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German Research Institute for Public Administration

IT Incubator for Public Administration

The project "IT Incubator for Public Administration" deals with the organisational approaches for creating and promoting start-up structures for innovative IT solutions through public administration.

To strengthen their innovative ability, more and more small and flexible units will be entrusted in public administration with the development of innovative services and modernisation tasks. They thus put into practice insights from economic and social science organisational and innovation research. According to these insights, the authorities themselves together with the agility, dynamism and flat hierarchies of the young growth companies can create an especially innovative climate by emulating start-up structures in an established organisation and by combining the potential in the science and experience of external IT consultants. A similar strategic goal is the basis of the open innovation approach.

The public sector in Germany has so far been reluctant to adapt the corresponding approaches. Countries like Great Britain, the USA, Australia and even Italy have taken a pioneering role here. In order to take advantage of the potential of the advancing digitalisation to perform public tasks and to optimise the administrative services by using digitalisation, the Obama government for example drafted an innovation-oriented scholarship programme (Presidential Innovation Fellows) and established two organisational entities to create internal administrative structures to advance digital transformation projects.

In a further step, the project will focus on the German public administration and examine comparable networks and structures in Germany. This includes, for example, the NExT network of the federal authorities or the projects on digital pilots in cities such as Mannheim, Heidelberg, Bremen or Kontanz. These organizational units assume functions comparable to those of the digital service teams abroad and can serve as an important model for the German administration.


Note: The text on this home page is copyrighted. It is taken verbatim or based on Martini, "Digitalisierung als Herausforderung und Chance für Staat und Verwaltung" (Digitalisation as Challenge and Chance for State and Administration), FÖV Discussion Paper No. 85, 2016, in particular p. 76 ff. 

Senior Fellow

Prof. Dr. Ines Mergel