Modernize the Public Sector through Innovation?

A Challenge for the Role of Applied Social Science and Evaluation

Finn Hansson, Maria Theresa Norn, Torben Bundgaard Vad

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The New Public Management drive to innovate in the public sector has become less influential and new initiatives to drive innovation are now sought. There are well-known challenges when using social science research to inform innovation in the public sector. In order to address these challenges, this article presents the case of an evaluation of the Program on Research for Innovation and Renewal in the Public Sector (abbreviated FIFOS) under the Research Council of Norway. The evaluation described a number of problems in implementing new innovative knowledge, not only because of the organization of projects but also because of the still-common linear thinking in the application of new knowledge, especially in relation to innovation. A discussion and critique is presented and a different approach to the implementation of innovations based on ideas from organizational learning is proposed. Such an alternative strategy for producing and organizing the use of social science research to inform innovation in the public sector demands the rethinking of relevant evaluation models. In order to evaluate such a new approach, the article advocates new formative evaluation strategies, where learning and dialogue are the focus.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEvaluation: The International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice
Volume20
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)244-260
ISSN1356-3890
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this

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title = "Modernize the Public Sector through Innovation?: A Challenge for the Role of Applied Social Science and Evaluation",
abstract = "The New Public Management drive to innovate in the public sector has become less influential and new initiatives to drive innovation are now sought. There are well-known challenges when using social science research to inform innovation in the public sector. In order to address these challenges, this article presents the case of an evaluation of the Program on Research for Innovation and Renewal in the Public Sector (abbreviated FIFOS) under the Research Council of Norway. The evaluation described a number of problems in implementing new innovative knowledge, not only because of the organization of projects but also because of the still-common linear thinking in the application of new knowledge, especially in relation to innovation. A discussion and critique is presented and a different approach to the implementation of innovations based on ideas from organizational learning is proposed. Such an alternative strategy for producing and organizing the use of social science research to inform innovation in the public sector demands the rethinking of relevant evaluation models. In order to evaluate such a new approach, the article advocates new formative evaluation strategies, where learning and dialogue are the focus.",
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Modernize the Public Sector through Innovation? A Challenge for the Role of Applied Social Science and Evaluation. / Hansson, Finn; Norn, Maria Theresa; Vad, Torben Bundgaard.

In: Evaluation: The International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2014, p. 244-260.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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T2 - A Challenge for the Role of Applied Social Science and Evaluation

AU - Hansson, Finn

AU - Norn, Maria Theresa

AU - Vad, Torben Bundgaard

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - The New Public Management drive to innovate in the public sector has become less influential and new initiatives to drive innovation are now sought. There are well-known challenges when using social science research to inform innovation in the public sector. In order to address these challenges, this article presents the case of an evaluation of the Program on Research for Innovation and Renewal in the Public Sector (abbreviated FIFOS) under the Research Council of Norway. The evaluation described a number of problems in implementing new innovative knowledge, not only because of the organization of projects but also because of the still-common linear thinking in the application of new knowledge, especially in relation to innovation. A discussion and critique is presented and a different approach to the implementation of innovations based on ideas from organizational learning is proposed. Such an alternative strategy for producing and organizing the use of social science research to inform innovation in the public sector demands the rethinking of relevant evaluation models. In order to evaluate such a new approach, the article advocates new formative evaluation strategies, where learning and dialogue are the focus.

AB - The New Public Management drive to innovate in the public sector has become less influential and new initiatives to drive innovation are now sought. There are well-known challenges when using social science research to inform innovation in the public sector. In order to address these challenges, this article presents the case of an evaluation of the Program on Research for Innovation and Renewal in the Public Sector (abbreviated FIFOS) under the Research Council of Norway. The evaluation described a number of problems in implementing new innovative knowledge, not only because of the organization of projects but also because of the still-common linear thinking in the application of new knowledge, especially in relation to innovation. A discussion and critique is presented and a different approach to the implementation of innovations based on ideas from organizational learning is proposed. Such an alternative strategy for producing and organizing the use of social science research to inform innovation in the public sector demands the rethinking of relevant evaluation models. In order to evaluate such a new approach, the article advocates new formative evaluation strategies, where learning and dialogue are the focus.

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KW - Evaluation models

KW - Formative evaluation

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KW - Public-sector modernization

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