Innovation in Local Government: A Framework for Analysis


  • Alessandro Spano University of Cagliari
  • John Francis Martin La Trobe University


This paper focuses on innovation and analyses how the process of innovation takes place in local governments. This level of government is pervasive throughout the world. Typically, it is the closest level of government to communities delivering, primarily, place-based services that impact the daily lives of citizens. However, as a sub-national level of government they are inevitably dependent on either state or provincial governments in federal systems (such as Australia, Italy and Canada) or directly to the national government as with unitary systems (such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand).

Local governments’ relationships with local citizens on the one hand and central government on the other create challenges often placing them in a quandary as they manage competing demands. The way in which individual local governments innovate to meet the unique local needs of their communities creates a diverse range of structures and strategies, potentially the source of inspiration to other local governments around the world often struggling to meet local demands with limited resources.

The paper suggests that managers wanting to create an innovative local government culture would need to focus on a set of tenets of innovation to create the right context around the vision, goals and objectives of the council of the day.

Author Biographies

Alessandro Spano, University of Cagliari

Associate professor, Dept. Economics and Business Sciences, University of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

John Francis Martin, La Trobe University

Emeritus Professor




How to Cite

Spano, A., & Martin, J. F. (2019). Innovation in Local Government: A Framework for Analysis. International Public Management Review, 19(1), 39–55. Retrieved from