The role of ambassadors in collaborative innovation projects: from resistance to trust
This paper is particularly concerned with the role that health professionals can have in collaborative innovation projects in the public sector. More specifically, the aim of this paper is to explore how health professionals can become the ‘game changers’ of a collaborative innovation project that involves mutually dependent stakeholders. The paper draws upon public management literature combined with empirical observations from the DIDEC (Digital Innovation for Dementia Care) project aimed at developing innovative products and services in the field of dementia care. Based on the findings achieved through interventionist research conducted over a period of three and half years, this paper shows how collaborative innovation projects, that are managed well and producing good results, can overcome the resistance displayed by health professionals. In a time of projectification, the paper contributes with new knowledge about how the conflicts arising in collaborative innovation projects in the public sector can be dealt with by empowering personnel in the role as ambassadors. Findings from the study show how project management practices enabled health professionals to act as an
important link between the personnel and the project leaders as well as other stakeholders involved in the innovation project.