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 18: Analyzing policies for government innovation in practice: electronic government policy in Italy, 1993–2003

Valentina Mele


A main theme of public sector innovation is the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to strengthen state capacity. These reforms often involve efforts to improve state economic and social programs, its relationships with citizens and its internal operations by exploiting ICTs (Brown 2005). In public administration, ‘the use of ICTs, and particularly the Internet, as a tool to achieve better government’ has been defined as Electronic Government (OECD 2003, p. 1). This term was coined in the wake of the Internet-driven transformations in the modus operandi of entire business sectors, known as Electronic Commerce. After its debut in the early 1990s, the concept of Electronic Government gained currency among policymakers. It has become, first, a significant component of the modernization and innovation agenda in developing and developed countries and, since 2000, the main target of numerous administrative reforms. Paralleling its spread in the policy arena, Electronic Government has been progressively incorporated in the studies on public management and is currently used as an umbrella category under which separate research streams have coalesced. Despite the variety of these research streams, the process of Electronic Government policy-making, must be analyzed further. This chapter develops research arguments about the politics of Electronic Government, analyzed as an instance of innovation and change in a public services context.

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