The purpose of this paper was to identify common themes from archival records related to innovation in the Australian Public Service (APS). A thematic analysis was conducted to review and evaluate archival records which consisted of transcripts from senior manager presentations at Innovation Month seminars from 2014 to 2018 and other related official documents. This empirical study addressed innovation from the leaders’ perspective, reflecting upon their experience. Analysing themes within archival records helped to gain insights from various perspectives of leaders on how they regard an innovation agenda for the APS. Three themes emerged from archival records: (1) innovation characteristics; (2) drivers of innovation; and (3) barriers to innovation. Synthesis of these drivers and barriers can provide important insights for senior APS managers on how they can enhance their organisations’ ability to innovate in order to respond to digital disruption challenges and opportunities. Variety of perspectives with leader’s perceptions informs about authors’ selection of the research question among consistent patterns and legitimates the salient themes as input for QSR NVivo 11.