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 33: Internal and external influences on the capacity for innovation in local government

Richard M. Walker


Study after study has shown that innovation is within the capacity of public agencies (Borins 1998; Light 1998). New services and processes to support the delivery of public programmes are put in place on a regular basis. Innovations are developed by public organizations in response to changes in the external environment – deregulation, isomorphism, resource scarcity and customer demands – or in response to internal organizational choices – perceived performance gaps, reaching a higher level of aspiration, increasing the extent and quality of services. The evidence base on factors influencing the adoption of innovation is now longstanding (Muhr 1969) and has been growing over recent years. Given the longstanding expectations for governments to put in place new policies and organizational processes (Pollitt and Bouckeart 2004) and the necessity to respond to changes in the external context (be it through natural disasters such as tsunamis or hurricanes, or human-led acts of terrorism or fiscal collapse), it is important to take stock of what has been learned and to identify what we still need to know. To this end this chapter examines the internal and external influences on the adoption and implementation of innovation in local governments.

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