Conceptualizing Public Sector Innovation: Different pathways and roles of research

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The presentation analyses selected conceptualizations of public sector innovation from in order to explore and discuss how ‘innovation’ has, or has not, been modified and developed as a concept relating to the public sector, and how it takes into account the ‘public’ dimension. Following the discussion of existing concepts and approaches the presentation draws the contours of different dimensions to be aware of when conceptualization, as well as pathways and reflections on the role of research relative to public sector innovation. Methodologically, the presentation represents a conceptual exploration and discussion, where the concept in itself is unwrapped and analyzed from different angles. It argues that there tends to be a greater focus on the innovation part of the concept and correspondingly less emphasis on what is public in public sector innovation. The concept could be strengthened by developing this macro dimension. As a way ahead, it is suggested that we distinguish between different dimensions in order to be more explicit about conceptualization: Epistemological, pragmatic and normative dimensions of concepts. These relate to what we as researcher want with the concept and can help explicate criteria for the concepts that we use. Finally, the presentation discusses the risk of unintentional de-politicization of public sector innovation through an overreliance on generic terms of organization and innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date31 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2020
EventThe 5th Innovation in Public Services and Public Policy Conference - Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway
Duration: 29 Jan 202031 Jan 2020
Conference number: 5


ConferenceThe 5th Innovation in Public Services and Public Policy Conference
OtherThe PUBSIC Conference remains as an important gathering of scientists interested in public sector innovation, often attracting around 100-120 scholars from throughout the world and at all stages of their career. The academic programme covers the spectre of public sector innovation, creating a platform for lively discussion, exchange of ideas and the best thinking in the field.<br/><br/>In recent years an important body of research and knowledge on public service innovation (PSI) are emerging. Previous PUBSIC Conferences have now taken place in Shanghai, Budapest, Lillehammer and Milan over the past four years. To continue this dialogue and to build upon this evolving body of knowledge we would invite you to participate January 29. – 31. 2020 here in Stavanger.
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Langergaard, L. L. (2020). Conceptualizing Public Sector Innovation: Different pathways and roles of research. Abstract from The 5th Innovation in Public Services and Public Policy Conference, Stavanger, Norway.