to the States of Change newsletter.