Master of Public Policy  

Scaling up digital innovation in the public sector

This course will help students develop a more systematic understanding of digital innovation in the public sector and of how such innovations can be scaled up based on both research and case studies from administrative practice. Public administrations are increasingly engaging with a growing number of disruptive innovations, both with regard to service delivery and policymaking, with most of them originating in the private sector and being enabled by new technologies such as AI, DLT or cloud technologies. While knowledge about public sector innovation has grown substantially over the last decade, both in academia and in practice, a key question of high practical relevance has not been addressed nearly as much: How can such innovations developed by one government grow and be scaled up and be adapted by other government organisations in order to enable digital public sector innovation on a broader scale?

Based on existing research and theoretical/conceptual frameworks for understanding public sector innovation, such as from the OECD and NESTA, the seminar will take a closer look at existing experiences of scaling up digital innovations in key policy areas such as public transport, citizen services and education in order to better understand the phase of scaling up innovations and developing policy recommendations. The participants will gain insights from consulting cases and be acquainted with working techniques and consultancy practices.

The project course is structured as follows:
1. Develop an analytical framework for understanding how public sector innovations can be scaled and grown;
2. Perform research into and analyse European best practices for successfully scaling up digital innovations in core policy fields and cases/experiences provided by the practice partner;
3. Conclude the project by generating policy recommendations and key sources for government officials on how to scale up digital innovations.

Practice Partner: This project course is organised in collaboration with the "McKinsey Centre for Government (MCG)" located in Berlin. The centre has been established recently to serve as a global hub for research, analysis and collaboration in government productivity and performance. Drawing on the deep expertise and experience of its participating practitioners, MCG provides governments and leaders with insights, tools and capabilities to help them address their most critical and common challenges and ultimately improve the lives of the citizens they serve. The MCG will be represented by Sebastian Stern, Senior Partner and head of McKinsey's Public Sector Practice in Germany. His extensive public sector experience spans organisations in German and European public administration on topics including employment, defense, security and IT.


  • Gerhard Hammerschmid , Professor of Public and Financial Management | Director, Centre for Digital Governance