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Exploring enablers of innovative quality development in public administration

Klas Palm (Department of Quality Technology and Management, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics, Mittuniversitetet, Östersund, Sweden)
Jessica Algehed (Mistra Urban Future, Göteborg, Sweden)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 19 June 2017




Today’s public administration is facing a wide range of challenges. This situation requires an ability to change and innovate. However, difficulties in the implementation of innovations have been seen as the cause of many administrations’ inability to achieve the intended benefits of innovations. The purpose of this study is, therefore, to empirically determine which – out of a wide range of enabling factors for innovations – may be the most important for the specific process step of moving from ideas to implementation of innovations in a public administration context, and, furthermore, to identify possible additional enablers for this specific process step.


This study is a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews with city officials in four cities on four continents.


The study identifies five key enablers for transforming ideas into implemented innovations in public administration: a committed and hands-on leadership, internal as well as external networking, innovation processes over time alternately organized as a separate project and, as part of the standard operating procedures, a system understanding, including an understanding of how the parts contribute to a shared vision and communication of achieved, tangible, short-term results. Three of these enablers are previously identified as overall enablers for innovation and two complement previously identified enablers.


The article identifies enabling factors for the specific step of going from idea generation to implementation of innovations in a public sector context. The article also reviews enabling factors from real experiences. Much of the former literature is conceptual. The article analyses an area in which there is a general lack of empirical research.



Palm, K. and Algehed, J. (2017), "Exploring enablers of innovative quality development in public administration", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 203-217.



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