Foundations for Effectve Innovation in the Justice System

All of us interested in innovation (and I hope that means all of us) should find this paper both interesting and a useful tool to challenge our institutions to lay the foundations for enhanced innovations.

Maurits Barendrecht, at Tilburg University in the Netherlands,  has taken two prior literature reviews of facts encouraging public sector innovation generally, and started to analyse their applicability to innovation in the justice system.

The factors are:

A.     Generating Possibilities

1.    Vision and Commitment from Government

2.    Focus on Users, Frontline Staff and Middle Managers

3.    Diversity

4.    Scanning of Horizons and Margins: A Process Need

5.    Developing Capacity For Creative Thinking

6.    Working Backwards From Outcome Goals: Terms of Reference.

7.    Creating Time and Space

8.    Allow Breaking the Rules

9.    Competition: The Submission Problem and Regulation of Legal Services

B.      Developing Innovations

1.    Appropriate Selection of Fruitful Ideas: Simplifying Procedures

2.    Adequate Risk Management

3.    Fostering Innovation Champions

4.    Creating Incubating Space

5.    Involving Incubators and Public-private Partnerships

6.    Introduce Modeling

7.    Better Funding for Early Development

8.    Involving End Users at All Stages

C.      Replicating and Scaling Up

1.    Improved Incentives for Individuals and Teams

2.    Improved Incentives for Organizations.

3.    Scaling Up and Disruptive Innovation

4.    Specialize and Beware of Early Standardization

5.    Change management

D.      Analyzing and Learning

1.    Metrics for success

2.    Real Time Learning

3.    Peer and User Involvement

4.    Double Loop Learning

5.    Variety of Perspectives

Richard Moorhead discusses these factors in some detail here.

We have in our community successful innovation histories, such as problem solving courts, and the website networks, but all of know all too well of to us “obvious” ideas that have never obtained traction, or clear successes that never seem to be appropriately replicated.

I would suggest that organizations should be conducting a “self-assessment” to test whether they have in place enough of these foundational elements to allow their organizations to innovate and replicate innovations.  Every board member in our organizations should get to see the paper.

I would particularly challenge LSC in its strategic planning process to think about what it could do to turn its grantees into innovation engines.

I would also urge SJI to think about what it can do to help state courts not only fix immediate problems, but also change their cultures and structures to meet the criteria in this paper.

Any thoughts, folks on which of this list are most important?


About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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