On 23-25 May 2019, the COGOV Consortium, under the lead of professor Tina Jukic (principal investigator at the University of Ljubljana), organised the panel “Challenges in the Strategic Renewal of Public Administrations across Europe” at the NISPAcee Annual Conference in Prague.
The main goal of the panel was the dissemination of the first preliminary results of the COGOV project with the purpose of getting informed and constructive feedback from both academics and practitioners.
What is NISPAcee?
NISPAcee – the Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe brings together academics and practitioners from Central and Eastern Europe and beyond to discuss broad issues in public management and administration. COGOV was well represented in this year’s conference. Several academics and researchers from the following COGOV partners presented their work:
- University Northumbria Newcastle: prof. Keith Shaw and Dr Andreja Pegan
- King’s College London: prof. Ewan Ferlie and Dr Irene Pluchinotta
- Open University: prof. Edoardo Ongaro
- Roskilde University: prof. Jacob Torfing
- University of Ljubljana: prof. Tina Jukic, prof. Primoz Pevcin, prof. Mitja Decman, Dr Sanja Vrbek
What happened in the COGOV panel?
The highlight of the conference for COGOV was naturally the COGOV panel split into two sessions on the theme “Challenges in the Strategic Renewal of Public Administrations across Europe”.
In the first session, professor Shaw (University Northumbria Newcastle) introduced COGOV. Together with professor Ewan Ferlie (King’s College London), he presented the first public deliverable of the project. This was the literature review that brings under one analytical umbrella Public Value, Network Governance, Co-production and Co-creation, and Collaborative Leadership (co-authored together with I. Pluchinotta and A. Pegan).
A second paper was presented by prof. Tina Jukic and research fellow Sanja Vrbek (both from the University of Ljubljana). The paper “Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector: Theoretical Background and Practical Implications” is the product of several co-authors at the University of Ljubljana (Tina Jukic, Primoz Pevcin, Mitja Decman, Joze Bencina, Sanja Vrbek) and Roskilde University (Jacob Torfing). The paper captures the prevailing theoretical framework on collaborative innovation and identifies the main concepts that are used for explaining this relatively new phenomenon in the public sector. Based on a content analysis of 139 Web of Science articles on co-production and co-creation, the paper analyses the main trends, features and problems of the research on collaborative innovation.
Initially, it refers to the conceptual properties of co-creation and co-production, their interrelationship, as well as their relation to other already established ‘co-‘ concepts. Then, it systematises the general and methodological features of the relevant research, e.g. most influential authors, geographical origin of collaborative ideas, and the most often used research methods; as well as its specific characteristics referring to the (most often analysed) policy area and target group(s), the presence of digital dimension, drivers/barriers, the existence of co-creation roadmaps and maturity models. On this basis, the paper identifies the gaps within the literature and provides ideas for the future research agenda on collaborative innovation.
In the second session of the COGOV panel, Professor Edoardo Ongaro (Open University) presented the paper “Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector: Theoretical Background and Practical Implications“. Referencing the European level of governance, the paper has raised important questions: If and to what extent the strategic management models originally developed in the private sector can be applied to a context where New Public Management lacks such influence? Based on the analysis of two case studies ‒ the European Training Foundation and the European Research Council Executive Agency, the paper argues that there is potential for application of strategic management models in jurisdictions where the penetration of NPM has not been strong, provided certain conditions of agency autonomy are met and factors—such as stakeholders’ expectations stimulating the adoption of strategic management models—perform as the functional equivalent of the pressures provided by NPM incentivising systems.
Part of the second session was also the presentation of Yu Heng Jung (Masaryk University). He discussed his work in progress “The Inspiration from Open Government, Public Engagement and Agile Governance: A Case study of Tax E-filing System Reform in Taiwan”.
Last, but not least
However, the COGOV panel was not the only session were COGOV was present.
- Professor Ongaro gave a keynote speech at the Opening Plenary Session, where he discussed how to bring context into the study and practice of public administration.
- Professor Pevcin coordinated the panel “Cultural Policy and Creativity for Smart Development in Central and Eastern Europe” and presented his on-going research into “smart” or “sustainable” cities.
- Andreja Pegan spoke in the first ever held Public Value panel at NISPAcee. She presented findings on what citizens value in Cohesion policy.
- Within the Working Group on E-governance, Professor Mitja Dečman presented the findings of the analysis of the Citizens’ initiatives service in the Slovenian municipality of Ljubljana. This specific case has been in particular interesting for the COGOV project, as it represents a successful practice of co-production at the local level with a potential for co-creation.
This year’s NISPAcee conference was a great opportunity for presenting the first results of COGOV. Even more so, it was an inspiring space for deliberation and fruitful discussion on the upcoming challenges in the strategic renewal of public administrations across Europe. We are grateful for this valuable experience as it has provided us with important inputs and insights from both academics and practitioners. Namely, we have realised that although some concepts and notions (such as strategic management) seem self-evident in terms of their meaning and application, we need to clearly define their conceptual properties to avoid misunderstandings arising from ‘non-discriminatory’ uses in different contexts.
Also, we have decided to widen our research “Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector: Theoretical Background and Practical Implications” to ‘follow the money’, i.e. to identify the financial source of collaborative innovation research. This has been recognised as relevant information for better understanding the key actors and sponsors, and the overall context in which ideas related to collaborative innovation emerge as an attractive recipe for strategic renewal of the public sector.
We may have come back from Prague with more questions than before, but we are surely continuing our path with even more ideas and enthusiasm.
Andreja Pegan has a PhD in Political Science and is a research fellow in the COGOV project at Northumbria University (GB). She has previously researched the communication of Cohesion policy in the EU and the public administration of the European Union.
Sanja Vrbek (PhD) is a research fellow in the COGOV project. She works at the Faculty of Public Administration, University of Ljubljana.What happens in NISPAcee Prague, doesn’t stay in NISPAcee Prague Click To Tweet