Research project

Scaling-up Digital Innovations for the Public Sector

Digital transformation of government and public sector innovation are high on the agenda of the European Commission and indeed for most governments throughout Europe; the COVID-19 pandemic has brought this even more into the spotlight. The public sector requires new capabilities for driving and scaling innovation. In particular, capabilities that enable governments to create positive impact by solving major societal challenges and generating public value.

The importance of generating and maintaining these capabilities within the public sector are a key point of focus and many governments across Europe, and especially in Germany, have launched political initiatives to further develop this. However, progress has been slow and often fail to meet expectations.

Increasingly, there has been a rapidly developing focus on building the infrastructure and processes for creating innovations in the public sector to help overcome the currently perceived lacklustre pace of improvement. Yet, there is more to innovation than ideation, and appropriate attention must be given to not only development, but also the sustainability and scaling of such innovations. How to do this well, and sustain and scale public sector innovations, is a question that must be researched and answered.

The Scaling-Up Public Sector Digital Innovations in Europe project addresses precisely this need.

The project, a joint knowledge initiative between the McKinsey Centre for Government and a team from the Hertie School’s Centre for Digital Governance led by Gerhard Hammerschmid, will systematically analyse existing knowledge on and real-world examples of scaling up public sector innovations. As a result of this research, new understanding will be created on how public sector innovations can be scaled, success factors and barriers will be identified, and policy recommendations will be disseminated to assist policy makers across Europe with the needed knowledge on how scaling innovations can be best achieved.

Faculty and researchers

  • Jessica Breaugh, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Hertie School

  • Gerhard Hammerschmid, Professor of Public and Financial Management

  • Sona Jose, Research Assistant at the Centre for Digital Governance 

  • Keegan McBride, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Digital Governance

  • Ann-Marie Rittler, Research Assistant at the Centre for Digital Governance