“There is a gap in the innovation ecosystem in Vietnam today, which is promoting innovation in the public sector.” Mr. Do Tien Thinh, Deputy Director of the National Innovation Center (NIC) commented and said that for more than 2 months now, the team of experts from NIC and UNDP Vietnam have researched and searched for ideas with their wishes. developing a Framework for Measuring Innovation in the Public Sector (PII), contributing to promoting innovation in the public sector.
PII is an abbreviation of the phrase “Public Sector Innovation Index”. In Vietnam, according to the roadmap shared by the NIC&UNDP expert group, the development of PII is expected to follow 7 steps, of which step 1 is to develop a conceptual framework and a system of indicators; Step 2 is to consult experts and scientists. At step 2, the first consultation workshop was held by NIC on the morning of August 3, 2022, with the coordination of Mr. Do Tien Thinh. The workshop received a lot of comments and suggestions from the delegates, because measuring innovation in the public sector is a very difficult and very new story in Vietnam.
Policies related to innovation in the public sector
Mr. Vo Xuan Hoai, Deputy Director of NIC, said that in the world, the concept of innovation was recognized in 1930 by economist Joseph Schumpeter, then developed and perfected by many organizations and countries. common characteristics: must be novel and practical, bring added benefits to the economy and society. International studies show that innovation contributes up to 95% to the competitiveness of the economy; 91% with green economy; 87% with bringing value to the whole society… However, there are huge differences in innovation between the public and private sectors in all countries.
Specifically, according to Mr. Vo Xuan Hoai, the public sector operates according to political logic and conducts activities funded from the budget (taxes) in order to create politically defined public goods or serve the needs of the public. citizens' demand. The main drivers of innovation in the public sector are the non-profit spillover of innovation, collaboration, political decision-making, employee initiative, and citizen needs. Meanwhile, the business sector operates according to market logic, innovation is aimed at achieving competitive advantages and generating profits.
International studies show that innovation contributes up to 95% to the competitiveness of the economy; 91% with green economy…
In Vietnam, to promote innovation in the public sector, many major policies have been issued from 2017 to the present, including Resolution No. 52-NQ/TW dated September 27, 2019 of the Politburo on a number of issues. undertakings and policies to actively participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution; Investment Law 2020; Law on Supporting Small and Medium Enterprises 2017; Decree No. 94/2020/ND-CP stipulating preferential mechanisms and policies for the National Innovation Center; Decision No. 2889/QD-TTg on the National Strategy on the Fourth Industrial Revolution; Decision No. 749/QD-TTg approving the “National Digital Transformation Program to 2025, Orientation to 2030”; Decision No. 844/QD-TTg approving the Project "Supporting the national innovation startup ecosystem until 2025"; Decision No. 569/QD-TTg dated 11/5/2022 promulgating the Strategy for Science-Technology and Innovation Development to 2030… New decisions create a new legal foundation for innovation, but the way How to measure the innovation level of the public sector in Vietnam? This is a big question, a big gap, especially when placing this question next to the definitions of innovation in the public sector that have been proposed internationally in the past decade.
According to the European Commission (2013), innovation in the public sector is the process of generating new ideas and implementing those ideas to create value for society through new or improved processes or services. improvement improvement. The OECD (2016) defines: “Innovation in the public sector refers to significant improvements in public administration and/or services. It can be defined as the implementation of a new or significantly improved process, method, or service by a public sector organization for the purpose of improving the public sector entity's operations or results.” …
Ideas framework for innovation measurement index for the public sector
Research by the NIC & UNDP expert group led by Dr. Pham Thi Thu Trang presented, said that the development of an innovation measurement index framework for the public sector has been adopted by many economies such as Europe, the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore, and South Korea. implemented, with many different naming formats. The common point of agreement is to measure innovation in products/services; process innovation; policy innovation; media innovation; organizational innovation. The difference of calling and evaluation is in the scope of each innovation type definition and the weight for each specific type. Dr. Thu Trang shared the latest innovation capacity assessment framework (Kaur et al.(2022) – see the last table of the article) and proposed a framework for measuring innovation for the public sector in Vietnam.
Accordingly, the Vietnam Public Sector Innovation Index (PII) will be composed of 4 component indexes, including Innovation Inputs (policy, finance, people, infrastructure); Innovation capacity (characteristics of leaders, organizational culture, motivation...); Innovation activities and processes (access to new ideas, implementation of new ideas, cooperation and diffusion) and Innovation Outputs (newness, practical efficiency...).
The above proposals, the expert group said, needed suggestions from researchers and authorities to complete the idea. As shared, the process of building a new framework for measuring innovation in Vietnam's public sector is in Step 2 of the research team's 7-step process. When step 2 is completed, the research team will move on to step 3, which defines the survey method and develops the questionnaire. After this step, NIC & UNDP will conduct a pilot survey to complete the questionnaire, report, collect data, calculate the innovation measurement index for the public sector in Vietnam.
Commenting on the expert group of NIC & UNDP, Mr. Pham Quang Ngoc, Lecturer at FSB School of Business Administration and Technology, FPT University and National Economics University, assessed the synthesis of experiences from other countries to build Building an index for Vietnam is very good, but in practice there will be unforeseen difficulties, such as measuring the financial problems for innovation. The government has very strong commitments to spend budget for innovation, but how are localities and how to get the exact number is not a simple story. Even with the right method, the right input data is required for the index to be meaningful. "I am very afraid of the problem of exaggerating the index, the answer is in favor of the agency," said Mr. Ngoc.
Mr. Ly Dinh Quan, Director of Song Han Incubation & Entrepreneurship Center, said that innovation in the public sector plays an important role, creating a breakthrough to promote the private sector and economic growth of Vietnam. However, there are still many localities that do not understand and promote innovation, so in order to build a feasible and effective set of indicators, it is necessary to have equal development among localities and sectors. Only then will the new set of indicators bring into full play their value in the actual implementation process.
According to Mr. Quan, human resources for innovation in Vietnam are still limited, so the issue of developing human resources for innovation should also be concerned through promoting linkages with universities and experts. . Mr. Dinh Quan highly appreciated the idea and method of building the PSII index in Vietnam, but said that it is necessary to shorten and find ways to link innovation in the public sector with the local ecosystem to create momentum for innovation. .
Head of Industry and Enterprise Economic Forecasting Department, National Center for Socio-economic Information and Forecasting, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Mr. Tran Toan Thang commented that building a set of innovation indexes in the public sector is a difficult task, even more difficult to compare and rank. The most difficult thing is that the public sector has a compliance principle, that is, all officials and employees must comply with the regulations of their superiors, or both subordinates and superiors must operate according to the set principles. before.
Accordingly, Mr. Thang suggested that the research team should divide the assessment of public administration and public career. Public administration follows the principle of compliance, while public service is more open and has room for easier innovation. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the indicators of public administration and public career.
From the Vietnam Confederation of Trade and Industry (VCCI), Mr. Pham Ngoc Thach shared, if Vietnam builds this index, it will contribute to promoting positive change in the public sector.
Mr. Thach said, according to VCCI's survey, many public agencies have initiatives and changes in the provision of public services and in handling administrative procedures. Accordingly, it is necessary to find out which initiatives are effective in localities, ministries and sectors and, if measured, will be very useful in encouraging and replicating the economy. Mr. Thach commented, the scope of assessment on innovation to calculate the index for each unit must be within its authority, functions and tasks, because the nature of the public service sector is completely different from the private sector. Along with that, the set of indicators needs to use a combination of both self-assessment methods and public opinion surveys from the outside, to increase objectivity when publishing results.