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LIPSE final conference - read the conference report by Bastian Pelka

On 3rd and 4th February FP7 project "LIPSE -Learning from Innovation in Public Sector Environments" (www.lipse.org/eventpage/item/25) held their mid-term conference with some interesting preliminary findings on social innovation in the public sector. Presented research findings and discussions highlighted the role of “failed innovations”, the context sensitiveness of innovation, the role of risk in the innovation process and means of feedback and citizen involvement for social innovation processes.

lipse_logo On 3rd and 4th February FP7 project "LIPSE -Learning from Innovation in Public Sector Environments" (www.lipse.org/eventpage/item/25) held their mid-term conference with some interesting preliminary findings on social innovation in the public sector. Presented research findings and discussions highlighted the role of “failed innovations”, the context sensitiveness of innovation, the role of risk in the innovation process and means of feedback and citizen involvement for social innovation processes.

“Failed innovations seem to offer interesting insight into theory and analysis of social innovation”, said Christopher Pollitt from KU Leuven in his key note. Other speakers and the conference’s digital survey system – operated by the attendants through digital devices– concurred and made “failed innovation” a running topic of debate through this conference.

Another key challenge of innovation was rised by Lykke Ricard from Roskilde University with her analysis on “risk” and “uncertainty” in innovation processes in four municipalities. Institutional and personal risk aversion seems to be a key attitude to be scrutinized when analyzing innovation.

A means to overcome risk aversion and to positively build on failed innovation was introduced by Geert Bouckert from KU Leuven: He highlighted the role of feedback procedures for innovativeness. Feedback, accountability and learning (FAL) seem to be key ingredients for sustainable innovations. Bouckert: “FAL is necessary for sustainable innovation, but not sufficient”.

A specific form of feedback for the public sector was introduced by Gerhard Grill, director of the European Ombudsman: He described the ombudsman system as an instrument to bring in people’s and stake holders’ opinion in policy.

In a closing key note, Lars Tummers presented a comparative analysis on citizen involvement in seven countries – linking both to the axiom of a context sensitive view on innovation and on feedback processes. He differentiated three functions of citizens in social innovation: co-initiation, co-designing and co-implementing.