"Innovation in the Public Sector: Dilemmas in the Use of Ad Hoc Processes", an article by Tom Gilmore and Jim Krantz, has been selected for inclusion in the Journal's Classic Series on Public Management.
Increasingly, public sector executives are using ad hoc groups and processes—what Gilmore and Krantz term “parallel processes”—as a vehicle for innovation. The central question is, however, when parallel processes are developmental and when they are bypasses that avoid critical issues. This paper reviews some potential weaknesses in the use of such groups by examining several cases that show how they can impede the actual implementation of the innovation. Gilmore and Krantz propose a transitional perspective that regards parallel process as scaffolding, enabling new ideas and behaviors to grow strong enough to eventually allow their transfer to the permanent structure.
This article was originally publshed in the Summer 1991 issue of the journal and can now be found online at the JPAM website.