The Democratic Accountability of Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector

  • Jacob Torfing


There is a growing demand for public innovation in most Western societies (Borins, 2008; OECD, 2010), and new research suggests that both policy and service innovation can be spurred by multi-actor collaboration that creates a better understanding of the problem, facilitates the cross-fertilisation of ideas, triggers mutual learning processes and creates joint ownership of new and bold solutions (Sørensen and Torfing, 2011). The participation of a broad range of public and private actors in collaborative governance helps to generate innovative solutions to the growing number of i ll-defined, complex, hard-to-solve problems that in governance literature are known as ‘wicked problems’ (Rittel and Webber, 1973). Collaborative innovation also enables the public sector to escape the crossfire between citizens’ growing expectations and the dire economic constraints emanating from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) (Bason, 2010; Pollitt, 2010). Finally, collaborative innovation facilitates the realisation of political visions and professional ambitions to citizens’ new and changing needs.


Public Sector Global Financial Crisis Private Actor Innovative Solution Wicked Problem 
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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© Jacob Torfing 2014

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  • Jacob Torfing

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