The role of the public agency as a pacer of private sector innovation has been emphasised over recent years, especially in the context of the EU. The general ambition has been to encourage public agencies to actively stimulate private sector innovation rather than procure existing products. This has triggered an increased interest among researchers and practitioners to identify best practice examples where public agencies have successfully procured innovation. Rather than addressing this demand-oriented perspective, this paper investigates the role of public agencies as adopters of private-sector innovation. Employing an innovation systems perspective, the paper focuses on institutions as enablers and as barriers of innovation diffusion. The paper presents an explorative case study: the introduction of a new catheter into the English National Health Service and its diffusion among NHS trusts in England. Different institutional factors are identified which have had an affect on the catheter’s adoption and diffusion
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