Social Innovation in Practice: Opportunities for Citizens and Governments

  • Alina OstlingEmail author
Part of the Public Administration and Information Technology book series (PAIT, volume 25)


One of the emerging innovations in the public sector is social innovation. National governments, international organisations and the civil society around the world are experimenting with new models for producing and monitoring public services not only to bring down the costs and increase efficiency, but also to improve transparency. At the core of social innovation is civic engagement and novel types of interactions between government and citizens. This chapter examines if and when social innovation improves transparency and civic participation. The author has carried out four case studies of crowdsourcing in health and education sectors in Asia and Europe, which are analysed by using Elinor Ostrom’s theory on co-production. The findings suggest that social innovation can, under certain conditions, open up government and facilitate the monitoring of service delivery. Conditions that favour these processes are not only complementarity of government and the civil society actions, established and formalised commitments, and financial and practical incentives to work in synergy, as suggested by Ostrom, but also strong organisational tactics, extensive community networks and skilled volunteers at the local level working for the civil society organisations behind social innovations.


Civil Society Public Participation Civic Engagement Civil Society Organisation Social Innovation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF)European University InstituteFlorenceItaly

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