Public Leadership and processes of societal innovations

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademicpeer-review


Societal actors can come against problems that cross the traditional boundaries of sectors, organisations and routines. Processes of societal innovation are started on the way to an unknown future, creating new solutions and new corporations. In this paper I focus on the question how public leaders can contribute to these processes of societal innovations. I will present an analytical framework that consists of a further conceptualization of public leadership, suggestions for useful strategies and a set of values for justifying them. I will argue that in this framework there is no place for central steering. Public leadership is more that of giving power to changes by participating and using strategies such as keying, improvisation, reprising, certifying and coupling. However, when fixations arise, public leaders must be able to recognize them and to organize interventions that aim at unblocking stagnations and revitalizing innovation processes. I close with some concluding reflections on the identity of public leaders and their competences.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventLeading the Future of the Public Sector. University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA -
Duration: 31 May 20072 Jun 2007


ConferenceLeading the Future of the Public Sector. University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA

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