Bureaucracy in the public sector needs to be reduced to create new and successful innovation that will lead to sustainable economic growth, said Malaysian Treasury Secretary-General Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.
He said improvements could be done by increasing public service’s capacity to be innovative which requires development of ideas, changes and speed to be in line with the ever changing world.
“If you have thousands of directive and everything, try to reduce it. No more bureaucracy, simplify everything, make it simple, cut it then you will go fast.
“It’s a connected economy everywhere. Speed is important…learn it by process then you can show the world the benefit of changes, innovation,” he said when presenting his paper entitled ‘Leading Innovation: The New Normal’ at Plenary session of the 2016 Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) Biennial Conference, here today.
Mohd Irwan Serigar also shared his experience in making changes when he first took up his current post by minimising workforce to reduce bureaucracy issues in the public sector.
“There was too many staff. Some high ranking officers had their own secretaries. Thereafter, I managed to reduce to only one secretary for three officers. I also moved 300 employees to other public services such as hospitals and the Education Ministry.
“Things need to change. We need to be lively and innovation will come into our mind. Don’t be afraid of any criticism while innovation is taking place,” he said, admitting to facing dilemmas when he first made the move.
Mohd Irwan Serigar also stressed that working in silos was no longer relevant as the public sector would become obsolete if they refused to evolve through innovation.
Noting the importance of cooperation, he also advised future leaders in the public sector to avoid benchmarking but instead make a quantum leap to produce better results than their predecessors.
“Previously the public sector used to love benchmarking with other countries and this is absolutely not good. We should come up with a better Key Performance Index (KPI) than these countries as they will move forward as we try to benchmark them,” he said.
Meanwhile, CoachingOurselves International Inc President, Phil LeNir (rpt LeNir) told the same forum that innovation is a partnership between the government and private sector, as well as society to co-create solutions for their problems.
“This all comes back to the learning in your organisation, that needs to happen through an experiential process. Give a chance for people to learn and reflect from their experiences and a chance to engage in dialogues and collaborate,” he said.
The management expert from Canada said that one should start the innovation process to inspire others in the organisation and community.
LeNir added that to do so, they must be ready to go against the established norm through argument, communication and discussion, but never to simply follow orders.
He added that innovation, which is a process of learning, needs trust, collaboration and teamwork to flourish in organisations.
The 2016 CAPAM is being held at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) from today until Aug 20.
More than 1,000 delegates and guests from 53 Commonwealth member countries are attending the conference themed “Innovation: A Public Service Imperative”.