Leadership and Innovation in Subnational Government takes stock of promising innovations that began to appear in local government across the region of Latin America and the Caribbean during the 1990s. The purpose of this work—in contrast to many reports which document best practice—is to deepen our understanding of the genesis and evolution of change as local leaders cope with the challenges of governing in decentralized democracies. One of the most striking features exhibited by the cases in this volume is that local authorities have been change makers often without help from outside, from national or international agencies. The authors, Tim Campbell and Harald Fuhr, call these local enterprising risk takers an "engine of change." Twenty specific cases of innovation have been documented in the study covering the core business areas of cities—finance, popular participation, service delivery, privatization, and personnel management. The book aims to show, in policy and practice, how to sustain this engine of change.
One of the central messages of this work is that by supporting key steps in the process of innovation, donors can enjoy cost-effective impacts and help to achieve the next stages of reform in the region. But to do so, donors must focus on management and learning at the local level, building on the foundations of broad participation in public choice and working more actively to help local actors learn from each other.