There are different ideas of what an innovation is. Many think of technologies, such as recently blockchain (or distributed ledger) technology or artificial intelligence (AI) and the new technical devices in which these technologies are used (autonomous cars, robots).
However, the concept of innovation is much broader. An innovation can be anything that is fundamentally new or has been renewed or further developed. The OECD defines an innovation as follows:
"Innovation is the introduction of a new or significantly improved product (or service), a new process, or a new marketing or organizational method into business practice, work processes, or external relationships."
Source: OECD/Eurostat (2005): ”OSLO Manual: Guidelines for collecting and interpreting innovation data”, 3rd ed., Paris: OECD/Eurostat, p. 46
Accordingly, four types of innovations can be distinguished:
However, the last two play a minor role in the public sector.
The key differentiator here is the novelty of the innovation to the organization, the market, or even the world.
Another differentiator is the level of change that the innovation brings, making it different from traditional products/services. These are then referred to as incremental and radical innovations.
Above all, the procurement of radical innovations is a challenge, since the risk here is particularly high. However, this also entails special potential that could be decisive for the public sector and contribute to the realization of the vision of the Federal Government's High-Tech Strategy 2025 to make Germany an innovative nation.