Understandings of Social Innovation within the Danish Public Sector: A Literature Review

Ada Scupola*, Lars Fuglsang, Faïz Gallouj, Anne Vorre Hansen

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewpeer review


Social innovation is an emerging theme within innovation theory, and so is the concept
of public service innovation networks for social innovation (PSINSIs). The purpose of this article is
to explore how social innovation in Danish public services is conceptualised and enacted through
the lenses of public service innovation networks for social innovation. To do this, a thorough
integrative review of the literature dealing with the Danish context is conducted. The Danish context
is interesting in order to investigate these network arrangements, firstly because they are not well
understood in the context of the Nordic welfare states, which Denmark is part of, and then because
municipalities and civil society have historically had a mutually dependent relationship in Denmark.
The article highlights that social innovation is framed in several ways in the Danish public sector. In
particular, the results show that the literature can be grouped according to four themes: (1) samskabelse
(co-creation), (2) collaboration with civil society, (3) social entrepreneurs and social innovation and
(4) public–private innovation partnerships. Moreover, the article presents and discusses a number of
Danish empirical projects that may be understood through the lens of the PSINSI framework. Hence,
the paper contributes with new theoretical perspectives, in addition to contributing to practice.
TidsskriftAdministrative Sciences
Udgave nummer2
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2021


  • social innovation
  • integrative review
  • networks
  • public sector

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