Insights into Kenya's public sector innovation: the case of managers

19 June 2018

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess innovation in public sector organisations (PSOs) from the middle managers' perspectives. Several studies have been conducted on innovation drivers in organisations; however, such studies are limited when it comes to the public sector. Innovation is a term that has been synonymous with the private sector, until of late when public sector organisations adopted the terminology. Design/methodology/approach: The present study adopts a qualitative approach. The findings are based on a sample of selected 16 middle managers from two PSOs in Kenya. The study relies on focus group discussions (FGDs) to collect data. The data are analysed thematically, based on categorisation. Findings: First, the results identified drivers, barriers, strategies to overcome barriers, innovation outcomes/indicators and the status of innovation in Kenya's public sector. Second, the study points to policy directions, theory and practice. Research limitations/implications: The study suggests that innovation drivers in the public sector greatly depend on government and top management, particularly the way they craft policies and provide support for innovative behaviours. The current findings are limited to innovation activities of the public sector in Kenya, specifically the two organisations. Originality/value: The findings from this research can aid the understanding of the nature of innovation in PSOs given that it is empirically based on middle managers' insights.