Edited by Jon Sundbo and Marja Toivonen
10. Multiple voices of the user in public sector services Mikko Lehtonen and Tiina Tuominen 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter aims at conceptualizing the user in public sector services in order to clarify the ‘user’ in the context of user-driven service innovation. Although the importance of user information and user participation has been acknowledged in service innovation studies, the concept of the user as such has not received enough attention in the public sector context. We suggest that in order to develop practices for user-driven service innovation the different users and their relationships with the service need to be understood. In public sector services the actors identifiable as users are more varied than in the private sector, and the term has been defined in several different ways. Jaeger (2009), for example, identifies two different definitions: a narrow definition of a user refers only to the (direct) recipients of public services, and a broad definition includes everyone involved in policy networks. We start with a broad, value-based definition and define users as the actors who benefit from a particular service. The definition covers the beneficiaries involved in the service process and those who do not have direct contact with this process but benefit from the service in some way. In the public sector literature, these actors are referred to with several different terms, such as customers, citizens, clients, obligatees and beneficiaries. User-driven innovation may be seen either as taking user needs as the starting point or as engaging users as innovators in...
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