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The purpose of this report

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How the focus group discussions were conducted

2

General characteristics of innovation

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Definitions of innovation

4

Costs and timescales

5

Origins of innovation

7

Triggers for innovative ideas

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Developers and barriers

9

Impacts of our nominated innovations

13

Comparisons with the private sector

13

Conclusions

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Contents

The purpose of this report

1. During September and October 2005, a team from the LSE Public Policy Group carried out seven focus groups as part of the Achieving Innovation in central government organisations (London: The Stationary Office, 2006) HC 1447 Session 2005-2006, published 25 July 2006. All the focus groups took place at the London School of Economics in Central London. The seven groups were made up of: project manager level civil servants; mid-level civil servants; and senior civil servants. We also ran four comparative focus groups with: management consultants and IT practitioners, both groups had some experience of working with government; a general business group; and local authority chief executives or senior staff.

2. These focus groups were undertaken in order to feedback some early results from a survey we had sent out to 126 central government organisations. The survey asked central government organisations to nominate an innovation and then provide details about its origins, triggers, costs, barriers and impacts. More details on this, and the full report, can be downloaded free from the Publications pages of www.nao.gov.uk or from the site at www.GovernmentOnTheWeb.org.

How the focus group discussions were conducted

3. Focus groups offer a way of systematically acquiring qualitative data on specific topics. Each group included between 6 and 12 people. For the three civil servants focus groups, participants were taken from those who had completed a survey that was undertaken as part of the study earlier in the year. The management consultants and the IT practitioners group were sourced from government or public sector sections within the individual organisations. For the local authority group, we only asked Chief Executives or senior staff from those authorities rated Excellent by the Audit

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