Recognising innovation in the public sector

In her keynote address at the annual Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) awards held in Ekurhuleni (Kempton Park) on November 1, chairperson of the portfolio committee on public service and administration, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, described the glamorous event as the “Oscars of the public sector in South Africa”.

Featuring representatives of numerous local government departments from around the country, the evening showcased how innovation has become an essential part of the best practice of the public sector.

The event was established to recognise successful and effective service delivery projects and initiatives that have been achieved through the application of innovative approaches, methodologies and tools.

It also provides opportunities for information sharing and learning as well as possibilities for partnerships and the replication of successful initiatives throughout the country.

“These awards celebrate not only the innovation of the public sector, but also showcase how we are making a difference to improve the lives of normal citizens. All our finalists have been selflessly dedicating themselves to work for the betterment of the country and we want to recognise that,” says Thuli Radebe, chief executive of the CPSI.

She believes that the public sector is blessed with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. It also has immense potential to come up with effective and efficient innovation solutions that address the challenges faced.

“The public sector can produce solutions that have the potential to make us prevail over the challenges that typically deter our progress in meeting the needs of citizens.”

Chose Choeu, the chairperson of the 2013 adjudication panel and an executive manager at Eskom, says the passion of the finalists for solving problems needs to be celebrated.

“This is a very special day for us and has become a hallmark of the year. These entrants are showing other departments how they have found a way to work with the limited resources at their disposal. They are all for doing and not just for talking. We have to create our own future and the best way to do so is to invent it. These awards recognise that,” he says.

Important stepping stone
Liziwe Konyana, executive for communication and member affairs of event sponsor GEMS (Government Employees Medical Scheme) echoes this sentiment and says innovation helps to create healthy employees who share a vision of improving the quality of lives of the citizens of the country.

“These awards are the catalyst of driving innovation in the public sector. As an organisation we are committed to improve the lives of our members and this event reflects our passion,” she says.

Sbusiso Kumalo, head of corporate affairs at event sponsor Capitec Bank, agrees.

“Partnering on an initiative such as the CPSI awards is important to the future development of new products and services. The hard work, dedication and out-of-the-box thinking of the finalists are helping the CPSI to improve the quality of service to people,” he says.

Frans Kalp, deputy principal of the Ligbron Academy e-learning project and the 2012 winner of the Innovator of the Year award, says the Ligbron Academy project has grown significantly since receiving the prestigious accolade last year.

“The award has enabled us to start several additional projects this year thanks to the exposure and awareness that have resulted from it. We have also been invited to many local and international events to share our learnings with influencers from around the world,” he says.

Immeasurable value
Moloi-Moropa says the ability to innovate is at the root of our existence.

“It is the defining character of people to try new and better ways of doing things. By being innovative in the public sector, we are making progressive change inevitable. These awards help unearth and unlock so much potential for the rest of the public sector. Through the years, the CPSI has unearthed highly innovative projects and has raised the bar. This evening, we have seen our public sector rising to the challenge.”

The overall winner of the evening was the animal health programme at the Rust de Winter communal farming area.

“Managed by the department of agriculture and rural development in Gauteng, the project not only won in its category, but also walked away with the Public Sector Innovator of the Year award for 2013.

“Role players in the project include the Gauteng Veterinary Services and farmers in Rust de Winter. They are working in collaboration with students and veterinarians from the University of Pretoria as well as pharmaceutical companies, such as MSD, Virbac, Pfizer and Onderstepoort Biological products. These awards are testament to the hard work and effort that the entire project team has put in.

“It builds on the international recognition we received earlier this year in the Czech Republic from the World Veterinary Association and really gives us momentum going forward. It also provides that extra motivation for the team who has dedicated countless hours to the project,” says Faculty Baloyi from the department.

And the winner is …
Category A: Innovative partnerships in service delivery
Animal Health programme at Rust de Winter Communal Farming Area — Department of agriculture and rural revelopment, Gauteng

Category B: Innovative use of ICTs for effective service delivery
Tele-medicine (Tele-radiology) — Department of health, KwaZulu-Natal

Category C: Innovative service delivery institutions
Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project — City of Johannesburg, Gauteng

Category D: Innovative enhancements of internal systems of government
Improvement of food security through community based mechanisation — Department of agriculture, rural development and land administration, Mpumalanga

Public Sector Innovator of the Year 2013
Animal Health programme at Rust de Winter Communal Farming Area — Department of agriculture and rural development, Gauteng

About the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI)
As the name suggests, the CPSI is responsible for innovation in the public service for effectiveness and efficiency in its service delivery to the public.

Established in 2001 as a Section 21 entity, the CPSI is focused on creating a climate in which innovation is encouraged, rewarded and implemented as best practice.

In 2008, the CPSI became the first government component listed in the Public Service Act.

This article forms part of a supplement paid for by the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI). Contents and photographs were supplied and signed off by CPSI

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