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 30: Citizens and the co-creation of public service innovations

Michelle Farr


This chapter explores the question of how citizen involvement may facilitate innovations in public services, considering how changes can be instigated from the perspectives and initiatives of people who use public services. User involvement has been seen as a key source of innovation within the public sector (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills 2008), and the role of citizens in creating innovation within public services can be analysed both through independent social welfare user movements and user-centred innovation practices (e.g. Von Hippel 2005). This chapter explores these different approaches and considers them within wider power relations and political contexts. The chapter begins by exploring some of the definitions and typologies of innovation. It reflects on the differences between private sector and public service innovation, considering the issues associated with importing private sector innovation practices and theory into the political and policy context of public services. The chapter then explores both user-centred innovation literature and literature based on citizen and user participation within public services. These two different theoretical lenses are then used to analyse a local government case that developed an innovation programme based on user-centred innovation practices such as co-creation and co-production.

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