The problem of success and failure in public-private innovation partnerships

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Public-Private Innovation Partnerships (PPIPs) are increasingly used as a tool for addressing ‘wicked’ public sector challenges. ‘Innovation’ is, however, frequently treated as a ‘magic’ concept: used unreflexively, taken to be axiomatically ‘good’, and left undefined within policy programmes. Using McConnell’s framework of policy success and failure and a case study of a multi-level PPIP in the English health service (NHS Test Beds), this paper critically explores the implications of the mobilisation of innovation in PPIP policy and practice. We highlight how the interplay between levels (macro/micro and policy maker/recipient) can shape both emerging policies and their prospects for success or failure. The paper contributes to an understanding of PPIP success and failure by extending McConnell’s framework to explore inter-level effects between policy and innovation project, and demonstrating how the success of PPIP policy cannot be understood without recognising the particular political effects of ‘innovation’ on formulation and implementation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Feb 2021


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