Managing Collaborative Innovation Networks – Practical Lessons from a Belgian Spatial Planning Initiative

Vidar Stevens, Annika Agger


Collaborative innovation networks are increasingly used as vehicles for fostering innovative policy solutions. However, scholars have noted that the extent to which collaborative networks can actually contribute to the development of innovative policy solutions depends on how they are managed. Empirical research on the management of collaborative policy innovation processes is, however, scarce. Therefore, we review in this article a case to add new insights to the causal link between collaboration, management, and innovation. Specifically, we examine the management strategies which helped a Flemish administrative network to develop a radical new Spatial Planning Policy Plan. This study shows that the best way to manage collaborative innovation networks is not to press directly for results, but take the time to invest in relationship-building and together agree on a planning and clear process steps. Such a management approach allows actors to get to know each other and from thereon expand, with more background and appreciation for the others’ goals, behaviors, and intentions, their group activities concerning the formulation of a radical and innovative policy plan.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Vidar Stevens, Annika Agger

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Journal of Public Administration and Governance  ISSN 2161-7104


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