Innovation and Culture in Public Services

Innovation and Culture in Public Services

The Case of Independent Living

Services, Economy and Innovation series

Steven DeMello and Peder Inge Furseth

There is a growing trend toward the integration of public and private entities in the delivery of public services. This book aims to improve the ability to innovate successfully in large-scale public/private endeavors. The authors develop an underpinning theory of innovation, and extend it to address key issues in public/private collaboration. As an example, they explore the subject of independent living for seniors and disabled people across four countries – the US, UK, Norway and Japan. The resulting model provides a vehicle for all major stakeholders to better understand the dynamics of innovation, which will in turn offer the opportunity to improve performance and successful adoption.

Chapter 4: Cultural context

Steven DeMello and Peder Inge Furseth

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, economics and finance, services, innovation and technology, organisational innovation, technology and ict, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, ageing, health policy and economics


In the Introduction and Part I we made the case for the importance of cultural context in understanding public services and public policy. Specifically, we identified the tension between our role as consumers/purchasers/managers of a public service, and that of citizens. We are particularly interested in whether and how people resolve the conflict for a complex issue like in-home care for independent living. In order to pursue this work, we needed to accomplish two major tasks. The first was the creation of a typology of cultural context: how will we identify, evaluate, and compare disparate cultures and countries? The first part of this chapter presents such a typology, with a detailed explanation of model components and metrics. The second major task is the study of specific cultures. The second part of this chapter describes the four chosen countries and regions (the United States, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and Japan) in terms of the typology.

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