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Innovations for Civil Service.

How Innovative Ideas Arise and How It Help

The Civil Service is the life wire of a country whose duty translates to governance and the execution of social contract. Any short fall in its effective and efficient corporate existence would automatically constitute a damage in the national brain box. With the emergence of COVID19, there is an enforced renaissance of the world order of operations. This calls for innovative ideas in all spheres of life most especially in the civil service and health sectors. Government of various countries of the world has woken up to the importance of being "battle" ready all the time to the needs of the citizenry. More emphasis is on technology too with COVID19 bias in order to face any future pandemic.
Office of the Head of Civil Service held its Maiden "Civil Service Innovation Challenge" in order to revolutionize Civil Service to suite the COVID19 pandemic post era. There was call for innovative ideas from all civil servants. The sole aim is to drive innovation in the Civil Service. This call would not have come at a better time than now.

The Innovative Challenge Competition was presented virtually for some weeks. There were presentations on the latest possibility of applying innovative ideas as flexibility tools for civil servants empowerment and participation for effective, adaptive, responsive and result oriented civil service delivery. It includes the participants contributions in the presentation of topics cutting-edge technologies in service deliveries at the civil service offices. In addition, there was collaborative experience-based presentations to help boost service delivery.

The outcome of this competition highlighted on Digitization as a way forward in the Civil Service delivery. According to Melbourne connect.jobs.unimelbs.edu.au, Digital innovations have the capacity for significant impacts on shaping society. This capacity comes with responsibility for ethical conduct and approaches that improve the quality of life for everyone. Understanding and having experience in developing of digital technology is a necessity.
Civil service in Nigeria can only survive during and after the pandemic if :
  • Digital skills are strengthened among civil servants.
  • There is rapid transition to Digitization during this COVID19 pandemic
  • Reorientation of civil servants perspective in Digitization
  • Provision of strategies for evaluating, selecting and documenting connected sensor technologies
  • successes and challenges in a trial for the use of digital in offices
  • Perpetual Power Supply (PPS),
  • Free Data for All (FDA)
  • Regular Information Communication Technology (ICT) Skills Training and Retraining of all civil servants Implementing Digitization in Nigeria:
  • will increase productivity in service delivery
  • help workers observe social distancing.
  • make working from home feasible and
  • Totally eradicate Covid19.
Improving Performance Management within the Civil Service ...
The Innovative Challenge Competition was packed with dynamic ideas among which need for the decentralization of the functions of Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) and that of the Federal Civil Service Commission ( FCSC) to be strengthened as these institutions have their unique mandates. It has been observed that field office staff of the above institutions at various Federal Secretariat nationwide are usually underutilized and underfunded to undertake and deliver the mandates.

Obisesan Rasak Kola dwelt more on Experimental government. He emphasized that there is need for government to experiment on new possibilities in order to keep up with the rapid pace of sudden change in the world such as climate change and COVID19 pandemic. To do this, they need to create a culture that allows experimentation to become second nature. This can mean developing new policies to allow a country to serve as a test bed for experimentation, such as in the case of Finland's Design for Government framework. Valuable lessons with potential implications for government may also be learned from civil society experiments, such as the use of blockchain to create a voting process for a Colombian peace plebiscite. We can tap into this new emerging technology to bring about transforming our civil service into a world class center for development and growth.

 Aliyu Mohammed Awal worked on protection of Intellectual Property (IP). He observed that digital information can be infinitely reproduced and distributed widely thanks to the internet. This has given users globally a goldmine of free content. However, copyright holders have not been so lucky, losing control over their intellectual property and suffering financially as a consequence. He then attempted creating a Smart Contracts using the blockchain technology, to protect copyright and automate the sale of creative works online, thereby eliminating the risk of file copying and redistribution.
  • Odigili Kindness proposed Value Proposition as a tool to be used for the decentralization of the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission Statutory Provisions. He rightly observed that emerging Covid-19 challenges have made reforms in human and non human structures and systems inevitable and therefore, readiness to embrace the new normal gains will reposition Civil Service for a result oriented and professional development.
    Disillusion, disorderliness and decadence have become a common denominator of Civil Service. The sordid state is traceable to failings to curb human resources mismanagement and abuse such that power to recruit, assign roles and responsibilities, training, discipline and promotion in the Civil Service is an odd-norm.

    Urgent review of status quo to meet the emerging challenges thrown up by COVID-19 has thus become imperative. It is therefore imperative that roles and responsibilities be extended to all the states of the Federation in order to promote sense of belonging, ownership of visions and aspirations of the center. Civil service is overdue to be restructured. With decentralization of Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation and Federal Civil Service Commission , the problem of bureaucratic bottle necks and corruption experienced in public service would be eradicated. Odigili Kindness in addition, proposed Value Added or Vantage Validation whereby human asset is used to achieve maximum gains in service delivery . The more skill and retool experience staff have,  the more resourceful they become, and the more value is added to good governance and socioeconomic development of the country through policy initiatives, designs, implementation and re-engineering innovation.
     
  • Obisesan Rasak Kola opines that Blockchain is not just a global trend. The F-Fraud, I-immutability, T-traceability, S-scalability (FITS ) model makes Nigeria a perfect fit for Blockchain implementation. Fortunately, the civil service is not lagging behind in this area. On the other hand, according to Ali Adamu, IP awareness and knowledge in Nigeria has been skewed. Promoting Intellectual Property (IP) in the workplace is quite imperative but mostly importantly among researchers in the knowledge system.
         Although the innovative ideas above are good, the shift now should be from sustainable service  delivery to adaptive service delivery. There is need to create an idea that can adapt to change. This is because this may not be the last pandemic, who knows. The advice of Iyer is that we should not focus on creating the best solution to a problem without having at the back of our mind that the problem might change one day. So, endeavor to build the civil service that would adapt to any sudden changes or eventualities of all ages.

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