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Innovation Support in Swedish Municipalities: Challenges on the Way to Increased Innovation Capacity in Public Organisations
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Sociology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7046-8774
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Sociology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, HELIX Competence Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2486-2663
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Sociology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, HELIX Competence Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9287-1561
2022 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, ISSN 2001-7405, E-ISSN 2001-7413, Vol. 26, no 3, p. 25-44Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Public sector innovation and innovation capacity have gained increased attention inresearch and policy in recent decades, but empirical knowledge is still limited. Thisarticle focuses on initiatives to systematically support innovation in the public sector,with the aim of exploring challenges related to the organisation of innovation support inSwedish municipalities. The study is based on three case studies of municipal innovationsupport operations and 23 qualitative interviews with participants within these operations.The findings show how different innovation support strategies were chosen, ranging fromsuggestion box setups to idea coaching and training using service design methodology.Regardless of strategy, the initiatives faced challenges related to a lack of direction onwhat to innovate and implementation phases not being part of the innovation support.Other challenges related to managers being involved too late in the innovation processesand difficulties securing a commitment to work with innovation within the organisation.These findings point to both the general challenges of supporting change in organisationsand the specific challenges of introducing innovation and setting up innovation support inpublic sector organisations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Göteborg School of Public Administration , 2022. Vol. 26, no 3, p. 25-44
National Category
Work Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-188538OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-188538DiVA, id: diva2:1696224
Available from: 2022-09-15 Created: 2022-09-15 Last updated: 2023-03-22
In thesis
1. Employee-driven innovation in the public sector: At the intersection of innovation support and workplace conditions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Employee-driven innovation in the public sector: At the intersection of innovation support and workplace conditions
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Medarbetardriven innovation i offentlig sektor : Mellan innovationsstöd och förutsättningar på arbetsplatsen
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to contribute knowledge about employee-driven innovation (EDI), with a particular focus on conditions in the workplace when innovation support is introduced in municipal contexts. The thesis is based on 23 qualitative interviews with managers, employees, and innovation coaches from three municipal sites in Sweden where innovation support has been implemented. The four included studies examine how innovation support is set up, what role first-line managers play, what drives employees to engage in EDI, and the outcomes of innovation work in the studied cases.

The thesis’ results show how innovation support was set up as parallel structures operating independently from regular municipal operations, which made it difficult for employees and managers to connect and integrate innovation work with everyday work. Furthermore, the results show how the studied municipalities did not define clear objectives for working with innovation, which in turn resulted in a multitude of inextricably linked negative effects for the innovation support operations, the managers, the employees, and the outcome of the innovation work. In addition, the study results demonstrate the importance of providing rich environments for learning and innovation in the workplace, to consider and support employee engagement in public sector innovation and to support the entire innovation process, including the implementation phase.   

The first conclusion drawn is that employee-driven innovation work happens at the intersection of innovation support and current workplace conditions. This implies that support measures need to be integrated into employees’ everyday work to create favourable conditions for EDI. The second conclusion is that it is imperative for municipal organisations intending to support EDI to define objectives for working with innovation and to anchor and communicate these objectives throughout the organisation. 

Abstract [sv]

Det övergripande syftet med denna avhandling är att bidra med kunskap om medarbetardriven innovation (EDI) med särskilt fokus på förutsättningarna för innovation på arbetsplatsen när innovationsstöd införs i kommunala sammanhang. Empirin baseras på 23 kvalitativa intervjuer med chefer, medarbetare och innovationscoacher från tre platser i Sverige där innovationsstöd har införts i den kommunala verksamheten.   

Resultaten visar att innovationsstödet sattes upp som en parallell struktur som verkade oberoende av den ordinarie kommunala verksamheten, vilket gjorde det svårt för medarbetare och chefer att integrera innovationsarbetet i det dagliga arbetet. Vidare visar resultaten att det saknades tydligt definierade mål för att arbeta med innovation. Detta resulterade i en mängd negativa effekter för innovationsstödsverksamheten, cheferna, medarbetarna och utfallet av innovationsarbetet på arbetsplatsnivå. Detta indikerar vikten av att tillhandahålla goda miljöer för lärande och innovation på arbetsplatsen, att beakta och stödja medarbetarnas engagemang i innovationsarbete och att stödja hela innovationsprocessen, inklusive implementeringsfasen.  

I avhandlingen dras två slutsatser. Den första slutsatsen är att medarbetardrivet innovationsarbete sker i skärningspunkten mellan tillhandahållet innovationsstöd och nuvarande arbetsplatsförhållanden. Detta innebär att stödåtgärder behöver integreras med medarbetarnas dagliga arbete för att skapa goda förutsättningar för EDI. Den andra slutsatsen är att för att stödja EDI är det av vikt att kommunala organisationer definierar mål för arbetet med innovation och att förankra och kommunicera dessa mål i hela organisationen.   

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2023. p. 112
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 852Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 251
Keywords
Employee-driven innovation, Innovation support, Public sector innovation, Municipalities, Workplace conditions, Innovation capacity, Medarbetardriven innovation, Innovationsstöd, Innovation i offentlig sektor, Kommuner, Förutsättningar på arbetsplatsen, Innovationsförmåga
National Category
Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-192569 (URN)10.3384/9789180750967 (DOI)9789180750950 (ISBN)9789180750967 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-05-05, TEMCAS, T-Building, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-03-22 Created: 2023-03-22 Last updated: 2023-11-10Bibliographically approved

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Lidman, LindaGustavsson, MariaFogelberg Eriksson, Anna

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