Handbook of Innovation in Public Services
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Handbook of Innovation in Public Services

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.
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Chapter 5: Public service innovation: what messages from the collision of innovation studies and services research?

Ian Miles


Innovation studies grew rapidly as an area of research over the last quarter of the twentieth century, as detailed by authors such as Fagerberg (2004) and Godin (2010), and as reflected in handbooks giving overviews of the field (Dodgson and Rothwell 1994; Fagerberg et al. 2004). Research was long dominated by a focus on manufacturing industry, and in particular on ‘high-tech’ industries such as aerospace, the automotive industry and pharmaceuticals. Service innovation had gained substantial attention by the first years of the twenty-first century (cf. Miles 2000), to the point that a Handbook of Innovation and Services was published in 2010 (Gallouj and Djellal 2010). But innovation in the public sector has been even more neglected in the mainstream of innovation studies. Even in the Gallouj and Djellal Handbook there are only a handful of index references to public services; one chapter is devoted to public health care, but this is mainly an account of one case study (concerning UK diabetes education). With public services constituting a substantial fraction of the services sectors, it is important to put more effort into exploring the scope for fruitful integration of work on public service innovation with innovation studies more generally.

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