Innovation in the public sector has climbed to the top of government agendas with ambitions to make public administration flexible in the face of societal ruptures. There is a growing body of research which tries to identify how institutions and systems respond to surprises, uncertainty and errors. Studies also provide insights on how different institutional conditions enable individuals and organisations to respond to profound change. In my recent article in Policy & Politics, I argue that organisation theory may help to serve as a bridge between theory and practice linking scholarship to the realities of practice, concerned not just with how things are, but how things might be. Given certain goals, such as innovation in public organisations, organisation designers would thus be capable of recommending structural solutions. Continue reading →
This quarter’s collection highlights three of our most popular and highly cited articles in 2021 which, based on their readership and citation levels, have clearly made an important contribution to their fields.
The first article, A theoretical framework for studying the co-creation of innovative solutions and public value, forms an introduction to the special issue on co-creation in public policy and governance, guest edited by Jacob Torfing, Ewan Ferlie, Tina Jukić and Edoardo Ongaro, published in April 2021. The central proposition is that the concept of public value carries unexploited potential as a ‘game changer’ for advancing the co-creation of innovative solutions in the public sector. They argue that it allows us to appreciate the many different public and private actors, including service users, citizens and civil society organisations, which can contribute to the production of public value. The authors quip that co-creation is the “new black” because it mobilises societal resources, enhances innovation and builds joint ownership over new public value outcomes. Continue reading →
Special issue blog series on strategic management of the transition to public sector co-creation
Jacob Torfing, Ewan Ferlie, Tina Jukić and Edoardo Ongaro
During the 1980s and early 1990s, we were consistently told that the public sector was ossified, incompetent and unimaginative, and squandered value produced by the hard-working and innovative private sector. Government was the problem, not the solution, and we should therefore have less state and more market. The neoliberal onslaught on the public sector had begun and public employees gradually developed an inferiority complex.
This nightmarish development was reversed by Mark Moore’s Creating Public Value (1995) who insisted that the public sector creates its own distinctive value. The public sector creates ‘public value’ defined as what has value for the public and public values. Public managers are not merely engaged in securing compliance with bureaucratic rules, but are entrepreneurs engaged in the exploration of new and better service and policy solutions. In this way, the public sector was redeemed and public managers could re-describe themselves as proud guardians of the public interest and producers of public value. Continue reading →