Developing regional Circular Economy innovation capability: A programme Community of Practice approach.
Public services have recently experienced a ‘perfect storm’, dealing with challenges including the task demands of COVID-19, increased financial pressures derived from the pandemic and its impact on future revenue flows, obligations to meet 2030 Net Zero targets, and Brexit repercussions. These challenges have highlighted the requirement for public service organisations (PSOs) to enhance their innovation capabilities (Arundel et al. 2019). This paper reports on a regional HEI executive education programme being delivered in Wales, the Circular Economy Innovation Communities (CEIC) project, that aims to develop the innovation knowledge and skills of senior practitioners in public sector organisations through inter-organisational ‘Programme Communities of Practice’ (PCoP)(Smith et al, 2018). The CEIC programme simultaneously develops practitioners circular economy (CE) knowledge by supporting practitioners to develop new service solutions that reduce the carbon footprint of their organisation, through a ‘challenge-led’ approach. This paper presents empirical data from five case studies of new service solutions co-prodcued by groups of practitioners within the HEI facilitated PCoP. The empirical data suggests the novel pedagogical approach and the theoretical content within the programme is effective at developing practitioners innovation capabilities and creating regional innovation networks.