Collaborative innovation and institutional capacity in Norwegian public sector

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Norway experiences that the administrative public sector structure with municipalities, counties and regions are not suited to handle the problems in the more functional territorial structure rising from urbanization and zooning of industry, services and housing areas etc. Problems with infrastructure, housing, industry, public health, commuting etc. are related to each other and interact in a functional process and structure across the administrative boarders. These problems are often complex and sometimes as even wicked, and there is a growing understanding on national level that the existing administrative structure must be changed and adapted to the functional territorial structure. The preferred political solution at national level is to amalgamate municipalities, counties and regions and make them bigger unites and more territorial similar to the functional activities and structures. This national policy implicates great changes, and is met with reluctance and opposition at the local level. However, there seem to be an agreement across the governing levels that collaborative innovation is needed in order to handle the complex problems, but the existing mismatch between the administrative and the functional spatial structure, and the influences of New Public Management seem to create a blurred responsibility, an institutional egoism and make collaborative planning and innovation very demanding. To have a local and regional institutional capacity becomes a decisive demand. In this paper, I will present several cases trying to cope with the complex problems and fuzzy responsibilities, and I will discuss their planning activity and their institutional capacity and legitimacy as political actors.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
Planning, innovation, collaboration, institutions
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