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Collaborative Governance for innovative public value outcomes: the role of leadership and institutional design

July 3-5, 2023

Application deadline: 2 June

Eva Sørensen (UCL)
Jacob Torfing (Roskilde University) 
Marlot Kuiper (Utrecht University)  

Course fees

  • Free for NIG members
  • 500,- for non-members from an NIG member institution
  • 750,- for third parties

Collaborative approaches to public governance are increasingly seen as a key strategy for pursuing and promoting public value. The idea is that collaboration helps public actors to craft not only more effective, but also more democratic, responsive, robust, and inclusive solutions to the pressing societal problems that emerge in an increasingly turbulent world (Ansell and Gash 2008; Sørensen and Torfing 2021; Termeer 2009). Collaboration is also considered to be an important driver of innovative solutions: “recent research points to multi-actor collaboration as superior innovation driver” (Torfing 2019, 1). In this course, we discuss the principles of collaborative governance and explore its potential for creating public value and spurring public innovation, in a range of different policy domains.

At the same time, making collaborative governance approaches work is challenging. It requires new and different forms of institutional design and leadership than what is normally found in hierarchical forms of government (Mandell et al. 2017). The goal of what the literature refers to as ‘metagovernance’ (Sørensen and Torfing, 2009) is to support, guide and shape collaborative processes and outcomes without reverting too much to traditional forms of command and control. The question is how to metagovern more or less self-regulating forms of collaboration in networks and partnerships in ways that secures the production of innovative public value outcomes.

In sum, in this course:

  • we position collaborative governance, its principles and advantages, in relation to traditional bureaucratic, new public management and new public governance paradigms;
  • we discuss how collaborative governance may contribute to creating public value(s) and to spurring innovation;
  • we explore the conditions that shape collaborative efforts, and in particular the role of (political) leadership and (administrative) management;
  • we apply these insights in exercises in which we explore how collaborative governance can promote the realization of (one or more of) the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • we provide a platform to discuss how your own research connects (and contributes) to the field of collaborative governance (and adjacent fields).

This course intends to inform and inspire PhD-candidates who, directly or indirectly, study collaborative forms of governance; their role in generating desired governance outputs and outcomes such as innovation and public values such as improved service systems, effective regulation and democratic legitimacy; and/or the conditions that shape collaborative processes.

The course consists of two days of interactive lectures and discussion sessions, under guidance of Eva Sørensen and Jacob Torfing. The third day of the course is dedicated to a workshop that explicitly focuses on connecting the content of the lectures to the ongoing research of the course participants. This day will be facilitated by Marlot Kuiper.