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      “ . . . something that was completed so we could look back over it. There are lots of things in train that we could have submitted which we on purpose decided to ignore.” (Senior civil servants group)

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        “ . . . where we could answer the survey most accurately” (Senior civil servants group)

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        “ . . . innovations that had gone well or been well received. We definitely didn’t think to submit innovations that had gone badly wrong.” (Mid-level civil servants group)

  • 10.

    Another person from the mid-level civil servants group summed up the

thinking within his/her organisation:

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      “We questioned whether we had innovations, we change things obviously. We asked how big is an innovation, can it be a little bit of something or is it only a very big parcel of work? It may have depended on where your request hit an organisation. In a big department, I doubt every member of staff had a chance to submit their thoughts.”

  • 11.

    Some within the senior civil servants group felt that the information we

had asked for should not then be used to present a picture of innovation across government:

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    “This sort of analysis is practically meaningless if you are trying to

get a feel for government as a whole and what the innovations are.”

Definitions of innovation

12. We tried to keep an open definition of innovation throughout the report. This applied especially to the survey, where we wanted to give organisations as many options for flexibility in their choices. Although there had been considerable discussion within the civil servants groups about what to submit, there was less discussion about the definition of innovation:

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      “My first reaction . . . is the same as when I got the survey, which is what on earth do you mean by innovation?” (Senior civil servants group)

  • 13.

    However, this was something that the comparative focus groups were

keen to discuss:

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    “ . . . in my work we generally tend to look at innovations as process of improving something” (IT Practitioners group)

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      “Innovation is just a fashionable word, it doesn’t even exist. There is just doing what you do better and delivering more value in an ongoing process. So if you can create that culture of improvement, renewal and replacement and make it part of everything you do, every day from the macro level of the organisation down to team structures. Then you have become innovative.” (IT Practitioners group)

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      “ . . . you actually . . .find very little innovation in large companies. You find most of the innovation in small companies which the large companies buy to gain the innovation.” (Business group)


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