Innovations mulighed for innovation: Mod en alternativ ledelse af offentlig innovation

Emil Dahl-Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Innovation in the Danish welfare state is a subject that has been getting increasing attention. In 2014 a national centre for public innovation (Center for Offentlig Innovation, from here COI) was established, with the task of collecting and spreading knowledge and ideas regarding public innovation, primarily in Denmark. This can be seen as just one out of many examples, that this is an area, which very much attention is given to. With all this focus and attention from people in all parts of the country and from all parts of the public administration, my first assumption on the subject was that obscurity would be inevitable regarding the meaning of “innovation”. So with this assumption I decided to research the subject of public innovation further. The object of the thesis is to analyse the concept of public innovation in a context of the Danish Welfare State. In collaboration with COI I have sought to understand the way that the concept of innovation emerges through interviews with people from different parts of the Danish public sector. My informants all work with public innovation, and have been chosen for the analysis on that basis. The thesis applies a theoretical framework with Ernesto Laclaus discourse theory and literature from the entrepreneurship studies informed primarily by Gilles Deleuze. The thesis is empirically based on seven interviews and a wide range of literature on public innovation in Denmark. Through the first discursive perspective I analyse how two discourses on innovation leadership can be observed. The first is called “the objective guided discourse” and it constructs the concept of innovation as a matter of setting goals, and achieving those. The second is called “the radical discourse” and it constructs the concept of innovation as the ability to change perspective. In this analysis I point the fact, that the ambition of leading towards something new is paradoxical, as something cannot be both new and already known. This analysis is relativized further in a Deleuze inspired analysis where aforementioned paradoxical ambition is solved by proposing a concept of the new, that doesn’t exist either as something we know, or something we can think of, but as virtuality, which can be accessed through sensation of intensities and energy. For this I propose a technique that I call roleplaying, through which one can gain access the virtual. This last perspective is also a proposition of a new way of researching innovation, in a context of the Danish welfare state.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages88