Public sector innovation in a city state: exploring innovation types and national context in Singapore

Emre Cinar, Mehmet Akif Demircioglu, Ahmet Coskun Acik, Chris Simms

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The purpose of this study is to deepen our knowledge of the typology of public service innovation (PSI) and the role of national context within the context of Singapore, a less studied but highly pertinent context. To accomplish this, our study uses two different methodologies. First, we conduct a systematic review to understand the national context of Singapore. We then utilise Chen et al. (2020) ‘s recent typology to uncover the innovation configuration in the country. To achieve this, our second dataset consists of an analysis of 148 innovations from the United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA) between 2008 and 2017. The content analysis identifies that Singaporean innovations prioritised consistently an operation focus during the period studied, while the locus shifted from internal to external after 2011 elections. We argue that the new typology is robust to classify innovation in the public services. We also formulate propositions how Singaporean national context influences the innovation types and in which government functions innovations emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104915
Number of pages14
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number2
Early online date18 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • Public sector innovation types
  • Innovation typology
  • National context
  • Singapore
  • Systematic review

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