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the public, I have not seen manifested in the kind of products and services available . . . “

17. The theme of projects not being properly planned also extended to timescales. We asked organisations to estimate how long their particular innovation had taken in each stage of its development. Focus group participants again felt that the wide variation in time scales was perhaps unsurprising when the range of sizes of project was considered. They also felt that long time to market results may have different reasons:

  • o

    “I think you may have a problem here defining when an innovation begins.” (Mid-level civil servants group)

    • o

      “ . . . quite a lot of innovations are driven by financial years. So your timescale involves setting up a system and bidding for funds for the next financial year. . . So you can’t do it this financial year, you have to do it the next one.” (Mid-level civil servants group)

    • o

      “ . . . I have found with a lot of innovations that there is a lot of discussion before hand before signing off and agreeing to deliver it. So that might make some [timescales] look quite long.” (Mid-level civil servants group)

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      “If ministers have made their mind up, and they are determined that they want it driven forward, then I think the civil service can do it very quickly. It’s the kind of innovations that are created internally that are driven by discussions about whether what you are doing is right that can drift on for quite a long time when they don’t have that firm push behind them. “ (Mid-level civil servants group)

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      “ . . . bear in mind some of the more major innovations would actually require legislation.” (Business group)

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      “ . . . there is almost an expectation that it’s OK to rightside a project, you know, to extend the deadlines, come on ‘let’s just extend it’ . . . certainly that’s my experience.” (Project manager level civil servants group)

18. Others however felt that the average time to market of 30 months seemed long, especially when it related to IT:

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      “ . . . an average of 30 months to market seems long especially as with technology, by 30 months it can be virtually obsolescent by the time it arrives.” (Senior civil servants group)

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        “ . . if you’re going to run a project for a period that actually proves the benefits are going to be x, by the time you get to the end of it and approve it, the technology has moved on. In actual fact, there’s probably a better one, and you can test that one instead, and you never actually progress quickly enough to the stage at which you can actually bring it in.” (Project manager level civil servants group)

  • 19.

    The groups related this problem to the complexities of the public sector

procurement process:

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    “ . . . I think the IT figures were so horrendously long and that is because the public sector procurement process, so for example when I set up a joint venture for my IT function, I had to do . . . an object European wide procurement and it is horrendously complex and long


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