Public service innovation: a typology

Jiyao Chen, Richard M. Walker*, Mohanbir Sawhney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Existing classifications of public service innovation are largely derived from a private sector perspective and an internal orientation, overlooking their public value and collaborative nature. In this article, we present a typology for defining and classifying innovation in public service organizations that comprises two dimensions: ‘innovation focus’ (three public value creation processes of strategy, capacity and operations), and ‘innovation locus’ (internal and external). Together, these result in six types of innovation: mission, policy, management, partner, service, and citizen. A preliminary assessment is presented. The implications of the typology for understanding public service innovation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Management Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • Public service innovation
  • innovation focus
  • innovation locus
  • innovation typology
  • public value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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