Strengthening public service production, administrative problemsolving, and political leadership through co-creation of innovative public value outcomes?

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Local governments increasingly find themselves trapped in a crossfire between rising expectations to service delivery and societal problem solving and scarce public resources. In order to make ends meet some municipalities have turned to co-creation as a tool for enhancing innovation. This paper aims to enhance our understanding of how local municipalities can make the most of their strategic commitment to co-creation. It explores whether the use of cocreation is limited to resource mobilization in the field of service production and administrative problem solving, or whether it is also used as a tool for stimulating policy innovation, enhancing local political leadership and renewing local democracy. The article compares the use of co-creation in three different Scandinavian municipalities. The main finding is that the three municipalities differ in terms of the local impact of co-creation. While all three of them aims to reap the fruit of co-creation in service production and al, to some extent’ at the level of administrative problem solving, only of them use co-creation as a tool for strengthening the capacity for policymaking and the exercise of political leadership. Rather than trying to generalize our findings, we use the variation between the three cases to analyze the barriers to the political use of co-creation and the expansion of new forms of interactive political leadership and democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalInnovation Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • cocreation
  • political leadership
  • servicwe innovation
  • innovative problem solving

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