The policy trajectory privileging innovation as a means to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public services in the UK has been moving at pace. Referred to recently by NESTA as ‘the innovation imperative’ (Harris and Albury, 2009) and enshrined within the UK government white paper Innovation Nation (DIUS, 2008), the desire to use innovation to reform public services is strong. This commitment has increased as the extent of the economic recession and its impact on public expenditure has been exposed (Patterson et al., 2009, p. 12). However, the same research also identified that the current economic climate may lead to a focus upon less risky types of innovation, irrespective of comparative levels of need. Within this policy context, one issue that has received less attention than it deserves is the role of risk in innovation (Osborne, 1998; Brown, 2010; Osborne and Brown, 2011)*. In the public service context, risk is often presented as a negative phenomenon—at best as something to be minimized if not avoided. Yet writers on innovation in both the business and public sectors have emphasized the centrality of risk to successful innovation (for example Singh, 1986; Borins, 2001). This article argues that current public service frameworks do not facilitate the successful negotiation and management of risk within the innovation process and argues for an alternative one based upon negotiated risk governance, rather than minimization.

Innovation in public services: engaging with risk

OSBORNE, STEPHEN PETER;
2011

Abstract

The policy trajectory privileging innovation as a means to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public services in the UK has been moving at pace. Referred to recently by NESTA as ‘the innovation imperative’ (Harris and Albury, 2009) and enshrined within the UK government white paper Innovation Nation (DIUS, 2008), the desire to use innovation to reform public services is strong. This commitment has increased as the extent of the economic recession and its impact on public expenditure has been exposed (Patterson et al., 2009, p. 12). However, the same research also identified that the current economic climate may lead to a focus upon less risky types of innovation, irrespective of comparative levels of need. Within this policy context, one issue that has received less attention than it deserves is the role of risk in innovation (Osborne, 1998; Brown, 2010; Osborne and Brown, 2011)*. In the public service context, risk is often presented as a negative phenomenon—at best as something to be minimized if not avoided. Yet writers on innovation in both the business and public sectors have emphasized the centrality of risk to successful innovation (for example Singh, 1986; Borins, 2001). This article argues that current public service frameworks do not facilitate the successful negotiation and management of risk within the innovation process and argues for an alternative one based upon negotiated risk governance, rather than minimization.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11565/3975736
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