Volume 45, No. 3 | Public sector innovation

Mads Leth Felsager Jakobsen | Bureaucracy: friend or enemy of (public sector) innovation?

It is a widespread belief that bureaucracy is an enemy of innovation in the public sector. Based on a review of theoretical arguments and an analysis of the available empirical evidence, it is in this article argued that such a belief is too simple. Some elements of bureaucracy like the division of labor and specialization seem to promote innovation, other elements like formalization have a neutral impact, while others like centralization seem to impede innovation. It is finally discussed what practical implications should follow from our current state of knowledge on the relationship between bureaucracy and innovation.

Morten Balle Hansen | Transnational organizational innovation in the public sector

The article examines three related research questions: 1) To what extent have well-known forms of transnational organizational innovation been adopted in the Danish public sector? 2) How are these organizational innovations related to each other? 3) Are differences in their adoption related to differences in the characteristics of the state and the municipal part of the public sector? Transnational organizational innovations are recent forms of organizing and managing public sector activities that can be found in the public sector in many countries. The analysis compares different forms of transnational organizational innovation adopted in the Danish public sector and differences in their adoption in the state and the municipalities. 11 types of organizational innovation, many of which are often associated with New Public Management (NPM) are included in the empirical analysis: privatization/outsourcing, purchaser-provider split models, contract management, management by objectives (MBO), benchmarking, balanced scorecard, pay-for-performance, lean and value-based management. Surveys conducted in the municipalities in autumn 2008 and in the state in spring 2009 provide the empirical basis of the analysis. A clear trend towards more widespread adoption of these innovations in the municipalities than in the state is found. Different interpretations of these findings are discussed.

Kim Normann Andersen, Helle Zinner Henriksen and Jeppe Agger Nielsen | Digital innovation of public schools’ transparency and comparability: the end of binary maturity models?

The article presents a normative model (Public Sector Process Rebuilding, PPR) to capture digital innovation in the public sector. In the literature and in practice digital innovation is frequently viewed as a binary variable (innovation acquired or not acquired). The story line in this paper is that the uptake of digital innovations is a continuous process. The empirical basis for illustrating the PPR model is online publication of grades at Danish lower secondary schools. We have screened 200 schools’ websites, and conducted 25 interviews with principals, staff and parent representatives. The analysis shows that schools to some extent are reluctant to publish grades online and the majority of schools do not fully meet the legal requirements.

Troels Schultz Larsen and Karl Löfgren | Empirical studies of collaborative innovation in the public sector – TRYK Politi as a case

Collaborative innovation has become an established concept in a Danish context. However, a clear understanding of how collaborative innovation is defined or studied has not been established. With the aim of assessing the practical applicability of Sørensen and Torfing’s analytical model for the study of collaborative innovation in the public sector, we apply the model to a case study. The case is TRYK Politi, a pilot project launched by the Danish police with the aim of involving citizens more actively in crime prevention using mobile technology. The case study shows that the model is both an interesting and relevant model which is useful in empirical studies. However, the case study also reveals that the model could be strengthened in several aspects through rigorous theoretical development.

Helle Ørsted Nielsen and Anders Branth Pedersen | How can government promote innovation that leads to sustainable energy systems? Different theoretical approaches

Global attention has been directed to the role that a transition to sustainable energy production may play as a new engine for growth while at the same time reducing CO2 emissions. For political science this raises the question how public policies can promote innovation to bring about such a transition. The article examines whether recent system theories on transition represent a reformulation of the role of government in innovation processes. It does so through a review of innovation policy theories and through comparison of Dutch and Danish energy policies. We find that transition theories do significantly raise the level of ambition regarding energy system transition compared with economic theories of innovation, but that the transition approach in Dutch energy policy does not represent a significant reconceptualization of the role of policy for innovation.

Rasmus Brun Pedersen | Revanchism and revisionism in Danish foreign and security policy?

The Iraq war continues to cast long shadows over the foreign policy debate in Denmark. As a consequence of the war we have in recent years witnessed the introduction of a particular new trend in the Danish foreign policy debate. The Liberal government’s strategy to couple the opposition’s war resistance in 2003 with the cooperation politics during the German occupation and during the Cold War marked the advent of a ”political history use” in which ”the sins of the past” were used as a contemporary political tool. Foreign policy was thus involved in the overall value and cultural struggle and came to include specific revisionist and revanchist elements, which had hitherto been unknown in the consensus-based Danish foreign policy tradition.

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