Edited by Jon Sundbo and Marja Toivonen
Chapter 11: Bringing the Employee Back In: Integrating User-driven and Employee-driven Innovation in the Public Sector
11. Bringing the employee back in: integrating user-driven and employee-driven innovation in the public sector Mervi Hasu, Eveliina Saari and Tuuli Mattelmäki 1 INTRODUCTION The concept of innovation is increasingly adopted in the public sector in order to resolve the major societal challenges that are linked to the decreasing public funding and growing service needs (e.g. Borins, 2002). Simultaneously there is a lack of knowledge of innovation-related management practices in public organizations (Lovio and Kivisaari, 2010). Private sector management models which allocate development activities to specialized professionals may not be directly suitable and imitable. There is a need for broader participation in innovation activities. This again raises the question of which personnel groups should and are allowed to take part in service innovation. The layman user is today increasingly celebrated as an innovator, but what about front-line service employees who interact with the user? In this chapter we explore the intertwined roles of the employee and the user in the service innovation process, focusing particularly on the public sector. We argue that if the officially acknowledged user-based innovation competence is limited to professionals and accessed only by managers, there is a danger of paralysing not only the creative potential but also the engagement and well-being of front-line service personnel in innovation endeavours. In the end, polarization may endanger the accomplishment of user needs. In the public sector, new hybrid forms of offerings are becoming increasingly general. For instance, the literature on innovation in health care has traditionally concentrated on...
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