Logics of Government Innovation and Reform Management in China


This paper discusses government innovation (chuangxin) and policy experimentation in China and the contribution of this to management of change in the process of the rapid, complex and interconnected reforms that China is undergoing.

The paper has three main purposes. First, to discuss the extent to which government innovation is a useful concept in understanding China’s management of change and point to outstanding research questions. Second, while government innovation is discussed in the abstract, the discussion is intended to provide a framework for discussion of Chinese approaches to management of health and social sector change. Third, the paper attempts to provide an initial basis for dialogue between a body of research in both Chinese and English on institutional innovation in China and research on government innovation, policy innovation and transfer elsewhere and to ask what lessons there are from Chinese government’s approaches to management of change for other developing countries.

Section Two provides an initial framing discussion of innovation and its importance, as well as an initial background discussion of government innovation in China. Section Three discusses a range of Chinese sources on government innovation and discusses these as rationalisations 'in and around government' of these phenomena and their causes. This section engages with Chinese literature and understandings of innovation processes in order to discuss outstanding research questions as well as to provide a basis for dialogue with global debates. Section Four broadens the discussion of Chinese analyses presented in Section Three, and poses questions for further research.


Husain, L. Logics of Government Innovation and Reform Management in China. STEPS Centre, Brighton, UK (2015) vi + 33 pp. ISBN 978-1-78118-245-1 [STEPS Working Paper 85]

Logics of Government Innovation and Reform Management in China

Published 1 January 2015