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Canada Rewards Civil Servants for Innovative Ideas

Here is one idea that might get Irish government departments thinking. Canada (who incidentally came out of the whole banking collapse/world recession quite well thank you very much) is setting up a reward system for innovation in their civil service. The Employee Innovation Program will offer cash awards to public servants who come up with creative and practical ideas that lead to tangible savings and improved services to citizens.

In the two-year pilot programme, individuals or teams need to develop an approved plan to deliver a required service in a better way while reducing costs. They also get  the opportunity to put that plan into action. As the website states: “t is important to engage employees in reducing costs and improving services. After all, they know the business best. This program will act as an incentive for employees to come forward with innovative ideas, allowing us to improve the way we work and be more efficient.”

It is then audited (what a novel idea!!!!)  after six months and IF it can show real savings and improved service, then the employees are given 10% of the savings measured in the first year of implementation, up to a maximum of  $10,000.

As the Minister in charge is quoted as saying “This is a win-win situation for everyone. Employees are rewarded for creativity and innovation and taxpayers benefit from improved service and more effective use of taxpayer dollars.”

Usually in Ireland we shell out on consultants reports, perhaps asking those in the various services themselves for ideas first hand and then rewarding not the idea but the successful implementation is the way to go. What have we got to lose?

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