Indicators for Public Sector Innovations: Theoretical Frameworks and Practical Applications

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Rainer Kattel Aleksandrs Cepilovs Veiko Lember Piret Tõnurist

Abstract

The paper maps and analyzes all existing practical exercises aiming to develop indicators for public sector innovations. To our knowledge this is the first attempt to comprehensively gather information about various international efforts. We only considered such exercises where actual indicators were developed and used at least once. We map five such exercises through extensive desk research and 13 interviews with surveyed project members. The paper shows that all existing attempts to measure public sector innovations operate within a rather limited conception of the public sector (efficiency), neglecting other possible logics (e.g. legitimacy); the existing exercises also neglect large areas of public sector activities, e.g. cooperation with business and third sectors (such as service co-creation, public-private partnership practices). This narrow focus often dictates that indicators and their technical assumptions are copied from the private sector; none of the five analyzed exercises utilized public administration experience and research (e.g. on performance measurement). The paper argues that instead of trying to come up with quantified indicators, public sector innovations should be assessed in complex evaluation frameworks.

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Author Biographies

Rainer Kattel, University College London, Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose and Tallinn University of Technology, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance

Rainer Kattel is professor of innovation and public governance at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, University College London, and research professorat Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia. He has studied at the University of Tartu, Estonia, and University of Marburg, Germany, in philosophy, political philosophy, classics and public administration. He has published extensively on innovation policy, its governance and specific management issues. Email: r.kattel@ucl.ac.uk

Aleksandrs Cepilovs, Tallinn University of Technology, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance

Aleksandrs Cepilovs is project manager at the Ragnar Nurkse Department ofInnovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia. He has studied economics and technology governance and has received his PhD from the Ragnar Nurkse Department. His research interests are in innovation policy, public sector innovation and policy transfer, with a specific focus on Central and Eastern Europe.Email: aleksandrs.cepilovs@ taltech.ee

Veiko Lember, KU Leuven, Institute of Public Governance; Tallinn University of Technology, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance; LISIS, Université Paris-Est

Veiko Lember is Marie Curie Research Fellow at the KU Leuven Institute of Public Governance, Senior Research Fellow in Public Management and Policy at the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University ofTechnology, and a visiting researcher at LISIS, Université Paris-Est. He holds BA and MA from the University of Tartu and PhD from Tallinn University of Technology. His research interests are in public administration and innovation policy, and his recent works have covered issues such as public administration and technology, public sector innovation, public-private partnerships and co-production as well asinnovation policy governance broadly. Email: veiko.lember@taltech.ee

Piret Tõnurist, Directorate for Public Governance, OECD and Tallinn University of Technology, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance

Piret Tõnurist currently works at the Directorate for Public Governance, OECD, as alead in systems thinking and innovation measurement in Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI). She also holds a research fellowship at the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology. Piret does research in Organizational Studies, Public Sector Innovation, Technology and Environmental Politics and Public Policy. Previously she has worked as a consultant to the parliament, performance auditor and freelance consultant. Piret Tõnurist holds a PhD and MA from Tallinn University of Technology in technology governance and Master of Science from KU Leuven in policy evaluation. Email: piret.tonurist@taltech.ee