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Stakeholders agree on the need to promote innovation in work organization in public services. This article deploys the concept of collaborative innovation to discuss employees’ and managers’ experiences of a major technology-driven work redesign project within National Health Service (NHS) pharmacy services in Scotland. We draw on extant literature on New Public Management (NPM) and collaborative approaches to innovation to frame more than 40 in-depth interviews with managers and employees. We find that key components of collaborative innovation – related to joint problem-solving, inter-disciplinary working and mutual learning – were important to the success of the redesign project and to positive impacts on job quality for some employees. We argue that researchers and policymakers should look beyond NPM-driven models that have dominated some areas of the public innovation literature, to consider the potential added value of collaborative innovation to improving both work and service delivery in the public sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-260
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number2
Early online date7 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2018


  • innovation
  • public sector
  • NHS
  • healthcare
  • job quality
  • robotics


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