Authors: Gilberto Garcia
July 1, 2005
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School
After analyzing 271 government programs qualified as innovative through having won the national Government and Local Management award in Mexico, and submitting a questionnaire to the 79 persons responsible for some of the best practices in the municipal government in the years 2001, 2002, and 2003, this paper identifies and analyzes variables that have a bearing on the emergence and sustainability of the innovation process in Mexico's local governments. Innovation is understood here as the first time application of a program, practice, process or proceeding in an organization, regardless of whether it has been implemented before in some other organization. The results show paradoxes in the process of innovation of organizations needing to accomplish increasingly complex objectives through a lack of mechanisms to accrue intermediate and long-term technical expertise, as well as organizational learning. This document also describes the differences in the process of innovation according to three contextual variables: organization capability, institutional development, and political and electoral competition.
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