Edited by Stephen P. Osborne and Louise Brown
Chapter 37: Innovation in public services: old and new directions for knowledge
The Handbook aims to cover the key areas of the innovation process and to help us to better understand the issues that arise in managing innovation in a public services context. The chapters identify specific issues, such as ethics, stakeholders and risk, which we clearly need to be mindful of when implementing innovation. The examples cover the range of different innovations, including service, process, organisational, policy and system innovation. The Handbook usefully aims to put some of these in context, by providing examples of innovations from specific sectors, such as health and local government. Combined it offers an up-to-date overview of our knowledge about the key issues involved in the process of innovating in a public service context. The book demonstrates through the range of topics covered just how far the knowledge base has developed in recent decades from an early starting point of trying to transfer the learning and lessons from the private sector. Both Miles and Osborne remind us how much of the research was dominated by the manufacturing industry and how in relation to understanding innovation in service organisations, there are some important similarities and lessons – but also differences in the process. The chapter by Hartley nicely summarises how our learning has moved on to a point where the public sector is now building its own knowledge base. It is clear that whilst innovation theory relating to the public sector remains underdeveloped, progress is being made through contributions such as those published here.
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