Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector


  • Ben Bommert


This article claims that there is a need for a new form of innovation in the public sector because bureaucratic (closed) ways of innovating do not yield the quantity and quality of innovations necessary to solve emergent and persistent policy challenges. Based on these shortcomings the article defines a set of criteria, which a suitable form of public sector innovation needs to fulfill. The article shows that collaborative innovation meets these criteria because it opens the innovation cycle to a variety of actors and taps into innovation resources across borders, overcomes cultural restrictions and creates broad socio-political support for public sector innovation. The article highlights risks and issues associated with collaborative innovation and that the concept should not be discarded on these grounds since there is no suitable alternative to tackle emergent and persistent challenges. Finally, the article suggests capacities, which government needs to develop to successfully implement collaborative innovation. However as research on innovation in the public sector is rather thin the article suggests a map for further research to substantiate the role of collaborative innovation in the public sector.

Author Biography

Ben Bommert

Ben Bommert, Policy Adviser, Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, H. M. Government, London, UK.


How to Cite

Bommert, B. (2014). Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector. International Public Management Review, 11(1), 15–33. Retrieved from