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Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector – New Perspectives on the Role of Citizens



Collaborative innovation in the public sector is increasingly used as a strategy for balancing citizens' rising expectations for public services with limited public resources. This article suggests that public polices construct citizens as clients, consumers, or co-producers and thereby encourage or discourage certain behaviours, with different potential contributions to innovation. The article conceptualises a new role, that of citizens' as co-innovators, and offers an analytical model that can be used in future studies of how public managers can act as civic enablers by creating different spaces for public innovation on the basis of the applicable citizen role.
Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector New
Perspectives on the Role of Citizens?
Annika Agger and Dorthe Hedensted Lund*
Collaborative innovation in the public sector is increasingly used as a strategy for balanc-
ing citizens’ rising expectations for public services with limited public resources. This
article suggests that public polices construct citizens as clients, consumers, or co-
producers and thereby encourage or discourage certain behaviours, with different poten-
tial contributions to innovation. The article conceptualises a new role, that of citizens’ as
co-innovators, and offers an analytical model that can be used in future studies of how
public managers can act as civic enablers by creating different spaces for public innova-
tion on the basis of the applicable citizen role.
Many Western governments confront the challenge of rising citizen expectations
for public services at a time when public resources are limited (Pestoff,
Brandsen, & Verschuere, 2012; Warren, 2009). Moreover, there has been grow-
ing recognition of government’s inability to cope with complex governance
challenges singlehandedly and of the inadequacy of traditional forms of top-
down management, especially for dealing with wicked problems(Sørensen &
Torfing 2011; Hartley et al. 2013; Osborne 2009). At all levels of government in
the Western Public sector innovation is rapidly becoming a preferred response to
key challenges of public governance (Ansell & Torfing, 2014; Bason, 2010;
Bekkers, Edelenbos, & Steijn, 2013; Hartley, 2005; Lévesque, 2013; Mulgan &
Albury, 2003).1 In the Danish context, these initiatives are being launched as
new attempts at instituting co-production (in Danish samskabelse) or co-
creation. Although there is no consensus on the definition or contents of these
initiatives, they refer to novel ways of creating and providing public services.
These tendencies are also reflected in the other Scandinavian countries where
national strategies are being formulated to renew public services, such as in
Sweden (Regeringskansliet 2012: 41) and Norway (Helse og
Omsorgsdepartementet 2014).
In a Scandinavian context, MEPIN (Measuring Public Innovation in the
Nordic Countries) research programmes under the Nordic Council have studied
various forms of public sector innovation as well as their incentives, processes,
and impacts. In a Scandinavian context,
*!Annika Agger, PhD, is associate professor in public administration at the Department of Social
Sciences and Business, Roskilde University. Her research field is urban governance and how public
authorities can enable inclusive and democratic polices that creates public value. She has written
articles and contributions to books on how to create institutional settings for public deliberations and
on how urban practitioners working in the interface between public institutions and civil society can
contribute to make positive changes.
Dorthe Hedensted Lund, PhD, is senior researcher at the Section for Landscape Architecture and
Planning, Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen.
Her research mainly focuseson how network governance and collaborative spatial planning can
support sustainable development both in urban and rural settings. She has in particular focused on the
involvement of private actors in public governance through governance networks and public-private
partnerships, including institutional and normative barriers for these types of governance and the
roles of citizens.
Annika Agger
Department of Politial
Science and Business,
Roskilde University
Dorthe Hedensted Lund
Department of Geosciences
and Natural Resource
Management, University of
Citizen participation
Scandinavian Journal of
Public Administration
21(3): 17-37
© Annika Agger, Dorthe
Hedenstend Lund and School
of Public
Administration 2017
ISSN: 2001-7405
e-ISSN: 2001-7413
Annika Agger and Dorthe Hedensted Lund
MEPIN (Measuring Public Innovation in the Nordic Countries) research pro-
grammes under the Nordic Council have studied various forms of public sector
innovation as well as their incentives, processes, and impacts. Such studies have
sought to improve understanding of the implications of these forms of innovation
and of how public sector organisations can promote them. In a European context,
research programmes such as PUBLIN (Innovation in the Public sector),
INNOSERV (Social Services Innovation), SSI (Social Innovation in Europe,
SIE), and CLIPS (Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector) are among the
recent attempts to develop new knowledge concerning potential for public sector
innovation.2 The numerous studies currently underway suggest that public inno-
vation is high on the political agenda in many European countries.
In this article, we study collaborative innovation in the public sector, a par-
ticular form of innovation that emphasises multi-actor and multi-institution col-
laboration, thereby ensuring that public innovation draws upon and brings into
play relevant innovation assets in terms of knowledge, imagination, creativity,
resources, transformative capacities, and political authority (Torfing & Sørensen
2012: 2; drawing upon Bommert 2010). Our understanding of collaborative
innovation draws upon Hartley et al. (2013: 822), who describe collaborative
innovation as “a complex and iterative process through which problems are
defined; new ideas are developed and combined; prototypes and pilots are de-
signed, tested and redesigned; and new solutions are implemented, diffused and
problematized. Innovations are described as changes that “break with estab-
lished practices and mind-sets of an organization or organizational field” (Ibid.).
Innovation furthermore includes adaptation of others’ inventions, meaning that it
is the degree of implementation that determines whether or not something is
innovative (Roberts & King, 1996; Hartley et al. 2013).
A common theme in many of the projects and initiatives in relation to col-
laborative public sector innovation is that citizens are seen as important contribu-
tors in the creation of public value. The field of collaborative public innovation,
including the specific role of citizens in such processes is still under-theorized
(Hartley, 2014), making it relevant to further conceptualise the role of the citi-
zens in such processes. Furthermore, only limited attention has been paid to
promoting public innovation by creating and enhancing arenas where citizens, as
well as professionals and politicians, can co-innovate. Our aim is therefore to: 1)
make a conceptual contribution to understanding the role of citizens in collabora-
tive public innovation and 2) to offer some reflections on institutional aspects to
promote citizen-driven collaborative public innovation as well as collaborative
public innovation co-created with citizens.
While there is a research gap regarding citizens’ roles specifically in collab-
orative innovation processes, various strands of literature offer inputs for further
conceptualisation. Over the past decade, a large number of concepts designating
a more active role for citizens have proliferated within different fields of litera-
ture (Clarke & Newman, 2007; McLaughlin, 2009). In particular the notion of
co-production (Alford, 2009; Pestoff, Brandsen, & Verschuere, 2012) has gained
widespread acceptance as a way of designating collaborations between govern-
Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector
ment agencies and actors from the private or third sector. The concepts of co-
creation (Bason, 2010) and co-design (Hillgren et al. 2011; Björgvinsson et al.
2012; Bradwell & Marr 2008), drawing upon design thinking and participatory
design traditions, are also used to designate how citizens can, as public consum-
ers, engage more directly in the production of new public services and thereby
become the locus of value creation (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2002). This has
inspired a number of public administration scholars to experiment with design
thinking and involve citizens in more interactive dialogue processes, resulting in
the development of prototypes and experiments that follow the axiom of fail
faster, succeed sooner(Bason, 2010; Boyle, Slay, & Stephens, 2010).
These many labels, which are sometimes used interchangeably, also indicate
a need for more conceptual clarity, nuance, and precision when understanding
and developing more active and innovative citizen roles. We use co-innovator
(Brand, 2005) as an umbrella term for the role of citizens in collaborative public
innovation processes in order to emphasise the focus on innovation in collabora-
tion between citizens and public entities. We argue that if the aim is specifically
to exploit citizens’ potential to engage in collaborative innovation processes and
thereby create public value, it is important to reflect upon the ways in which
citizen involvement is planned and takes place and the roles in which the in-
volvement process stage the citizens.
In line with Sirianni (2009), we argue that public authorities play an im-
portant role as civic enablers in designing the arenas and opportunity structures
for participation. The ways in which citizens are perceived and the roles they are
offered as, for example, passive clients or demanding customers, are of great
importance for the extent to which and the ways in which citizens can drive
public innovation forward (Thomas, 2012). In order to understand the possible
roles of citizens in collaborative innovation, it is vital to understand which roles
citizens are offered in contemporary public administration. We therefore review
the research literature and investigate what lessons can be drawn, thereby paving
the way for a more nuanced staging of citizens’ involvement in public innova-
In the following section, we first describe how different contemporary dis-
cursive perceptions and institutional framings of the roles of citizens (clients,
customers, and co-producers/co-creators) contribute to public sector innovation.
We then analyse and develop the emerging role of citizens as co-innovators,
building upon case vignettes derived mainly from the authors’ participation in
the Danish research programme Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector
(CLIPS) and on related scholarly literature concerned with collaboration be-
tween citizens and public administrations. We do so in order to create a more
precise and stringent framework both for understanding and enabling citizen
roles in collaborative public innovation.
Annika Agger and Dorthe Hedensted Lund
Citizens as clients, customers, and co-producers/co-creators:
Reviewing the roles of citizens in the literature
In this section, we consider how the contemporary research literature conceptual-
ises and perceives the roles of citizens. We hereby argue that every conceptuali-
sation implies different notions and expectations concerning how actively and to
what degree citizens or users should have a say regarding the services they re-
ceive and the policies that affect them.
Based on the scholarly literature on citizen participation and new forms of
governance, we can identify a significant shift in perceptions of the roles of
citizens in public management and administration over the past fifty years
(Aberbach & Christensen, 2005; Carpini et al., 2004; Harris & Thomas, 2011).
The roles differ relative to how active citizens are expected to be in public man-
agement and innovation processes. Each role is linked to different conceptions of
democracy and a certain mode of governance: Traditional public administration
(TPA) tends to position the citizen as a client, New Public Management (NPM)
mostly regards the citizen as a customer, and New Public Governance (NPG)
grants a more active role and positions the citizen as co-producer (Osborne &
Strokosch, 2013). It is important to note that these governance modes are not
mutually exclusive and can exist as ‘archaeological layers’ with different em-
phases, depending on the institutional set up and culture (Poulsen, 2009). In the
following, we will briefly describe each role in relation to its contribution to
public sector development and innovation. This article argues that public innova-
tion can occur regardless of citizens’ roles but that contributions to innovation
from citizens and stakeholders will be more substantial if citizens’ role as co-
innovators is managed and developed.
Citizens as clients
Until the 1980s, the role of the citizens was closely associated with the classic
liberal conception of democracy that dominated TPA. From this perspective, on
the input side in public policy, citizens have the opportunity to express their
preferences as voters by means of elections and in public debate (voice) (Clarke,
2006; Hirschmann, 1970) or as individuals or members of a political party or
pressure groups. Their contribution to public policymaking thus took the form of
participation in parliamentary elections and referendums. Between elections,
citizens were generally given the role of clients, that is of relatively passive ob-
jects of governance, who were not expected to perform any policymaking activi-
ties, though they could give ‘voice’ during the throughput stage by participating
in public debates (Hirschmann, 1970). This perspective saw citizens as objects of
public governance, while politicians and professional administrators set the
agenda for public sector development.
This had a number of advantages and disadvantages for contribution to pub-
lic sector innovation. Processes that take place without citizen inclusion have the
advantage of maintaining the parliamentary chain of policymaking, so that dem-
ocratically elected politicians can impose their visions on society. In practice,
Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector
however, it is often public administrators who act as primus inter pares (Torfing,
2010: 406), with the result that highly qualified professionals are the primary
contributors to public innovation. A disadvantage is that there is a great risk that
the developed policies and services will not fulfil citizens’ needs. Research
shows that the conception of citizens as clients has at least until recently been
quite common among public employees in Denmark (Sehested, 2003), with the
practical result that many public servants neither want to nor feel sufficiently
confident to collaborate directly with citizens (Bryer, 2009; Voorberg et al.,
2014). The strengthening of collaborative innovation processes would require
many public servants to change their conception of the role of citizens.
Citizens as customers
In many Western countries, New Public Management (NPM) reforms introduced
a more active role for citizens, inspired by the role of consumers in the market
(Clarke, 2006; Lucio, 2009). The theory behind NPM holds that responsiveness
to consumer preferences is an important technique for improving public services
(Aberbach & Christensen, 2005). From this perspective, citizens can influence
public policies, primarily as a ‘corrective’ on the output side, by ‘exiting’ and
selecting between different public service providers. The problem with the NPM
perspective is that citizen knowledge that could serve as valuable input to the
development of public policies is lost when citizens choose to exit public ser-
vices. In many ways, the customer role can be seen as a reaction against the
passive client role described above.
The customer role can contribute to public sector innovation in different
ways. On one hand, when citizens choose between services, they express their
preferences and thereby force public service producers to satisfy these prefer-
ences (Newman & Clarke, 2009). On the other hand, institutions gain very little
knowledge as to why citizens choose one service over another (Langergaard,
2015), so that the input to service improvement is limited. Furthermore, the
customer role enables a narrow, individualistic, and service-oriented approach to
public governance that makes it difficult to engage citizens as a group in identi-
fying and implementing public development and innovation (Brand, 2005).
Citizens as co-producers/co-creators
The New Public Governance (NPG) perspective is characterised by the granting
of a more active role to citizens (Osborne & Strokosch, 2013; Osborne, 2010;
Pestoff et al., 2012). Citizens are perceived as potential partners and their contri-
butions as valuable input for improving and developing public services and poli-
cies. The growing pressure on the public sector to solve a greater number of
increasingly complex tasks, so-called ‘wicked’ problems, is one of the reasons
why several Western European public sectors have begun focusing on co-
production (Boyle et al., 2010; Pestoff, Brandsen, & Verschuere, 2012b;
Voorberg et al., 2014) in which citizens, among others, play an active role as co-
producers/co-creators who employ their experience-based knowledge.
Annika Agger and Dorthe Hedensted Lund
The co-producer/co-creator role can contribute to public sector innovation
by mobilising citizen resources and knowledge to develop policies and services.
Whereas the customer role primarily contributes to the development of services
through choice and exit, the co-producer role contributes more substantial infor-
mation to the development of services. The main disadvantage is the inherent
demand for citizens’ time and resources. Furthermore, studies show that active
citizen participation processes tend to be dominated by a very narrow segment of
the population and exclude less resourceful groups and their knowledge (Carpini
et al., 2004). Besides, resourceful citizens are as likely to contribute to the con-
servation of the status quo as to participate in creating change and innovation
(Osborne & Strokosch, 2013).
Co-existence of the three roles
The client role is still prevalent in large parts of the public sector, in which pro-
fessional expertise still defines the self-perception of many public employees.
This can, for example, be observed in the health sector, where patients are fre-
quently seen as passive clients who lack the expertise to contribute to their own
diagnosis. The customer role is prevalent in the NPM discourse and reflected in
the increasing institutionalisation of user boards and the growing public choice
between services. The co-producer role is present in various urban development
and planning projects in which citizen mobilisation and creation of social capital
are seen as important aspects of social cohesion. In the table below, we summa-
rise some of the key characteristics of each role.
Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector
Table I: Overview of traditional citizen roles
chain of govern-
through elections
and possibility for
Project that acti-
vates citizens as
through voice
Voter/passive ob-
jects of governance
Politicians repre-
sent citizens
approach to public
Active co-
producer of public
oriented approach
to public services
and policies
Ability to elect
politicians who
represent individu-
al interests
Time-situated and
knowledge, which
is important to
include in the
development of
public service
Does not contribute
to development
professionals and
politicians contrib-
ute to development
Contributes to
both service and
policy develop-
Contribution to
incremental inno-
High degree of
Great risk of poor-
ly anchored deci-
sions and imple-
mentation re-
Better information
base and mobili-
sation of citizen
Danger of preserva-
tion rather than
innovation and that
only ‘the usual
suspects’ and re-
sourceful citizens
are activated
Annika Agger and Dorthe Hedensted Lund
Citizens as co-innovators
Because of the limitations and disadvantages of the client, consumer, and co-
producer/co-creator roles with respect to endorsing public innovation, we argue
that scholarly reflection is needed for analysing and constructing yet another
(emerging) citizen role, bearing in mind the recent focus on collaborative inno-
vation in the public sector (Hartley, 2014; Torfing & Sørensen, 2012). This is the
role of citizens as co-innovators. While this new role should activate citizens and
citizen knowledge, much like the co-producer role does, it is important to ensure
that it is not just ‘the usual suspects’3 and self-selected citizens (Fung, 2003)
who are activated since they, as mentioned above, may be more inclined to pre-
serve the status quo than to innovate. Both innovation and learning literature
argue that innovation capacity is increased when more and different kinds of
people are involved (Ansell & Torfing, 2014; Bland et al., 2010; Blomqvist &
Levy, 2006; Franke & Shah, 2003; Hillgren et al., 2011; Prahalad & Ramaswa-
my, 2004; Wenger, 2007; Torfing & Sørensen, 2012). Innovation is not the
product of the genius and creativity of an individual innovatory hero but instead
of the disturbance to established practices and learning caused by bringing to-
gether heterogeneous stakeholders with different worldviews and knowledge.
The role of citizens as co-innovators differs from the other citizens roles we have
described in that:
The co-innovator role should both 1) involve the provision of knowledge about
citizens and their needs in order for public professionals to employ their profes-
sional skills and knowledge for innovation and 2) invoke the innovative capacity
of citizens themselves.
The degrees to which these two aspects are fulfilled will differ from case to
case, as our examples below show. The focus of co-innovation is neither em-
powerment per se nor representative involvement or improvement of input legit-
imacy. This does not mean that these issues can be neglected when staging the
co-innovator role, but it does mean that we may need to think about empower-
ment, representation, and legitimacy in different ways, depending on whether the
aim is policy or service innovation and depending on when in the process citi-
zens are involved as co-innovators.
In order to illustrate what this new role can bring to the table, we present
some recent examples of the emergence of the co-innovator role at different
stages of public innovation processes in Denmark. These examples differ in
scope and goals. In the presentations, we consider which institutional frames and
resources are necessary. The examples help us gain a more nuanced understand-
ing of some of the issues related to activating citizens in public innovation.
Examples of citizens as co-innovators
On the basis of the following three case vignettes from innovation processes in a
Danish public sector context, we argue that it makes a difference when citizens
Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector
are active in an innovation process. Are citizens setting the agenda and initiating
the innovations process? Are they co-designing services, policies, or products in
a public-initiated process, thereby contributing to input and throughput stages?
Or are they invited in as users of a particular service in order to assist in the
implementation of new services at the output stage? The case vignettes provide
examples of different degrees of empowerment and different approaches to rep-
resentation and hence legitimacy. They thus provide a good starting point for a
further discussion of these issues.
Citizens initiating public innovation
New and innovative initiatives with a public scope may start with voluntary
groups, NGOs, interest groups, or other actors from civil society identifying a
need and having a good idea (Sørensen & Torfing, 2015). One example is the
Ageless Biking4 service innovation project, which pairs seniors with cyclists.
Senior citizens are transported in rented rickshaw bikes, giving them a chance to
get out and see the city while interacting with local volunteers. The project was
initiated by a young student with a passion for biking. Each day, he passed by a
public home for the elderly and noted that the residents seldom went outside due
to lack of resources. One day, he rented a rickshaw, showed up at the care home,
and asked if anybody wanted a ride. The idea turned into a project that was re-
ceived very positively by the professionals and local leader at the home. The
project rapidly gained momentum and is today active in several municipalities.
In terms of institutional frame, the initiative required an entry point into the
public organisation from which relevant public actors could be involved and
support the citizens. Public authorities are, however, often unprepared for these
kinds of initiatives, and slow and bureaucratic approval processes can easily
demotivate citizens and create barriers for the enabling of citizens in this role. In
this case, it was decisive that the necessary resources were rapidly provided by
both volunteers and the home for the elderly, which quickly decided to purchase
five rickshaws. This allowed the project to reach a wider group of people, aided
by electronic platforms such as Facebook. Moreover, it paved the way for citi-
zens to exert active citizenship and enabled them to do something for their fel-
low citizens.
Citizens co-designing public innovation
In many places in the public sector, it is increasingly on the agenda to invite
selected stakeholders to interact in designing or creating new processes or poli-
cies (Bason, 2010; Björgvinsson et al., 2012). A growing number of studies
recognise that public innovation occurs in a political context and therefore in-
volves policy innovation (Ansell & Torfing, 2014). This differs from co-
production in that it focuses on the input stage of the policy process, thereby
contributing to setting the framework and agenda for a given policy. Co-design
seeks to generate ‘creative disturbances’ by securing a wide range of actors with
a stake in the problem or challenge at hand.
Annika Agger and Dorthe Hedensted Lund
The municipal Policy for Citizen and Stakeholder Involvement is an example
of one such policy innovation project. The idea was to do something new by
creating a taskforce consisting of six citizens, six municipal councillors, and six
public servants. The taskforce worked for eight months to formulate a new mu-
nicipal policy for public involvement. The citizens were selected following an
open call and were recruited so that they represented a diverse group in terms of
age, ethnicity, employment status, and place of residence within the municipali-
ty. With regard to the institutional frame, the public authorities granted the task-
force a formal right to be heard in the municipal council. In terms of resources, a
budget was provided for calling in experts who could qualify the group debates
(experts on public innovation, new interactive involvement methods, etc.). This
input helped the taskforce get new ideas as well as test and experiment with
some of the procedures. As a result, the taskforce worked in a much more exper-
imental and interactive manner than is usually the case in terms of exchanging
knowledge and designing policies (Agger & Sørensen, 2014).
The project led to new perceptions of roles among the municipal councillors,
public servants, and in particular the citizens. Most of the involved citizens ex-
pressed how the process improved their sense of citizenship, capacity for politi-
cal action, and ‘belonging’ to the municipality. The participating municipal
councillors and public servants where likewise positive about the innovative
manner in which they had been working but expressed a degree of insecurity
regarding their own roles in such a setting. Some councillors noted that it was
difficult for them to decide ‘how much weight’ they should grant participating
citizens’ arguments given that they were unrepresentative. For the public serv-
ants, participation in the taskforce clashed with their norms of neutrality.
Citizens co-implementing public innovation
It is also becoming more common for public authorities to develop a specific
service and invite citizens to test and adjust the service in order to aid implemen-
tation. An example of this kind of service innovation is a Danish police project
to reduce burglaries, a type of crime that had increased dramatically in recent
years (Larsen 2015). This increase led the police to initiate the Dial Police pro-
ject, a text message response service that interested citizens could join over the
internet. The project was inspired by a Dutch Burgernet Dutch system that en-
gaged citizens in crime prevention. The police sent text messages to participating
citizens regarding suspects, vehicles, missing persons, and unusual circumstanc-
es related to ongoing investigations, and the citizens were meant to respond with
their own observations. The actual innovation was the new communication plat-
form, which made it possible to engage citizens in a more direct and effective
manner than was previously possible and to prevent crime rather than just en-
gage with citizens as witnesses following a crime.
In terms of institutional frame, all that was needed was an online communi-
cation channel to potentially active citizens. While the citizens had played no
part in developing the text message service, they were crucial for the service’s
effectiveness since it was completely reliant on their active participation. Citi-
Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector
zens were engaged through a media campaign by the police and a professional
YouTube demonstration video for Dial Police. The result was that 18,000 citi-
zens joined what might be termed a co-production of public safety in the region
in which the project was implemented. The demanded resources were limited:
Citizens should just be able to observe and respond to a text message. The partic-
ipating citizens were self-selected, and there were no criteria or goals in terms of
representation, empowerment, or other issues (Larsen 2015). Nonetheless, the
act of specifically inviting citizens to actively take part in crime prevention made
them co-producers of public value, improving public safety for themselves and
their communities and thereby supporting communitarian ideals of citizenship.
Lessons from the three cases
In terms of institutional frame, the three examples are quite different. The two
service innovation projects (Ageless Biking and Dial Police) required no restruc-
turing within the public organisations themselves. They nevertheless required
willingness on the part of public administrators to see citizens as resourceful and
thereby allow them a role in the innovation process. Public administrators also
needed to be able to communicate with the citizens, a requirement that may
prove challenging in some public organisations with strong professional cultures
and little inclination for citizen participation (Hartley, 2014; Voorberg et al.,
2014). The Ageless Biking case furthermore required administrative freedom to
act quickly and supportively with regard to the citizen initiative. In the police
case, the authorities remained in control of the project, and its demands in terms
of institutional frame were limited to the way in which the police communicated
with citizens. As a result, even if the public organisation need not restructure,
significant cultural barriers may exist to enabling citizens as co-innovators em-
bedded in professional cultures.
The policy innovation case was somewhat more demanding for the public
authorities inviting and supporting a diverse group of citizens to develop a new
policy. It was demanding because collaborating with a non-representative group
of citizens and giving them direct influence over policymaking challenged poli-
ticians and administrators’ roles and identities, usual modus operandi, and un-
derstandings of a legitimate policy process. This is a significant barrier requiring
further reflection in both theory and practice.
In terms of resources demanded of the citizens, the examples show a broad
spectrum from very high to limited. When citizens are initiating the process, they
are the locus of creativity, the drivers of the process, and contributors to public
service delivery. When citizens are invited to co-innovate in a public-led innova-
tion process, they need time and communicative abilities but are supported and
empowered to a much greater degree by the process and the facilitators. Finally,
when the citizens are invoked as co-implementers of a service, the demands are
more ad hoc, and they can respond to public needs in their own time. The more
resources required of citizens, the more they need to be motivated by either ex-
trinsic rewards (material or non-material), intrinsic motivation (social, norma-
tive), or both (Verschuere et al. 2012).
Annika Agger and Dorthe Hedensted Lund
What do these differences mean in terms of how we should conceptualise
and analyse the citizens’ role in public innovation? What lessons can we draw to
pave the way for a more reflective staging of citizen involvement when the aim
is public innovation? How do these examples link to existing studies into the
roles of citizens in public innovation? We shall address these questions in the
following section.
Citizens as co-innovators – Lessons from the literature
In the literature, there are few studies explicitly addressing citizens’ roles in
collaborative public innovation (Bason, 2010; Brand, 2005; Kristensen &
Voxted, 2009; Voorberg et al., 2014). Furthermore, only limited attention has
been paid to promoting public innovation by creating and enhancing arenas in
which citizens, professionals, and politicians can co-innovate (Ansell & Torfing,
2014; Osborne & Brown, 2013). Scholarly literature from various fields does,
however, offer inspiration for developing the co-innovation role. We now turn
our attention to some of the different approaches to a more interactive citizen
role that have been described in the user innovation, co-creation, and design
literature. We will analyse how these approaches can be used to nuance and
create greater conceptual depth and precision when addressing the role of citi-
zens in public innovation.
As we have seen from our three examples, it matters when citizens are in-
volved in an innovation process. Both Voorberg et al. (2014) and Torfing et al.
(2014) divide the co-innovator role5 into three dimensions: co-initiators, co-
designers, and co-implementers. These three dimensions contribute to a more
nuanced understanding of citizens in collaborative innovation and mesh well
with our three examples. According to the review by Voorberg et al. (2014), the
most common dimension in empirical scholarly literature is co-implementation,
such as in the Dial Police case. Assuming that this is also the most common
form in practice, it may be because this dimension requires the least from both
citizens and public administrations, as evident from the examples. It is thus like-
ly to encounter less resistance within the given institutional frames than the more
demanding forms. If we perceive the co-innovator as a scalar concept including
the dimensions of co-initiators, co-designers, and co-implementers, the latter is
when citizens’ creative capacities are least invoked and closest to the co-
producer in the service management literature (Osborne & Strokosch, 2013). As
a result, the innovation capacity is also limited to service innovation. The service
management literature on co-production can contribute to conceptualising and
analysing the co-implementer dimension in terms of how co-production occurs,
what organisational features are required, what barriers and drivers exist for co-
production, and under which circumstances co-production becomes innovative.
For understanding the co-design dimension, one can unsurprisingly gain
inspiration from the literature on co-design, participatory design, and co-
creation. In the co-design literature, design processes and small scale experimen-
tation are used to test ideas and achieve ‘failing faster’ and learning through the
Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector
development of ‘proto-types’ (Monguet et al., 2011). Citizens contribute actively
with their knowledge and ideas to test the viability of prototyped services or
collaborations. The ‘participatory design’ strand of studies tends to focus more
on the empowerment of socially marginalised groups than on innovation per se
(e.g. Hilgren et al. 2011, Björgvinsson et al. 2012), but the design processes are
seen as contributing to the provision of ‘agonistic spaces’ in which relationship
building can take place and in which conflicts and trade-offs are discussed open-
ly, revealing dilemmas and making them tangible and thus issues that can be
addressed. This may be useful for both policy and service innovation, and the
methods and approaches may be helpful when reflecting upon the best means of
staging the co-innovator to stimulate learning in practice.
The co-creation literature, drawing upon anthropological methods, also of-
fers inspiration for how citizen knowledge can be activated for public innovation
and provides several examples, particularly from health services and e-
governance, including ‘patient journeys’ to improve patientsexperiences of
health services (Richardson et al, 2007), co-created design of libraries
(Costantino et al, 2014), and tax services (Langergaard & Carstensen, 2014).
Some of the studies of co-creation in a public sector context tend to be more
concerned with generating knowledge about citizens and their experiences with
public services in order to improve ‘problem identification’ and professional
response. They are thus less oriented toward creating processes in which citizens
themselves invent or articulate new services or products of public value and new
ideas as to which institutional structures could support such activities (Bason,
2010). Furthermore, unlike the participatory design literature, which is imbued
with communitarian norms, citizens tend to participate as individuals, and it is
their unique interaction experiences with a specific public service e.g. a pa-
tient’s interaction with a doctor about jointly developing a treatment (Prahalad &
Ramaswamy, 2004) that constitutes the knowledge used by public administra-
In terms of developing the co-design dimension of the co-innovator role,
there is thus much to draw from: the learning-oriented approaches from partici-
patory design experiments may be very helpful in terms of invoking the creative
potential of citizens themselves in collaboration with the public administrators,
while the lessons from the co-creation literature may be helpful in disclosing
information about citizens’ experiences and needs relative to both service and
policy innovation.
When it comes to the co-initiation dimension, inspiration can be found in the
literature on social innovation and entrepreneurship and private sector user-
driven innovation since these processes start as private initiatives. The literature
on social innovation and entrepreneurship highlights the motivations of social
entrepreneurs who innovate and drive change processes to the benefit of margin-
alised groups (Peredo & McLean, 2006; Mort et al, 2003), as exemplified by the
Ageless Biking case. The literature builds upon Schumpeter’s work on entrepre-
neurship (Schumpeter, 2003; Hagedorn, 1996), adding a social dimension, which
is relevant for public value creation and thus collaborative public innovation.
Annika Agger and Dorthe Hedensted Lund
The literature also points to examples in which social entrepreneurship has led to
structural transformation and hence radical innovation. The contribution from
this field to the co-initiation dimension lies in understanding and analysing driv-
ers and leadership requirements that may help enable social entrepreneurs in
their efforts to co-initiate public innovation processes.
Another approach to identifying enabling factors of co-initiation is the litera-
ture on user-driven innovation. Several studies have shown that users and lead
users in particular are able to make not only incremental innovations and tailor
products to their own needs but also radical innovations, creating new needs and
services in collaboration with other communities of practice (Bogers et al., 2010;
Brand, 2005). These innovations happen as a form of co-evolution between
technical artefacts and the social practices surrounding them (von Hippel, 1986;
Franke & Shah, 2003). More importantly, these innovative resources of lead
users or social entrepreneurs can be harvested by public organisations, e.g. by
using internet-based media to crowdsource ideas from interested citizens or by
identifying and engaging lead users specifically. The potentials for crowdsourc-
ing or open innovation (Chesbrough, 2006; Seltzer & Mahmoudi, 2012) is being
explored as a new field of study in public administration as planning, for in-
stance under the term ‘citizensourcing’, in which it is argued that public prob-
lems can be formulated as innovation problems and can be subjected to public
idea competitions on internet-based platforms (Hilgers & Ihl, 2010). Several
examples of crowdsourcing for idea generation and selection are explored by
Seltzer and Mahmoudi (2012), pointing to the potential creative capacity of a
diverse crowd but also to the pitfalls of only engaging selected elites.
Crowdsourcing furthermore requires that one can appropriately define the prob-
lem, which is not necessarily the case for wicked problems. The literature thus
contributes to the co-innovation dimension by highlighting new opportunities for
engaging creative and resourceful citizens due to developments in communica-
tion technologies as well as engaging diverse communities of practice with large
innovative potential through networking.
Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector
Table 2: The co-innovator role and its three dimensions
Service provi-
sion institutions
with an open-
ness to develop
the service with
Collaborative arenas
gathering selected
stakeholders in col-
laborative innova-
tion processes, e.g.
living labs,
thinktanks, net-
works, etc.
Sufficient organi-
sational freedom
to support, further
develop, imple-
ment, and dissem-
inate private ini-
Individual user
of a service but
with the possi-
bility to relate to
Primarily communi-
Primarily commu-
nitarian, but pos-
sibly driven by
self-interest (im-
proved service)
to innovation
Contributes to
service innova-
tion, contextual
knowledge, and
Contributes to poli-
cy and service inno-
vation with ideas,
knowledge, and
Contributes pri-
marily to service
(though policy
innovation is also
conceivable), with
ideas, initiatives,
links to communi-
ties of practice,
knowledge, and
Citizen selec-
Users of the
service in ques-
Publicly selected
stakeholders, citizen
experts, and users
Self-selected en-
Experience with
the service,
ability to co-
produce, i.e.
experiences and
ideas for im-
proving the
Time, knowledge, a
stake in the issue,
deliberative capaci-
ty, collaborative
capability (repre-
Creativity, initia-
tive, knowledge,
time, entrepre-
neurship, collabo-
rative capability
inspiration for
further re-
service man-
agement and
public manage-
ment literature
Co-design, partici-
patory design, and
co-creation literature
Social entrepre-
neurship, user-
driven innovation,
and social innova-
tion literature
Annika Agger and Dorthe Hedensted Lund
These strands of literature all offer valuable perspectives that can contribute
to a more nuanced conceptualisation of citizens’ roles in collaborative public
innovation and ultimately improve the processes through which public authori-
ties interact with citizens in collaborative public innovation practices.
It might be argued that there is no need to conceptualise yet another role for
citizens in NPG, given the many terms that are already in play. However, in light
of the growing focus on collaborative public innovation, we argue that, if public
organisations are to act as civic enablers (Sirianni, 2009) of innovation process-
es, it is important that the specific contributions of citizens to such processes are
properly understood and conceptualized. While existing conceptualisations of
citizens as co-producers, co-creators, co-designers, etc. offer many valuable
insights, they rarely focus on innovation but instead on empowerment, improved
efficiency, or effectiveness of service delivery, which may or may not involve
This article’s contribution has been twofold: first to understand the potentials
and limitations for public innovation in existing citizens roles (client, customer,
and co-producer/co-creator) and secondly to pave the way for a more nuanced
understanding and conceptualisation of citizens’ role as co-innovators in order to
create arenas conducive to citizen involvement in collaborative public innova-
tion. In doing so, we have explored three dimensions underlying the co-
innovator role: citizens as co-initiators, co-designers, and co-implementers.
While we have not invented this fruitful division into the three dimensions, we
have highlighted literature that can add considerably to the understanding and
analysis of these dimensions in future research.
The citizen roles contribute to public innovation in different ways and each
have their advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we have shown that
recent years have seen an increasing focus on how citizens and users can play a
more active role in creating private and public innovation. Furthermore, we have
described how at least three distinct perceptions of citizen roles exist as layers in
public governance today as well as how a new role is emerging, born out of the
need for public innovation. Citizen and user involvement in public innovation
processes has great potential. Despite signs of an increased focus on user-driven
public sector innovation, this potential could be far better realised than it is to-
We conclude that the outcomes of increased citizen involvement depend on
how citizens are involved and what roles they are allocated. We thus suggest that
the practice field should reflect upon its conceptualisation of citizens and their
role prior to engaging citizens. While all citizen roles have their advantages and
disadvantages, it seems clear that they are not all equally appropriate for all
public tasks. It is one thing to be able to embrace and support initiatives from
entrepreneurial citizens who act as initiators of change and innovation, and it is
Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector
something else to foster a public culture in which such creative and resourceful
citizens are actively sought out and encouraged and in which the knowledge of
the crowds is systematically harvested to address salient public problems. This
cannot be done without a thorough understanding of the drivers, pitfalls, and
necessary organisational and communicative platforms for innovation.
In this article, we have given empirical examples of some of the most com-
mon barriers for promoting a more active role for citizens as co-innovators. For
example, we have seen inherent barriers in existing institutional frameworks,
such as strong professional cultures with little desire for direct citizen involve-
ment in innovation processes. Moreover, we have seen that prevailing norms of
what constitutes legitimate processes among politicians and administrators can
clash with the inclusion of ‘random’ citizens. Finally, we have seen how bureau-
cratic structures and lack of resources hinder support for civic initiatives. These
are all issues requiring more scholarly reflection and empirical experimentation.
All these aspects of citizen engagement in collaborative public innovation
need to be further conceptualised and theorised, a scholarly journey for which
this article has pointed out to some fruitful paths.
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1 We draw upon the definition of public innovation developed by Sørensen and Torfing (2011).
Public innovation is understood as an “intentional and proactive process that involves the generation
and practical adoption and spread of new and creative ideas, which aim to produce a qualitative
change in a specific context” (Sørensen & Torfing, 2011, p. 849).
2 For more information on the programmes, see: a) PUBLIN, b) INNOSERV, c) SIE,, d) CLIPS, e) MEPIN
3Usual suspects’ refers to those self-selected citizens who often appear at public meetings (Fung,
4 For more information, see The idea has since spread to
other Nordic countries as well as Japan.
5 Voorberg et al. (2014) call it co-creation or co-production.
... The concept of co-creation emerged originally in the private sector as a strategy for enhancing production and value creation in businesses (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004a, 2004b, but it has also been recognized as a useful approach in the context of the public sector that primarily produces services through processes in which service users play a central role (Agger & Lund, 2017;Bentzen et al., 2020;Farr, 2013Farr, , 2016. Even though citizen participation has a strong tradition in the Scandinavian welfare states, cooperation with users of public services was traditionally based on rules and rights, which largely allowed for the use of professional judgment. ...
... Instead, a combination of the use of observational techniques together with active participation of users through indepth interviews and collaborative workshops showed the best results. However, as Agger and Lund (2017) point out, the way in which citizens are perceived influences the roles they are offered in public service innovation. The client role is still the dominating view of citizens in large parts of the public sector, for instance, in health care, where patients are frequently seen as passive receivers who lack the capacity to contribute (Agger & Lund, 2017). ...
... However, as Agger and Lund (2017) point out, the way in which citizens are perceived influences the roles they are offered in public service innovation. The client role is still the dominating view of citizens in large parts of the public sector, for instance, in health care, where patients are frequently seen as passive receivers who lack the capacity to contribute (Agger & Lund, 2017). This perception may limit the use of participatory user involvement approaches. ...
Full-text available
Co-creation in public service innovation is a prominent research field, but few have empirically investigated its effect on the outcomes of innovation. This paper contributes with empirical-based knowledge on the effect of participatory user involvement and other user-oriented methods on public innovation outcomes in different contexts. By employing qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) based on a survey of innovation activities of Norwegian public administration agencies, this article identifies several configurations for local and national authorities that lead to successful service innovations. The main finding suggests a positive relationship between user input and positive effects on service outcomes. However, local and national government levels differ regarding the use of input factors and methods of user involvement. The study contributes to our understanding of the effect of co-creation in different contexts and provides insights into when and how co-creation with users is a useful tool in public service innovation.
... Citizens' involvement varies in regard to different conceptions of democracy and a certain mode of governance [25]- [29] such as: a) Traditional Public Administration (TPA) that position citizens as clients and relies on experts' perspectives to decide the agendas for the public sector services, b) New Public Management (NPM) that regards citizens as customers who can influence the public services by choosing to use them or opting out from them [23], and c) New Public Governance (NPG) where citizens are given a more active role as co-producer [24]- [25] and co-creators [26]. However, achieving such cooperation with citizens is challenging because the public administration mistrusts citizens' expertise and their motives [30]. ...
... Citizens' involvement varies in regard to different conceptions of democracy and a certain mode of governance [25]- [29] such as: a) Traditional Public Administration (TPA) that position citizens as clients and relies on experts' perspectives to decide the agendas for the public sector services, b) New Public Management (NPM) that regards citizens as customers who can influence the public services by choosing to use them or opting out from them [23], and c) New Public Governance (NPG) where citizens are given a more active role as co-producer [24]- [25] and co-creators [26]. However, achieving such cooperation with citizens is challenging because the public administration mistrusts citizens' expertise and their motives [30]. ...
... Agger and Lund [25] use the concept of co-innovation as an umbrella term for the involvement of citizens in public innovation in all stages as co-initiators, codesigners, and co-implementers. In each phase, citizens can, as public consumers, engage more directly in producing new public services, thereby becoming the locus of value creation. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Participatory Design (PD) is the field that stands by the principles of democratic design practices and user involvement in the design of technologies meant for them. PD is often critiqued as not finding its place in project management in private or public institutions, where technological innovation is constrained by time, costs, organizational rules, and, most important, outcomes. Conducting a critical reflective analysis guided by PD principles, we study in this paper if PD principles are present in Information Technology (IT) project management process in the public sector and provide some guidelines on how PD can contribute further to the process. Findings are presented as open discussion points that require further investigation and application in practice.
... A mai kor társadalmi kihívásai alapjaiban megkérdőjelezik a jól bevált gyakorlatokat (Bekkers & Tummers, 2018). Az optimális megoldások kidolgozásához a közszféra az innováció és a kooperáció eszközéhez nyúlva együttműködéseket keres a vállalati és civil szférával, amit számos tudományos igénnyel megvizsgált gyakorlati példa is alátámaszt (Buffel, 2018;Agger & Lund, 2017;Everingham, Warburton, Cuthill, & Bartlett, 2012). A közelmúltban az érintett szférák közötti kommunikáció erősödő igényére pedig a települések gazdasági fejlődésének egyik legjelentősebb faktorát képező városmárkázás -mint a településmarketing eszköze -felemelkedése is rávilágított (Kovács, Keller, Tóth-Kaszás, & Knausz, 2020). ...
... A célkitűzések teljesítése A 2. táblázatban összegzem, hogy mely célhoz milyen programelemet rendelt a program, illetve hogyan mérte elsősorban ezek eredményességét. Általánosan levonható konklúzió E tanulmány szerint a társadalmi innováció területén széles körű együttműködésre, több szféra tapasztalatainak megosztására és közös gondolkodására van szükség a hatékony, városi szinten is életképes megoldások kidolgozásához (Kocziszky, Veresné Somosi, & Balaton, 2017;Buffel, 2018;Agger & Lund, 2017;Everingham, Warburton, Cuthill, & Bartlett, 2012). ...
A születésszám csökkenése, ezzel együtt pedig a társadalom idősödése egy globális trend, a fejlett országokat tekintve 2010-ben 27 olyan állam volt, ahol legalább 1%-kal csökkent a népesség, míg 2050-re az előrejelzések szerint már 55 ilyen ország lesz. Az idősödő társadalmak munkaerőpiacra gyakorolt hatásainak nagyságrendje területenként eltérhet egymástól, azonban a jelenség számos új kihívást jelent a munkaerőpiaci szereplők számára. Jelen tanulmány rámutat arra, hogy miként tud egy megyei jogú város az idősödő társadalom Magyarországon és globálisan is jelentős problémájára reagálni, mintát adva ezzel az együttműködésen alapuló közszolgáltatás-nyújtásra. A Kecskemét városában életre hívott „Cédrus- Net Kecskemét Szenior Tudáshasznosítási Program” célja az idősödő társadalom foglalkoztatási mutatóinak javítása, a szociálpolitikai és egészségügyi rendszereket terhelő problémák enyhítése, illetve az idősödő nemzedékben rejlő tudásra és tapasztalatokra támaszkodó új eszközök fejlesztése, az együttműködés új formáinak kialakítása.
... When participation is conceptualised as co-creation in urban planning processes, this does entail a different role allocation for planners, public authorities and citizens than in more traditional (modernistic) planning processes. First and Co-creation in Urban Governance 9 foremost, citizens are clearly granted a much more active role, either through self-organised activism linking to existing institutions, or through public initiatives such as living labs (Agger and Lund 2017). The public innovation literature argues that a broad set of citizens should be enabled as co-creators (the term coinnovator is also used). ...
... This does not impose too great a demand on either citizens or public authorities, and therefore makes it possible for a wide array of citizens to participate besides expert activists. It is, however, hard to imagine how enabling citizens merely as co-implementers can aid in solving complex problems such as social inclusion and segregation in cities, or how this approach can come up with radically new approaches to urban development (Agger and Lund 2017). ...
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This article sets out to establish what we mean by the recent buzzword ‘co-creation’ and what practical application this concept entails for democracy in urban governance, both in theory and practice. The rise of the concept points to a shift in how public participation is understood. Whereas from the 1970s onwards the discussions surrounding participation centred on rights and power, following Sherry Arnstein, participation conceptualised as co-creation instead focuses on including diverse forms of knowledge in urban processes in order to create innovative solutions to complex problems. Consequently, democratic legitimacy now relies to a much greater extent on output, rather than input legitimacy. Rather than provision of inclusive spaces for democratic debate and empowerment of the deprived, which have been the goals of numerous urban participatory efforts in the past, it is the ability to solve complex problems that has become the main criterion for the eval- uation of co-creation. Furthermore, conceptualising participation as co-creation has con- sequences for the roles available to both citizens and public administrators in urban pro- cesses, which has implications for urban governance. An explicit debate, both in academ- ia and in practice, about the normative content and implications of conceptualising partic- ipation as co-creation is therefore salient and necessary.
... Therefore, the literature on collaborative creativity is vast, including a wide range of perspectives from many schools of thought and dispersed across all types of enterprises and countries (Agger & Lund, 2017). While there may be internal or external collaborative innovation, current study focuses on collaborative innovation influence on IT firms' financial performance. ...
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A lack of collaborative innovation and absorptive capacity in firms causes projects to fail. Managers/employees in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not sufficiently aware of the practices of intellectual capital and nor do they collect, share, transfer, and utilize knowledge properly. This current study, therefore, focuses on the relationship between collaborative innovation and the financial performance of Portuguese IT sector SMEs, with a mediating role of absorptive capacity and a moderating role of intellectual capital based on three sub-domains (human capital, organizational capital, and social capital). Close-ended questionnaires were used to obtain data from 308 employees and managers. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, data were also collected through an online survey method. The simple random sampling technique was used to collect data and analyze it using the PLS-SEM method. The results show that collaborative innovation has a positive and significant impact on the financial performance of IT firms in Portugal. Absorptive capacity is considered a potential mediator between collaborative innovation and financial performance. Moreover, the moderating role of intellectual capital strengthens the relationship between collaborative innovation and absorptive capacity.
... According to Crosby, 't Hart, and Torfing (2017), collaborative innovation is supposed to improve the conditions for finding new resources, facilitating more qualified prototyping, testing and improving the success rates in vulnerable implementation and diffusion phases. Further, as stated by Agger and Lund (2017) for example, many qualitative case studies have demonstrated the positive impact of multi-actor collaboration strategies facilitating co-creation, mutual learning and local ownership, leading to increased implementation of innovative solutions (Eriksson et al, 2019). ...
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In this paper, we explain the challenges that emerged when a Danish region tried to employ innovation planning structures, without taking into account already existing governance paradigms in the organisation. We present a qualitative case study of a large regional health organisation in Denmark, which in 2016–2017 had the aim of fostering collaborative innovation. Drawing upon the concept of governance paradigms, we analyse how the strategic initiative and planning process, which used collaborative design thinking methods, in line with the New Public Governance paradigm, was hampered and finally rejected by managers embedded in an organisational context dominated primarily by the New Public Management and Traditional Public Administration paradigms.
Aim: To explore the goals and outcomes of public procurement of drug treatment services in OECD countries. The study explores how these complex services are procured and delivered. Methods and data: A systematic review of the literature (1990–2020) identified four partly overlapping models of drug treatment service procurement that are here labelled traditional, value-based, outcome-based, and innovative. Results: Even though different forms of drug treatment services procurement are common, only 12 empirical studies that focused on procurement were found. The four models differ in their approaches to design and performance specifications and the role of competition and collaboration in the co-creation of value. Conclusions: Competition and incentives improve neither the efficiency nor the quality or the outcomes of complex drug treatment services. Whereas many studies focus on payment mechanisms, there are important research gaps that relate to the co-creation of value with and for the service-users and other stakeholders.
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A growing body of literature investigates the role of users in innovation processes of new products. This essay examines whether it is feasible to transfer and adapt these findings from the context of corporate product innovation to public innovations in infrastructure, policy, ordinances, etc. Based on the shortcomings of conventional market research, as acknowledged in the literature on user-innovators, the paper develops a conceptual framework of the mechanisms that operate when citizen-innovators are at work. This model identifies different ontological and epistemological assumptions behind expert-driven and participatory innovation processes, thus informing both, the debate on user-and citizen-innovators. Finally, this framework is assessed in light of empirical information from a case study of participatory infrastructure development.
This monograph presents as one of the first publications a definition of employee driven innovation (EDI) in a Danish context. It contains theoretical chapters and case-studies of EDI and user driven innovation.
In a time of unprecedented turbulence, how can public sector organisations increase their ability to find innovative solutions to society's problems? "Leading public sector innovation" shows how government agencies can use co-creation to overcome barriers and deliver more value, at lower cost, to citizens and business. Through inspiring global case studies and practical examples, the book addresses the key triggers of public sector innovation. It shares new tools for citizen involvement through design thinking and ethnographic research, and pinpoints the leadership roles needed to drive innovation at all levels of government. "Leading public sector innovation" is essential reading for public managers and staff, social innovators, business partners, researchers, consultants and others with a stake in the public sector of tomorrow. "This is an excellent book, setting out a clear framework within which the practicalIssues involved in public sector innovation are explored, using insights drawn from extensive practical experience of implementing and supporting it. It draws on an impressive range of research and relevant wider experience in both public and private sectors and is written in a clear and persuasive style. The book offers an excellent synthesis of principles, practices and tools to enable real traction on the innovation management problem - and it ought to find a place on any manager's bookshelf." John Bessant, Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer and Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Exeter Business School.
While innovation has long been a major topic of research and scholarly interest for the private sector, it is still an emerging theme in the field of public management. While ‘results-oriented’ public management may be here to stay, scholars and practitioners are now shifting their attention to the process of management and to how the public sector can create ‘value’. One of the urgent needs addressed by this book is a better specification of the institutional and political requirements for sustaining a robust vision of public innovation, through the key dimensions of collaboration, creative problem-solving, and design. This book brings together empirical studies drawn from Europe, the USA and the antipodes to show how these dimensions are important features of public sector innovation in many Western democracies with different conditions and traditions. This volume provides insights for practitioners who are interested in developing an innovation strategy for their city, agency, or administration and will be essential reading for scholars, practitioners and students in the field of public policy and public administration.
Innovation is a core issue for public services and a key element of public services reform - particularly in this age of austerity when policymakers are increasingly urging the need 'to innovate to do more with less'. This Handbook provides an essential resource for researchers and students interested in this topic and explores its potential contribution to efficient and effective public services. It is the only handbook to review the state of the art in theory and research on innovation in public services and includes contributions from all the leading researchers on the topic from around the world. © Stephen P. Osborne and Louise Brown 2013. All rights reserved.
The aim of this article is to advance the concept of democracy innovation - a concept which has not previously been thoroughly specified in the existing literature on public sector innovation. Democracy innovation refers to innovation that leads to strengthened democracy, due process and legitimacy. As public authorities face claims to be innovative and efficient on the one hand, and accountable guardians of due process and citizen's rights on the other, innovation activities need to balance these claims. The article is based on a case study of seven innovation projects carried out in the Danish Ministry of Taxation. On the basis of the projects, their methods, aims and outcomes, the article discusses how to specify and understand democracy innovation. It develops suggestions for defining aspects of democracy innovation and thus offers a more specific concept of democracy innovation than has previously been developed. The aspects are: democratic involvement methods; increased citizen competence; a more equal relationship between public authorities and citizens (authority at eye-level); and legitimacy as enhanced by accountability and equity. Lastly, we reflect upon how this definition makes it possible to measure democracy innovation and consider whether the definition can be generalized to other types of public authorities such as for example social service authorities.