Capacities for transformative innovation in public administrations and governance systems

Publication article | | Janssen, Matthijs; Wanzenböck, Iris; Fünfschilling, Lea; Pontikakis, Dimitrios

Despite mounting interest in transformative innovation policies, there are only few studies that provide insights with regards to their implementation. The present study asks which policy design features make a policy transformative and what capacities public administration and the broader governance system need in order to provide such transformative policies.


The study is centred on a comparative and in-depth analysis of the development of 12 transformative policy initiatives selected on account of possessing characteristics that literature suggests can be transformative. The study includes a synthesis of findings on how transformative policies emerge, what governance capacities (and underlying practices) they typically involve, which features of transformative policies can be strengthened, and what difficulties policy makers might encounter. A key practical contribution of this study is the empirically-grounded identification of distinct possible pathways for transformative capacity development and deployment for the three stylised models of governance systems encountered at present across Europe: administration-based governance, network-based governance and society-based governance. The typical development sequences encountered in each of these stylised paths can provide inspiration to policy makers looking to develop legitimacy and capacities ahead of implementing transformative innovation policies.

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