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 37: Innovation in public services: old and new directions for knowledge

Louise Brown and Stephen P. Osborne


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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