During an innovation journey, there is a need to apply many methods and techniques. One danger is too try and apply the latest method or fad without consideration of the nature of the challenge. Be selective and contextual. The important requirements is to ensure that you can account for decisions in a responsible and reliable manner. With that in mind, an innovator should familiarise him/herself with some of the below methods (and if you want to explore, have a look at this landscape of innovation methods and techniques compiled by NESTA:

1.      Foresight

Foresight is one of the important planning tools that promote innovation. Foresight incorporates modern planning methods to ensure more efficient public service by note only allowing departments and units within departments to be able to predict and cope with surprise events that impact on service delivery to citizens but also to actively and collaboratively explore alternative futures and leverage innovation to achieve a preferred future.

2.      Behavioural Insight

Behavioural insights can help governments understand human behaviour – why do we do the things we do; why do we make the choices we make; what influences our decision-making? Understanding the answers to these questions can help government to improve their programs and services.

By better framing choices for citizens, governments can encourage citizens to make decisions that are in their best interest. Saving for retirement, making healthy living choices, participating in benefit programs – these are all things that governments want to help its citizens do. Behavioural insights is a simple way to identify opportunities to encourage these choices and behaviours.

3.      Design Thinking

“Design thinking” (also called “human-centered design” or HCD) is a creative problem-solving process that puts the user (the target audience or a client) at the center of attention in order to arrive at novel solutions that deeply reflect the user’s needs.

Although different schools of thoughts and terminology exist, the main pillars of the process are consistent and include deep empathy, listening and connecting to the user, experimenting through rapid and cheap prototyping, and constant iteration.

More recently, and in the light of the urgency to address climate change, HCD has been expanded to position humans within a larger environmental context.

4.      Systems Thinking

Systems thinking assists government confront, in a holistic way, problems that span administrative and territorial boundaries. They call for constant adjustment throughout the policy cycle, with implications for how institutions, processes, skills and actors are organized. Because they focus on outcomes, systems approaches require multiple actors within and across levels of government to work together. In order to effect systems change, administrations must develop a vision for a desired future outcome, a definition of the principles according to which that future system will operate, and a set of interventions that will start to change the existing system into the future system.