Spread Public Innovation (FR0025)
Action Plan: France, First Action Plan, 2015-2017
Action Plan Cycle: 2015
Lead Institution: Ministry for the Decentralization and the Civil Service; Ministry of State for State Reform and Simplification, attached to the Prime Minister
Support Institution(s): NA
Policy AreasCapacity Building, E-Government, Public Participation
The administration must be able to work with the contributions of collective intelligence and develop a culture of innovation, an essential driver of government modernization. The coconstruction of public action is nevertheless a still recent process, which applied research may contribute to improving.
CONTEXT & AIM
Each ministry has defined a ministerial program for modernization and simplification33, in which innovation and the digital sector hold a central place. New ministerial roadmaps will be produced for the summer of 2015. Specific actions to support innovation and its diffusion in each ministry have also begun.
The Government has also put in place the "Futurs Publics" program34, led by the SecretariatGeneral for Government Modernization (SGMAP), as well as the "Réacteur Public" program35.
These programs enable experimentation and testing, "in laboratory mode" and on a small scale, of new solutions to the challenges of public service, and the development, within the administration, of an open system conducive to innovation.
The "Investment for the future" program has also mobilized a "Digital transition and government modernization" fund of €126 million, dedicated to six large areas of innovation, including one on open data.
Several recommendations made in the report presented by Akim Oural to the Ministry for the Decentralization and the Civil Service on April 24th 2015 address the need for new collaborative and consultation practices, within administrations and with their environment.
These changes to the administration’s operating methods will facilitate the development of digital uses enabling a profound transformation in administrative culture, and instilling a process of openness. These collaborations must still be facilitated by tools, resources and tailored processes, and by the stimulation of an ecosystem of innovators active throughout the territory.
Recent years have seen an increase and newfound interest in research programs targeting public innovation and co-construction of public action. In Paris, the Interdisciplinary Research
Center (CRI) has been carrying out research on the adoption, sharing and co-construction of knowledge, ideas and common goods; on the creation of public assets and on the ability to leverage collective intelligence to solve the 21st century’s hardest challenges. The Interdisciplinary Research Centre (CRI) was founded in 2005 in Paris, it is hosted by the Paris Descartes University and supported by the MENESR (Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research) and by the "La France s'engage" program. A research program dedicated to co-construction of public action and to open government will be established in order to continuously improve the definition and implementation of these policies.
• Drive the development of territorial public innovation
- Constitute a national network of "public accelerators": creation of territorial innovation platforms, "structures for sharing expertise and resources between administrations, elected representatives, State services, civil society and private organizations in a region, to accelerate innovative projects in the general interest". Prototypes are being implemented in several territories at the initiative of local authorities and private players
- Make the digital a driver for transformation in the territories through "territorial hackathons" modeled on Etalab’s practices and intended for local authorities
- Develop a reference social network and national web platform for the projects and actors of regional and local innovation
• Set up a program of applied research on open government
- In partnership with the Interdisciplinary Research Centre, organize collaborative events and explore the mobilization of collective intelligence and communities of citizens for the creation of public innovations, the co-construction of public action and open government
IRM End of Term Status Summary
1. Drive the development of territorial public innovation
· Constitute a national network of 'public accelerators': creation of territorial innovation platforms, 'structures for sharing expertise and resources between administrations, elected representatives, State services, civil society and private organizations in a region, to accelerate innovative projects in the general interest'. Prototypes are being implemented in several territories at the initiative of local authorities and private players
· Make the digital a driver for transformation in the territories through 'territorial hackathons' modeled on Etalab's practices and intended for local authorities.
· Develop a reference social network and national web platform for the projects and actors of regional and local innovation
2. Set up a program of applied research on open government
· In partnership with the Interdisciplinary Research Centre, organize collaborative events and explore the mobilization of collective intelligence and communities of citizens for the creation of public innovations, the co-construction of public action and open government
Editorial Note: This is a partial version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text please see France's national action plan: https://bit.ly/2MTYhsR.
Responsible Institutions: Ministry for the Decentralization and the Civil Service; Ministry of State for State Reform and Simplification, attached to the Prime Minister
Supporting Institution(s): N/A
Start Date: Not Specified
End Date: Not Specified
The commitment aimed to help local authorities develop digital innovation in the public sector by creating innovation platforms, supporting local hackathons, and developing a social network for local innovation. Secondly, it sought to promote better understanding of open government by supporting research on the topic. This commitment is based on the idea that digital innovation must be spread evenly across the public sector, especially at the local level. The commitment activities include joining local and state authorities in the challenge to identify and test new methods for designing public policy involving all stakeholders.
Completion of this commitment was limited at the midterm. Two calls for proposals financed by the Future Investments Program (Investissements d'Avenir) were launched in 2016: “Professional territorial communities” and “Territorial innovation laboratories.[Note162: In French, territoire refers to a sub-national geographic area.]” A hackathon on open contracting data was organised by SGMAP, Bretagne Regional Council, and Breizh Small Business Act association in Rennes organised and gathered 70 participants who worked in four thematic groups.
Regarding the program of applied research on open government, no formal research program had been established at the end of the first year. However, a partnership agreement was concluded with CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) to include a researcher (Sarah Labelle from the University Paris 13) on the Etalab team. Her work was featured during an event organised in October 2016 to debate and discuss emerging participative practices taking place in local administrations as well as in the private sector. Lastly, the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI), the French Embassy in London, and the innovation foundation, Nesta, organised a seminar entitled “Digital Government: Next Steps & Potential Futures,” with 26 researchers from France and the UK.
End of Term: Limited
Completion of this commitment is still considered limited in accordance with the government self-assessment. Several activities were undertaken during the implementation period but they do not fulfil the objectives that the government set out in the commitment text.
The calls for proposals financed by the Future Investments Program selected twelve initiatives in the “Territorial innovation laboratories” category, of which three had a digital component, mostly focussed on generating collaboration between public and private actors on digital issues. The IRM researcher, however, was not able to find any publicly available information regarding initiatives awarded in the “Professional territorial communities” category.
Sarah Labelle spent five months with the Etalab team, splitting her time between supporting the team's operations and conducting her research. Her activities focused on developing a framework to understand civil servants' training needs, developing communication material, and providing visual supporting materials for meetings. She worked with OpenData France to develop a series of modules that have since been tested.[Note163: More information can found here: http://opendatalocale.net/index.php/jeu-serieux-les-explorateurs-des-donnees-territoriales/ (accessed 2 Nov. 2017).] Her main suggestion from this time spent with the Etalab team is that such innovations should be influenced both by research (data science, computer science, sociology, political science, communication, etc.) and the host administration.
Regarding the commitment activity to develop a formal research program, the IRM researcher could not find any publicly available information on whether this was started.
Did It Open Government?
Civic Participation: Did Not Change
This commitment aimed to improve opportunities for the public to inform or influence decisions through territorial public innovations and investment in applied research on the topic of open government. The limited completion of the activities makes it hard to observe any significant change in government practices. The activities that were implemented, namely the call for proposals and the short-term integration of a researcher within the Etalab team did not contribute to any significant changes in government practice regarding civic participation because the scope of the activities was too limited. Insufficient publicly-available information exists on any permanent adoption of the activities implemented. As such this commitment is considered to have not opened government practice with regards to civic participation.
This commitment was carried over to the next action plan. In the new action plan, this commitment is focussed on the General Interest Entrepreneurs (EIG) (Entrepreneurs d'intérêt general), which the government want to institutionalise through consistent funding and the development of an alumni network. The commitment also mentions an objective to develop bills and regulations based on the EIG experience to foster technological innovation in public administrations. The new action plan contains a commitment on the development of an “open science” ecosystem, with planned actions such as increasing transparency of research funding, develop an open archive and promote open access to research.