Innovation in Public Service Systems

  • Lars FuglsangEmail author
  • Jon Sundbo
Part of the Translational Systems Sciences book series (TSS, volume 6)


In this chapter, we examine service innovation in the public sector. We outline the characteristics of service innovation and the conditions that in the public sector differ from market-based service sectors. We use the concept of innovation capabilities as the core concept for comparing private and public service innovations. Service innovation within public service systems requires some of the same innovation capabilities as market-based service sectors. However, because public service systems are integrated in political systems, other, partly overlapping, innovation capabilities are required. The political system’s lead is a particularity. Innovative co-production with users and the involvement of employees and their bricolage are important capabilities, which we find in both private and public services. Yet, in the public sector, these particular capabilities are related to the fact that employees and ‘users’ (citizens) may be driven by a public ethos towards adding value to the public sphere (Benington 2011) and service providers cannot abstain from delivering a given service if the context becomes wicked or complex. The capability of externalizing some services to external partners and create networks among public and private actors is important for innovation in public services. It involves such elements as being able to specify the services, coordinate public and private interests, create trust among public and private partners and justify externalization and collaboration vis-à-vis citizens.


Service innovation Public sector Public service innovation Innovation capability 


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© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Sciences and BusinessRoskilde UniversityRoskildeDenmark

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