Towards an innovation culture
in the public sector

Bern EventFabrik
22/11/2022 – 9:30 17:00



9:30 19:00

Conference Journey Review

During the first edition of the civicInnovation Conference the participants could explore the why, what and how of innovation in the public sector. After a day full of inspirational keynotes, hands-on learning labs and encounters with like-minded people, the attendees returned to their workplaces with concrete innovation tools, newly gained energy and a desire to drive culture change within the public sector forward.

Below you find a summary of this exciting and inspirational journey. If you had the chance to join us live, feel free to come back to these resources to reconnect to the inspiration you felt during the journey. If you weren’t able to join us live, you can use the resources as inspiration to grow more into an innovator in the public sector.

Step 1: Where are we going?

The first journey step allowed the participants to re-think the future of public innovation in Switzerland. Inspired by different welcome speeches and keynotes, the participants could ask themselves: What can we learn from other examples? What do we want the future of the public sector in Switzerland to look like? What culture change do we need to establish that vision and what does that mean for my work environment?

Welcome speech Walter Thurnherr (Video)

In his welcome speech Walter Thurnherr, Swiss Chancellor and President of the Advisory Board of civicChallenge, humorously reflected on his personal experiences in the public sector and how the public sector has evolved. He shared three points that he feels are crucial for establishing a culture of innovation and underlined that instead of just criticising what is not going well, we need to invest in the public sector to accelerate change.

Keynote Brenton Caffin: the core values of a public innovation culture (Video)

The participants then had the chance to travel to Australia and got inspired by the keynote of Brenton Caffin, Executive Director, Strategy and Policy at at Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Government of South Australia. He talked about the core values of a public innovation culture and shared insights of his personal professional journey in the public sector as well as the innovation actors Nesta and States of Change. He skill-fully introduced and explained the three values he deems essential building blocks for a culture change: curiosity, courage and compassion.

Keynote Anna Piperal: designing future-minded governance (Video)

The next stop brought the participants to the digital pioneer country Estonia. Anna Piperal, e-governance expert and digital transformation mindset coach, passionately introduced the story of Estonia and inspired the participants to think about three major mindset shifts and how that could lead to a future vision of more innovation in the public sector in Switzerland.

Keynote Nicole Burth: Einfach, sicher, digital – auch im Behördenumfeld (Video)

Back in Switzerland, Nicole Burth, CEO Communication Services at the Swiss Post, discussed the current challenges in the Swiss context and explained why digital skills and digital empowerment are crucial for an innovative future. She drew parallels between the Swiss post and the public sector and inspired by sharing best practices as well as the path of culture change that led to more innovation at the Swiss Post.

Journey Step 2: What does it look like?

In the second journey step the Conference participants participated in two learning labs of their choice during which they could acquire different innovation tools and methods. These learning labs were carefully crafted and delivered by our Conference partners who covered a vast range of topics. By clicking on the links you gain access to the slides of our partner organizations.

Journey Step 3: How do we get there?

During the Marketplace, the participants had the chance to meet innovation actors, participate in coaching spaces or playfully acquire new innovation tools. This space enabled the attendees to dive deeper into topics that interested them and have meaningful conversations with different actors about how we can actually implement innovative change. Listening in on conversations, we heard innovative ideas being discussed and questions being asked about the stages and challenges from project idea to implementation. The atmosphere was colorful, chatty and inspiring – a marketplace to foster innovation.

Journey Step 4: What am I learning and what can I do?

After deep diving into topics of their choice, the participants found their way back to the main stage to reflect on the questions of the journey in a roundtable with Danny Bürkli (staatslabor), Pierre Gentile (Canton de Vaud) and Sylvine Bois-Choussy (la 27e Région).

The journey ended with self-reflection on how to actually implement the tools, ideas and change that participants learned and discussed during the day. These findings were vividly discussed during the Apéro.

civicChallenge Price Ceremony

In the evening the much-awaited civicChallenge Price Ceremony took place during which the civicChallenge winners of 2021 introduced the progress of their projects and many emotions flowed as the winners of 2022 contest were revealed.

You can discover the winner projects 2022 here.


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