Innovation, Collaboration and New Zealand Public Sector ICT Middle Managers
The case study explores the relationship New Zealand public sector information and communication technology (ICT) middle managers have with innovation and collaboration in relation to an all-of-government ICT strategy. Middle managers are key to implementing ICT strategy, innovation is a stated expectation and collaboration is a critical enabler. The study identified that awareness of the ICT strategy amongst middle managers was lower than desirable, although slightly higher from core public sector managers mandated to follow the strategy. There was not a consistent sense of what innovation is, although managers indicate they are engaging in innovations to quite a high degree. There is a very limited range of stakeholders collaborated with; primarily other agencies, consultants and vendors. This may inhibit potential for innovation that could come from wider engagement. Agencies are exhibiting a narrow view of collaboration and appear reluctant to share resources. Middle managers engage in collaboration and networking within their sector, and appreciate assistance provided by the Government Chief Information Officer, however they also note there is little support provided to collaborate. They would like more forums, facilitators, tools, and policies that support collaboration and systems thinking. The most significant factor empowering middle managers to innovate was the support of their senior manager; however lack of senior manager support was also noted as a significant issue. Primary barriers to innovation were workload and budget, leadership thinking, internal governance mechanisms and risk aversion.