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Networks & Innovation: The innovative capacity of governments ANZSOG Annual Conference 6-8 August 2013 Professor Jenny M Lewis

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Presentation on theme: "Networks & Innovation: The innovative capacity of governments ANZSOG Annual Conference 6-8 August 2013 Professor Jenny M Lewis"— Presentation transcript:

1 Networks & Innovation: The innovative capacity of governments ANZSOG Annual Conference 6-8 August 2013 Professor Jenny M Lewis

2 Innovation "All innovation begins with creative ideas. [...] We define innovation as the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization. In this view, creativity by individuals and teams is a starting point for innovation; the first is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the second". (Amabile, T. M., et al. "Assessing the Work Environment for Creativity." Academy of Management Journal 39(5) October Ideas + supportive environments = innovation

3 Innovation relates to: Political/organizational level support for individuals to innovate Culture that permits staff to engage in risk taking – orientations towards innovation Space to work across formal, structural silos, include users, outward looking focus Informal as well as formal relationships between individuals – networks Innovation is socially constructed

4 Study of public sector innovation 11 municipal governments in Victoria Mix of inner/outer metro & rural, wealthy/poor, left/right politically From 24,000 to 130,000 population Surveyed politicians & top 4 levels of administration 765 responses (from 935 people identified) - response rate of 81% See: Mark Considine, Jenny M Lewis & Damon Alexander (2009) Networks, innovation and public policy. Palgrave Macmillan.

5 What is innovation? Orientations to innovation within an organization construct a culture - more/less supportive of innovation & of particular views of ‘innovation’ No definition provided in study Agree/disagree statements (exploratory, empirical question) ‘Innovation’ is what those in the study think it is

6 5 views of innovation Institutional ‘ Innovation relates to organizational factors ’ Structural ‘ Innovation is about large external changes ’ Sceptical ‘ Uncertain if government has a role in innovation ’ Incremental ‘ Innovation is about small, planned improvements ’ Adaptive ‘ Innovation means adapting things from elsewhere ’

7 Innovation means large external changes

8 What helps/hinders innovation? PoliticalBudget, committee meetings and municipal meetings ManagerialCorporate plan, structure, systems and municipal bureaucrats ElectoralElections, state government and municipal politicians

9 Elections & politicians help/hinder innovation

10 Innovation orientations Views of what innovation is & what helps/hinders it vary significantly between the 11 governments Views of what innovation is & what helps/hinders also vary significantly between positions (more senior, more positive) It matters where you work (which city) It matters where you sit (what role) From orientations to structures

11 Innovation capacity relates to: Formal structures: Political & administrative triggers - crises, competition (+) Decentralized, corporatist governance traditions, strong civil society (+) V. Centralized, rule-bound, silo-bound legal culture (-) Networks (informal structures): Organizational slack Network diversity External/customer focus Recognition of dependency, distributed costs & benefits Higher trust & openness

12 Level of external contact

13 Networks of CEOs & Mayors Integrated leadershipDisconnected leadership

14 Supporting an innovation culture Orientations: receptive internal culture – positive view of innovation acceptance that innovation is risky - permission to fail sympathetic culture – swimming with the tide supportive procedures – smoothing the path to change Networks: good external connections – to gather information & learn from others solid links between politicians & bureaucrats – for public policy change ‘go to’ people - central in networks, brokers with cross organizational reach access to embedded resources (including trust)

15 Learning from Innovation in Public Sector Environments – EU funded research project: Map, analyse and compare the innovation capacity of 4 cities - Barcelona, Copenhagen, Edinburgh & Rotterdam Identify the formal arrangements & informal network structures of these cities & link these to their innovation capacities Provide policy recommendations & guidelines on how structures can be created that exploit the embedded resources of networks, & the type of leadership that is needed to stimulate innovation Disseminate the research results & policy recommendations For more information see:


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