The Dark Side of Public Innovation

Paper by Albert Meijer & Marcel Thaens: “The positive features of innovation are well known but the dark side of public innovation has received less attention. To fill this gap, this article develops a theoretical understanding of the dark side of public innovation. We explore a diversity of perverse effects on the basis of a literature review and an expert consultation. We indicate that these perverse effects can be categorized on two dimensions: low public value and low public control. We confront this exploratory analysis with the literature and conclude that the perverse effects are not coincidental but emerge from key properties of innovation processes such as creating niches for innovation and accepting uncertainty about public value outcomes. To limit perverse effects, we call for the dynamic assessment of public innovation. The challenge for innovators is to acknowledge the dark side and take measures to prevent perverse effects without killing the innovativeness of organizations…(More)“.