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Open AccessArticle

The Role of Public Innovation Labs in Collaborative Governance—The Case of the Gipuzkoa Lab in the Basque Country, Spain

1
Sociology 2 Department, University of the Basque Country, 48940 Leioa, Spain
2
Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Deusto, 20012 San Sebastian, Spain
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Sinnergiak Social Innovation Centre, University of the Basque Country, 20018 San Sebastian, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6103; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216103
Received: 17 September 2019 / Revised: 12 October 2019 / Accepted: 31 October 2019 / Published: 2 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Citizen Participation in Sustainable Local Decision-Making)
Public sector innovation labs have gained increasing importance as one of the material expressions of public sector innovation and collaborative governance to address complex societal problems. In the current international context, there are various experiences, interpretations, and applications of this concept with similarities and differences but all of them are based fundamentally on the establishment of new forms of participation and collaboration between governments and civil society. This paper aims to examine, through a case study, how policy innovation labs could play a prominent role in promoting decision-making at the local level in order to create a more sustainable public sector. To do this, this article focuses on an analysis of the “Gipuzkoa Lab”, a public innovation lab developed in the Gipuzkoa region located in the Basque Country, Spain, in order to confront future socio-economic challenges via an open participatory approach. An analysis of a pilot project to address worker participation, developed within this participatory process, indicates that these collaborative spaces have important implications for the formulation of public policies and can change public actions, yielding benefits and engaging citizens, workers, private companies and academics. This paper provides a contemporary approach to understanding good practice in collaborative governance and a novel process for facilitating the balance between the state and civil society, and between public functions and the private sphere, for decision-making. In particular, this case study may be of interest to international practitioners and researchers to introduce the increasingly popular concept of public sector innovation labs into debates of citizen participation and decision-making. View Full-Text
Keywords: collaborative governance; policy labs; public policies; public sector innovation; decision-making; worker participation collaborative governance; policy labs; public policies; public sector innovation; decision-making; worker participation
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Unceta, A.; Barandiaran, X.; Restrepo, N. The Role of Public Innovation Labs in Collaborative Governance—The Case of the Gipuzkoa Lab in the Basque Country, Spain. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6103.

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