Municipal Social Innovation in a Rural Region

Malin Lindberg, Mikael Sturk, Julia Zeidlitz


The study provides insights into how rural municipalities approach social innovation as a way of addressing current societal challenges. A survey and interviews among public servants in 14 municipalities in Sweden’s northernmost and largest region – Norrbotten – show that they perceive social innovation as pivotal in improving the supply and quality of public services. However, the presence of terminologies, cultures, structures and cooperation for promoting social innovation varies among the municipalities. The increased promotion of social innovation among public authorities at regional and national levels in Sweden, and at international level in Europe and beyond, is thus only reflected to some extent in these municipalities. The findings indicate that this variation might be related to their rural challenges and conditions, which restrict their economic and human resources for promotion of social innovation in relation to declining and ageing populations, limited and decreasing tax bases, and persistent labour shortages.

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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