Persistence of Innovation in Government

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my new book, The Persistence of Innovation in Government, by Brookings Institution Press. The book discusses both shifts and continuities in public sector innovation over the last two decades, using applications to the Harvard Kennedy School’s Innovations in American Government Awards Program as well as data from several other countries. It also reviews the burgeoning literature on public sector innovation, discusses the latest thematic trends in public sector innovation in various policy areas, and presents an econometric explanation of the determinants of recognition for public sector innovations.

The Persistence of Innovation in Government represents the latest instance of the approach I’ve pursued for two decades in my research on innovation. I’ve attempted to take public sector innovation research, particularly using applications to innovation awards, in a quantitative direction, moving from individual or sample-sample case studies, to larger bodies of data than can initially be counted and then analyzed statistically. Other researchers have also taken this quantitative turn. My colleagues and I haven’t gone quantitative only to release our inner geek, but rather because data allows us to see whether elements of folk-wisdom about public sector innovation are actually true.

One of the shifts in public sector innovation I’ve noticed is a greater incidence of collaborations or partnerships than was the case two decades ago. This book itself reflects a three-way partnership among Brookings, the publisher; the Harvard Kennedy School, which provided data and support for my research; and the IBM Center for the Business of Government, which also provided support and concurrently published a monograph based on the research for the book (available at

The Persistence of Innovation in Government is available at Amazon or on the Brookings website at


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