Public institutions and social innovation

Stream #08

Chairs: Sarah-anne Munoz (University of the Highlands and Islands), Madeline Powell (University of York)

What is the role of public institutions in social innovation? What is the role played by organisations such as universities, healthcare providers and local authorities in stimulating social innovation? What are some of the ways in which public institutions are tackling and responding to contemporary social challenges? We welcome paper contributions that contribute to answering these questions or reflect on other facets of the relationship between public institutions and social innovation. 

This session will focus on the role public institutions play in addressing social challenges in new ways. This could be at different levels from policy, from contracting with social enterprises to designing and delivering services in new ways. We are particularly interested in research that reflects on new ways of facilitating successful co-production and co-creation of public services which actively involves citizens in the design and delivery of services. How has policy supporting co-production been translated into action ‘on the ground’ and do service users feel that they are being ‘actively engaged? How can we measure the ‘success’ of such engagement and the social innovation that may be generated from it? Are these activities bringing empowerment for citizens? What is the value generated from these activities?

This stream welcomes papers that relate to the dynamics of the relationship between public sector providers and the co-producers or co-creators. We are keen to hear from researchers, evaluators, public sector professionals and others involved in the evidencing of successful community engagement that truly moves beyond public consultation and generates social innovation. 

Research that moves beyond the case study to interrogate the mechanisms relating to success and/or failure of different types of social innovation in the public services arena is particularly welcomed. Presentations may chose to focus on one of the following topics, but the stream is open to all papers pertinent to public services co-production: 

  • What is the role of public institutions in social innovation?
  • What are some examples of the public sector tackling social challenges in new ways?
  • How do we evidence whether ‘genuine’ social innovation of services has happened? 
  • What motivates public sector actors and citizens to get involved in social innovation processes and how can we measure their success? 
  • How effective are public sector frameworks such as the Scottish Approach to Service Design in fostering social innovation that is acceptable to both citizens and the public sector? 
  • What factors contribute to the failure of social innovation within services?