On evaluation of innovations: How to evaluate the transformative value of Cohesion policy for managing purposes?

Isak Vento


The Cohesion policy aims at creating a transformative value to societies in addition to traditional public values. The implementation of Cohesion policy has been organized by temporary organizations, such as projects, to promote innovations, knowledge and learning. The problem is that the performance concept used for managing the policy is founded on traditional technical and economic values, theoretically neglecting the benefits of innovation projects, and potentially opening up for profound managing problems. To what extent can the transformative added value of innovation projects be evaluated by the traditional performance concept? And are the traditional and a new transformative performance concepts consistent for managing purposes?

In this study a new framework is developed with regard to the benefits of projects as policy tools. The new concept for assessing performance of projects is then statistically compared to the traditional performance concept by operationalizing them on regional development projects in Finland during the EU’s Cohesion policy program 2007-2013.

The study shows that the new performance concept is consistent in evaluating development projects’ performance in a complex administrative system. The new and traditional concept are, however, inconsistent in providing steering signals. This raises concerns for the effects on policy coordination of public policy projectification.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413