Abstract: Big data, artificial intelligence, and mobile Internet as the representative of emerging technologies are profoundly influencing social patterns and government behaviors. Digital technology with typical characteristics such as network, intelligence and mobility constantly drives service innovation and provides effective technical support for public service innovation. In the context of digital transformation, digital technology empowers public services by data sharing,business collaboration and system collaboration, promotes the innovation of public services from several dimensions including power mechanism, supply mode, service mode and service content, realizes the refinement and effectiveness of services, and even changes the underlying logic of public services. How to leverage digital technology to promote public service innovation under the background of digital transformation to realize the modernization of national governance system and governance capacity has become an important issue at present.Based on the development trend of public service innovation and relevant theory of public governance, this study proposes an analytical framework of“ polycentric-collaborative governance ”. Through the comparative study of public service innovation practices in Hangzhou, Guiyang and Guangzhou, it is found that: Firstly, digital technology provides a more inclusive governance structure for public service innovation and enriches its governance mode. Secondly, the mechanism of“polycentric-collaborative governance”promotes the self-drive of public service innovation, and the key is the division mechanism and the collaboration mechanism. Thirdly, the key for local governments to realize public service innovation is to identify its core advantages and co-create public value through matching different combinations in terms of subject synergy and subject pluralism. Forth, based on different core elements, digital innovation models of public services include government led-emergency development, government sponsored-industry driven, enterprise led-platform supply. Lastly, different types of polycentric governance would affect the regional realization path of public service innovation, and the homogeneity and heterogeneity of collaborative subjects are important factors to affect the polycentric governance mode. In short, this study opens the“ black box ”of governance mode selection and path realization of public service innovation in the context of digital transformation from the theoretical and practical perspectives.This article has preliminarily constructed the theoretical framework of“polycentric-collaborative governance”, which is a beginning of the research on public service innovation under the background of digital transformation. There are still many problems to be further explored. Firstly, the internal logic of the two theories needs to be further analyzed in order to achieve better self-consistency and balance in the whole analytical framework. Secondly, this paper makes a holistic analysis of the labor mechanism and collaborative mechanism in the self-driven process of public service innovation, and has not yet analyzed the role evolution process of different actors in stages. Thirdly, based on the cases of public service innovation in Hangzhou, Guiyang and Guangzhou, this paper applies the grounded theory to analyze, and the research conclusions may have certain limitations. Therefore, whether the self-driven mechanism and implementation path of public service innovation obtained in this study are universal, and its applicability and effect sustainability in different regions need to be further demonstrated. Fourth, as public service innovation in the digital transformation scenario, researchers can accumulate more material for vertical depth of case analysis. At the same time, researchers also can combine the quantitative analysis to adjust the proposed model, further put forward governance mode and implementation path together which embedded in the institutional environment and governance practices of China.
Key words: public service innovation; collaborative governance; polycentric governance; digital transformation; public value