Knowledge Translation Capability and Public-Sector Innovation Processes

Savory, Clive (2006). Knowledge Translation Capability and Public-Sector Innovation Processes. In: International Conference on Organizational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities, 20-22 Mar 2006, Warwick, UK.


Public sector organisations are increasingly becoming aware of the need to harness the innovative capacity of their employees. In the UK many public sector research institutes have put in place processes to increase the speed at which new technological innovations are exploited and commercialised. These types of initiatives have also been implemented into public sector service organisations. For these service organisations innovations occur not just from formal research projects but are also practice based, developed by staff in the course of their normal work. This paper suggests that practice-based innovations can be seen as relying heavily on Mode 2 knowledge production. Using the UK’s National Health Service as an example, the characteristics of practice-based innovations are characterised as tightly coupled to their development context and combining hard and soft technologies. A model of knowledge translation capability is presented that supports Mode 2 knowledge production and is then used to analyse a case study of a practice based NHS innovation. Implications for NHS innovation policy are suggested and further areas of research into public a sector innovation processes outlined.

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