RUC Sunrise Conference - Transforming Governance, Enhancing Innovation

Roskilde University

October 29, 2012 – October 31, 2012

The Roskilde Declaration on: "Transforming governance, enhancing innovation"

For further information on the student track, please visit

Rising citizen expectations, fiscal constraints and a growing number of wicked problems have generated an increasing demand for innovation of public policies and services. Public innovation is rapidly moving to the top of the agenda at all levels of government in most parts of the world. Innovation is increasingly recognized as the intelligent alternative to across the board budget cuts and as a promising way of improving services, user satisfaction and the motivation of public employees without augmenting public expenditure.

At the same time, there is a growing frustration with traditional forms of bureaucratic governance as well as with the impact of New Public Management reforms. Both forms of governance tend to stifle rather than enhance public innovation. Turning public innovation into a permanent, pervasive and systematic activity calls for a transformation of governance. This includes a transformation of the predominant accountability and value-for-money systems, the building of a strong public innovation culture, forms of organization that drill holes in the administrative and political silos, mobilise and engage private actors, create new collaborative arenas, and facilitate mutual and transformative learning, and the development of new forms of innovation management. In short, we need to transform governance in order to enhance public innovation.

The Roskilde University Sunrise Conference aims to explore the link between governance and innovation by bringing together academic scholars, experienced practitioners and interested students. The three groups will work in parallel streams to craft innovative solutions to public policy problems, ponder the need for administrative reform and explore how transformations of governance can enhance public innovation. However, the three groups will also engage in fruitful dialogue with each other, culminating in the formulation of the Roskilde Public Innovation Manifesto that will hopefully set the agenda for innovation-enhancing governance reforms in the years to come.

The researcher stream runs through all three conference days (29.-31. October, 2012). It combines keynote speeches delivered by distinguished scholars in the field of public governance, administration and entrepreneurship with round table discussions and parallel panel sessions with paper presentations. More than 100 researchers from all over the world will participate in the scholarly debates that aim to clarify how the current system of public governance can be transformed in order to spur innovation. The researcher stream is organized as a regional conference of the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM).

Video presentation of the conference by Professor Jacob Torfing

The decision-maker stream runs parallel to the researcher stream on the second day of the conference (30. October, 2012). Close to 100 personally invited decision-makers from different sectors and from all levels of government will together explore the need for developing innovative solutions to wicked problems and discuss how the barriers to public innovation, which they are experiencing in their daily work, can be overcome. The decision-maker stream is facilitated by top-level facilitators and academic researchers, high-level consultants and other resource persons will provide substantive input and inspirational comments. The end product will be a wish list with ideas to how we can make the public sector more innovative. This wish list will be presented to the researchers and the students in a plenary session on the third day of the conference (31. October, 2012) and it forms the backbone of the Manifesto that will be adopted at the very end of the conference.

The student stream will run parallel to the researcher- and the decision-maker stream on the second day of the conference (30. October, 2012). About 70 students from different Danish BA and Master Programs will work hard to find innovative solutions to three pre-selected wicked problems. The stream will be facilitated by experienced PhD-students who are experts in public innovation. Throughout the day, researchers and professionals will be invited to help guiding the students through different innovation phases in terms of problem framing, idea generation, idea implementation and dissemination. The three most innovative, and yet feasible, solutions - one for each of the wicked problems they have addressed - will be awarded the Sunrise Innovation Award on the third day of the conference (31. October, 2012).

In sum, the Sunrise Conference provides a unique opportunity for leading academic researchers, public decision makers with hands-on innovation experience and talented students with a strong interest in solving mounting societal problems to come together and engage in fruitful dialogue. The overarching goal is to set the future agenda for innovation-enhancing governance reforms and thus to take the first step in building a public sector that can solving the growing number of wicked problems, break the many regulatory policy deadlocks and provide high quality service in times with dire fiscal constraints.

Register here

Keynote speakers

Professor Christopher Ansell, University of California, Berkeley

Professor Jean Hartley, University of Warwick

Professor Donald P. Moynihan, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Professor Mirko Noordegraaf, Utrecht University

Professor Stephen Osborne, University of Edinburgh

Professor B. Guy Peters, University of Pittsburg

Professor Eva Sørensen, Roskilde University

Professor Jacob Torfing, Roskilde University


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