Performance Information and Innovation in the Canadian Government (Working Paper 43)
MetadataShow full item record
The presentation made at the conference addressed the issue of linkages between performance information and innovation within the Canadian federal government1. This is a three‐part paper prepared as background to that presentation. • Part I provides an overview of three main sources of performance information - results-based systems, program evaluation, and centrally driven review exercises – and reviews the Canadian experience with them. • Part II identifies and discusses a number of innovation issues that are common to the literature reviewed for this paper. • Part III examines actual and potential linkages between innovation and performance information. This section suggests that innovation in the Canadian federal government tends to cluster into two groups: smaller initiatives driven by staff or middle management; and much larger projects involving major programs, whole departments or whole-of-government. Readily available data on smaller innovation projects is skimpy but suggests that performance information does not play a major role in stimulating these initiatives. In contrast, two of the examples of large-scale innovation show that performance information plays a critical role at all stages. The paper concludes by supporting the contention of others writing on this topic: that more research is needed on innovation, particularly on its link to performance information. In that context, other conclusions drawn in this paper are tentative but suggest that the quality of performance information is as important for innovation as it is for performance management. However, innovation is likely to require its own particular performance information that may not be generated on a routine basis for purposes of performance management, particularly in the early stages of innovation. And, while the availability of performance information can be an important success factor in innovation, it does not stand alone. The commonality of a number of other factors identified in the literature surveyed for this paper strongly suggests that equal if not greater priority needs to be given to attenuating factors that inhibit innovation and to nurturing incentives.