Master of International Affairs   Master of Public Policy  

Public sector innovation

Innovation is the new buzzword in public sector reform policies across the globe. Its promise is to deliver a way out of the twin problem of increasingly wicked problems that public organisations have to address under ever-tighter resource constraints. ‘Public Sector Innovation' (PSI) tries to use cross-boundary collaboration (across organisations, sectors, professions) and new methods such as design thinking, agile working methods and behavioural insights to conceive, adopt and implement changes in the way public organisations operate and deliver services. Digital technologies play an important role in collaboration and the ‘co-creation' of innovations. Another proposition of the new trend of public sector innovation is to strengthen ‘experimentation' in government and nurturing a new culture of ‘failure tolerance' in the public sector as a precondition for the creation of innovations. The course introduces the key concepts, tools and promises of the new public sector innovation agenda and critically reviews its track-record in different policy and country contexts. Students will carry out small-scale empirical analyses evaluating cases of PSI reforms. Methods of comparative case study and analysing institutional change will be introduced as foundations for your own studies. Guests speakers will provide insights into real-world experiences with PSI tools.


  • Kai Wegrich , Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy