Learning from Innovation in Public Sector Environments


12 december 2014

News: Research report: Innovation environments and innovation capacity in the public sector)

The research report of Work Package 1 (Innovation environments and innovation capacity in the public sector) can be downloaded at www.lipse.org/publications. This report provides an important advance in linking innovation environments to innovation capacity in the public sector (specifically, municipalities).

Background Workpackage 1

Social innovation in the public sector has become an important focus for governments around the world over the last decade, as they try to solve intractable policy problems. The pressure on governments to do more with less in response to shrinking budgets and expanding community expectations and obligations has increased attention on how the public sector manages change and innovation. This heightened focus has created a need to understand the social innovation capacity of public sector environments. Work package 1 of the LIPSE project on social innovation, examined this for four municipalities in different nations.

Four municipalities were compared. These were Copenhagen in Denmark, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Barcelona in Spain and West Lothian1 (which borders Edinburgh) in Scotland. These four reflect different geographical areas and different state and society traditions, which are likely to influence innovation environments.


This project had the following aims:

  • To map, analyse and compare the innovation capacity of public sector environments, using social network analysis theories and methods.
  • To identify relevant drivers and barriers that explain the innovation capacities of these environments

Some conclusions (see for more the full report)

Innovation capacity is related to the innovation environment. For municipalities, this includes nationalgovernance structures and societal traditions, the local socioeconomic context, and formal organizational structures. There are some striking similarities in the socioeconomic challenges faced by the municipalities (demographic changes, economic growth, unemployment, health care and educational problems). In regard to innovations, a mixture of internally driven innovations, concrete products, service delivery innovations and externally driven innovations were described. Each of the municipalities nominated different drivers for innovation. Copenhagen had the most positive view of its structures, procedures and context as supportinginnovation.

The full report can be downloaded here.


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