Innovation conference - Development, Design and Delivery
The Centre for Economic Empowerment's eleventh research report, 'Fostering Innovation Through Public Procurement', was launched at the conference. The study, carried out independently by Envision Management Consultants, focused on the extent to which public procurement policy and practice in Northern Ireland encourages innovation and made recommendations for improvement.
Stephen Peover, Chair of the Chief Executive's Forum and Lisa McElherron, Head of Public Affairs at NICVA, welcomed delegates and set the tone of the conference providing both the public and voluntary and community sector position on public procurement.
Elaine Scullion, Senior Consultant at Envision Management Consultants and author of the report, presented the findings and provided delegates with an overview of the recommendations made.
Minister for Finance and Personnel Simon Hamilton responded to the findings of the report and supported the recommendations. He stated that procurement was arguably one of the most complicated areas of governance but that procurement also had a hugely powerful role in encouraging innovation especially in the context of reducing budgets from Westminster.
The keynote address was delivered by Wayne Hemingway, Co-founder of Hemingway Designs and Red or Dead fashion. Wayne talked through his own colourful career path, highlighting to delegates that bravery and creativity were required to introduce innovative processes and practice into their work. He advised government to let go of rules and regulations as design was about improving things that matter in life. He stated that a sharing economy was the future of a balanced society and cited examples such as Air BnB and Ebay as transformative in how people lived their life.
The next session focused on innovative processes with three civil servants talking about how innovation can be embedded into government decision making and/or project and policy design.
Andrea Siodmok, Head of the UK Cabinet Office Policy Lab, outlined her steps to becoming more innovative within organisations and stated that delegates shouldn't be afraid of failure - not doing something was often more dangerous than trying something and getting it wrong. Malcolm Beattie, Head of the Innovation Lab at the Department of Finance and Personnel outlined to delegates what the lab was working on and what it hoped to achieve over the next few years. The final speaker in this section was Deirdre Ni Raghallaigh, Former head of The Studio in Dublin City Council. The Studio was Dublin's innovation lab which closed after three years. Deirdre shared learning with delegates and outlined The Studio's legacy projects.
The final session focused on innovative practices within organisations and outlined to delegates how they could each make their organisation more innovative.
Maeve Monaghan, Chief Executive of the NOW Group told delegates that innovation was not rocket science and each organisation needed to look at where the gaps and ensure that they were still delivering what was needed. Mary Maginn, AD:EPT Caseworker with Start360, addressed the conference on the innovative practices adopted by the AD:EPT project and how procurement in some instances can support innovation but that the process can be lengthy which can hinder it. Leona McAllister, Commercial Director at Plotbox IT, told delegates that the best way to be innovative was to learn new ways of doing things, deal with change and be flexible.
Have a look at our storify to see the Twitter coverage of the conference.
For more information contact Jenny McEneaney on [email protected] or 028 9087 7777.
Videos included below:
Simon Hamilton (Minister of Finance and Personnel) - Speaking at the Innovation conference
Wayne Hemmingway (Hemmingway Designs)
Simon Hamilton MLA and Wayne Hemmingway - Discussion
Andrea Siodmok (Head of the Policy Lab, UK Government Cabinet Office)
Malcolm Beattie (Head of Innovation Lab, Department of Finance and Personnel)
Deirdre Ni Raghallaigh (Former head of The Studio, Dublin City Council)