This mini study examine innovation in the public sector, focusing on service innovation and empowerment. It is frequently stated that innovation is often difficult to achieve in the public sector because of the risk adverse culture of public organisations. The reasons for this difficulty are considered here, as well as the best way forward to ensure that individual Member States and the EU public sector are able to harness innovations while also producing and diffusing service innovations to better meet their particular obligations.
In this respect, one of the main roles of the EU is to push for more innovation though strong political drivers including objectives & targets and regulatory measures such as standards or public procurement. Various policy areas could impact significantly on public sector activity, for example greenhouse gas emission targets and wider social inclusion.
The EU role is also to facilitate the diffusion of information and practices between Member States. This should not be limited to communication activities or platforms but instigate an effective network of practice and learning including study trips, skills and training programmes, grants for further research. European institutions as a public sector themselves, may lead in terms of innovative practices such as citizen-driven innovation, cross-border thinking or path finding, sending positive signals to other public sectors in Member States throughout Europe.