Table of Contents

Handbook of Innovation in Public Services

Handbook of Innovation in Public Services

Elgar original reference

Edited by Stephen P. Osborne and Louise Brown

Leading researchers from across the globe review the state of the art in research on innovation in public services, providing an overview of key issues from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Topics explored include: context for innovation in public services and public service reform; managerial change challenges; ICT and e-government; and collaboration and networks. The theory is underpinned by seven wide-ranging case studies of innovation in practice.

Chapter 21: Innovation in an inter-organisational context

Tony Kinder

Subjects: business and management, public management, economics and finance, services, innovation and technology, innovation policy, politics and public policy, public policy


This chapter argues that whole system models of public service design and delivery are emerging in response to changing service user values, creating a new inter-organisational environment in which new forms of learning and innovation are flourishing. It suggests a new framework for conceptualising public service innovation. The next section sets out a new framework for inter-organisational innovation. It discusses values and purposes and then unpacks key aspects of the innovation system: operations, professionals, information processing, resources and co-producers, culture and learning. These aspects are brought together in a brief discussion of how innovation processes affect accountability, efficiency and sustainability, fairness and, finally, quality. In the third section I suggest some key ‘lessons’ from this approach for innovative public service managers. I then give a brief illustrative example of the framework operating in Scottish care services and, in conclusion, suggest that though models of public service design and delivery vary enormously across and within countries, the whole systems innovation framework may have general usability. Since some 80 per cent of GDP value and jobs in Europe and the US are in services, innovation in services, especially knowledge-intensive services, is significant. Sadly, much of the management literature continues to envision innovation related to physical products.

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