CIVTECH, the Scottish Government’s national Accelerator programme, has been nominated for three awards in recognition of its contribution to innovation within the public sector.
The programme was shortlisted for two Scottish Public Service Awards in the Public Service Reform and Sustainability categories and received a nomination for the Civil Service Award for Innovation.
The Scottish Public Service Awards recognise outstanding achievements within Scotland’s civic landscape. Its Public Service Reform category rewards organisations that have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing public services through a collaborative approach, whilst the Sustainability category celebrates public organisations developing new ways to help Scotland reduce its carbon emissions.
The Civil Service’s Innovation award recognises the role that new technologies and approaches play in improving public services.
CivTech helps public organisations to solve a range of Challenges using the CivTech Accelerator model – an intensive process of testing, learning and adapting new ideas. Following open invitations for innovative proposals from businesses and members of the public, CivTech works closely with successful applicants to quickly develop technological and digital solutions for use by the commissioning public sector organisation.
A number of organisations across Scotland have benefitted from this model since the programme opened in 2015. Recently, CivTech worked with housing technology start-up Homelync to create an IoT data tracking system, allowing Stirling Council to deliver more efficient public housing services.
In 2019, the Accelerator programme supported Forestry and Land Scotland’s tree planting initiative, designed to help tackle the climate crisis. Working with five teams from across Scotland, the process led to the development of new efficient tree planting methods. This included an innovative technology for transplanting seedlings which allows 150,000 trees able to be planted in an hour, leading to more than 4,000,000 trees planted overall so far.
In recent months, the Accelerator’s focus has shifted to the Covid-19 pandemic, seeking out new ways to deliver public services in the face of unprecedented logistical and financial hurdles.
Speaking of the recent nominations, Mark Elliot, Programme Director at CivTech said: “We’re very pleased to have been nominated for three awards, all of which highlight the importance of innovation to the public sector.
“Much as the private sector relies upon innovation to remain profitable, the public sector must innovate to deliver social advancements that benefit society.
“Innovations in the public sector not only improve people’s lives; they also have a direct positive impact upon the Scottish economy.”
Whilst most private sector accelerators have a success rate of just 25%, CivTech’s initiatives have been significantly more fruitful, with 97% of its concepts adopted by public sector organisations following development.
Mark believes that the programme’s success can be attributed to CivTech’s collaborative partnerships with organisations in both the public and private sectors: “While private accelerators routinely develop strong concepts, at the end of the process many find that there’s no market for them. As we work directly with the public sector, we know exactly the issues they are facing, and we can use that insight when we work with businesses to develop truly innovative technologies.”
The programme uses a ‘fast fail’ approach, where ideas are tested rapidly to identify flaws, allowing participating businesses to apply their learnings and refine their approach.
The results of the Scottish Public Service Awards will be announced on 16th December, whilst the Civil Service awards shortlist will be announced on 13th January 2021.