Introduction: A Public Innovation Perspective on Change in Local Democracy

Eva Sørensen, Signy Irene Vabo

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Public innovation is high on the agenda in many Western liberal democracies. While a first wave of interest in public innovation research mainly focused on service innovation, a second wave is interested in innovations in the political realm that represent innovations in democratic institutions and processes and in policy content. Although there are many studies of democratic reform and experimentation in local government, they rarely examine these changes from an innovation perspective. This article develops a theoretical framework for studying democratic innovation and uses it to identify cutting-edge tendencies in democratic innovation in local government and to develop several propositions for further research. We do so by drawing on new developments in democratic theory and governance research and the study of current developments in local democracy in seven European countries—Denmark, England, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland—in this and a following special issue.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalInnovation Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • democratic innovation
  • Local government
  • political leadership

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