The Nordic welfare model based on an extensive prevalence of the state supplemented by a strong local self-government, universal social rights and equality is constantly challenged by global and domestic developments. By consequence, there is in all Nordic countries a need for transformation of the society and economy by means of new operating models and structures.

All Nordic countries have witnessed a considerable increase in collaborative structures such as projects, partnerships and networks for facilitating innovation and change. In all Nordic countries public institutions are increasingly perceived as agents for collaborative and innovative change. However, due to differences in resources, organizational cultures and traditions, the possibilities for government institutions for fulfilling this role vary considerably.

Despite similarities with respect to the above mentioned developments, the Nordic countries also show considerable differences in structural developments and in terms of how public sector institutions facilitate innovation and change. For revealing these differences, as well as the potentially unique qualities of the Nordic implementations structures, the facilitating actions of public institutions will be analyzed on four key dimensions:

  • in various stages of the policy process
  • from an internal (the internal functioning of public institutions) as well as an external (collaborative actions) perspective
  • with regard to the interaction between policy levels (from the project level to the EU level) and
  • within the selected aforementioned policy fields

This project includes three workshops that will consist of three-day visits to universities in different Nordic countries. The workshops will be organized based on the three main themes:

  1. Public institutions as agents for change: structures and mechanisms for facilitating innovative change in the Nordic countries
  2. Impacts of innovative policy implementation – comparative Nordic case studies
  3. Consolidating impacts as a means for diffusion and dissemination of innovative actions

With reference to main stream innovation research it should be stressed that the emphasis of the proposed research project is not on innovations as such nor on a specific policy filed. The focus is on the actions of public institutions as implementations structure within a project based collaborative context.

The workshops are organized so that they will enable a gradually deepened understanding of these themes from different Nordic perspectives.