Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said
Public Servants needed to be challenged into believing in analytical thinking to break the barriers of innovation.
“I think the opportunity to be creative and imaginative lies to a great degree in the hands of the leadership in the institution.
If we just had heads and senior managers of departments who rather than taking the usual approach to strategic planning, would just ask ‘do you have any idea how we might do this better?’”
The Minister also said that performance agreements of all Public Servants also needed to be altered to include an aspect of innovation as a new area of delivery.
“What we think of service needs to change… I often look at our performance agreements and what they have in them.
I think it is only the performance agreement of the Director-General of Science
and Technology that has a requirement for innovation,” she pointed out.
“We might want to start thinking about what we are asking people to do and what we have set to them
… as performance and what we will actually reward because people will respond to that which is rewarded.
“We have to look at how we have crafted out requirements and the various aspects of performance assessments
in a way that will give life to the forms of creativity that we are talking about at this conference.”
Including innovation in performance agreements would, the Minister said, also give the necessary push to many public servants,
who have become complacent in how they have done their jobs over the past 20 years without embracing a new approach to deliver services quickly and efficiently.
There is now a greater demand to tap into the thinking economy, where new innovations could lead
to the discovery of new business ideas in the private sector that could bring about change in the Public Service.
And public servants, the Minister said, should steer clear of building walls around them due to a fear of losing their jobs to innovation.
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