The What Works Ireland initiative from DCEDIY ran an Online Festival of Learning in November 2020, focusing to prevention and early intervention in government and social services.
Four types of public entrepreneur were named at the outset:
- Efficiency Drivers. Driving workflow innovation for efficiency.
- Bureaucracy Hacker. Creating value with process innovation.
- Market Shapers. Grant making, toward problem solving.
- Systems Entrepreneurs. Simplifying systems for innovation.
Vision and mission are core to government entrepreneurship, with entrepreneurs needing comfort with unknowns and experimentation. Room and understanding for errors in the process is necessary, however public service bureaucracy can impede this area.
Agile, Adaptive Thinking
Social and childrens’ services are the ‘sharp end’, tricky areas to disrupt with endemic protection and bureaucracy safeguards. Risk taking, ongoing learning and curiosity are needed by growth tribes and not isolated outliers commissioned for the job at hand.
Creating the right context around a child can alter the course of their development. Ideally, this context should be local community based and/or in a school, as in establishing educational audiologists and speech therapists as part of a school community.
Under this model, the child’s family, social, emotional and academic strengths is monitored with timely intervention/education. Ireland’s healthcare (audiology and SLT, in our case) is siloed from schools, so the value of interagency innovation is untapped.
Destructing Systems, To Recreate
Governments should lure creatives to intrapreneurship, with multi-disciplinary teams and talents. In recessions, creatives are most budget-savvy. Innovation stems from necessity and mainstreaming into public services at grassroots level for impact.
Conclusion: Public budgets for social and childrens’ services need unlocking, with longitudinal results documented for systems re-engineering to fully benefit from entrepreneurial innovation.