Although the public sector needs to innovate to meet the increasing demand of citizens, innovation in public sector is more difficult to define and identify. Efforts to better understand and to promote public sector innovation are greatly hindered by a lack of quantitative evidence. Therefore, we strongly need a measurement framework, which could provide internationally comparable indicators, and which would give information on the characteristics of public sector innovation, particularly on its drivers and barriers, providing thus scientific evidence for effective policy making and benchmarking. Apart from some national and regional pilot initiatives, there is no such a conceptual framework at EU or international level, which could provide comparable information on how the public sectors of Member States innovate, and also on the policy responses needed to enhance innovation in the public sector.
Measurement of innovation in the private sector is relatively well advanced, and a set of indicators are available and used in the Innovation Union scoreboard. However, similar information on public sector innovation is very limited.
Public services are among the most knowledge-intensive and value added of all sectors. Therefore, the public sector has a huge potential for innovation, and public sector innovation is now perceived as a fundamental factor in addressing globalization and grand societal challenges and also as a stimulus for business innovation. Public sector represents about 45% of the EU’s GDP, 15% of the total employment in the EU and, as regards public procurement, 17% of GDP. There is a strong need for efficiency gains, better governance, more user involvement, as budgetary and human resources pressures are imminent.
The aim is to raise the visibility, debate and level of understanding of innovation in the public sector.
The European Public Sector Innovation Scoreboard (EPSIS) is experimental. By giving visibility to the extent of innovation in the public sector, it should help to improve the quality of the debate, and support Member States in developing policies to support public sector innovation.
The Commission has been piloting a European Public Sector Innovation Scoreboard (EPSIS). Two Eurobarometer surveys of public service organisations and among business were conducted. In May 2012, a large workshop was organised to discuss the proposed methodology with the experts, representatives of member states, Commission services and OECD. The main challenge remains the data availabilty and lack of common definitions. The Commission continues the work in cooperation with OECD and relevant experts. New data will be available from the Community Innovation Survey 2012 where the impact of public sector on business innovation was included. This will be a unique input for the planned EPSIS 2015. Further, a new Eurobarometer 2014 is under preparation to collect some additional insights that could be used to develop additional indicators in the next edition of the EPSIS.