Innovation in Governance

Kristof Van Assche*, R. Beunen, Iulian Barba Lata, Martijn Duineveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In this chapter we develop a theoretical framework, deriving from the social systems theory of Niklas Luhmann and Evolutionary Governance Theory, to grasp the paradoxes of current notions of innovation in governance, and to outline an alternative approach. A renewed reflection on innovation we deem essential for an understanding of the potential for delineating the limits and possibilities of managing, steering or planning innovation in such endeavor. Innovation, it is argued, has to be understood as a post-hoc interpretation of previous decisions and actions, emerging in shifting networks of actors and allies. It is a risky and unpredictable operation at the intersection of incompatible understandings of the world. Managing, steering or planning innovation, then, has to be understood as the creation of conditions for reflection, including the reflection on the redistribution of risks engendered by innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolutionary Governance Theory
Subtitle of host publicationTheory and Applications
EditorsRaoul Beunen, Kristof Van Assche, Martijn Duineveld
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783319122748
ISBN (Print)9783319122731
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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