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Public research organizations (hereinafter, PROs) are a type of knowledge organization with a strong emphasis on contributions by scientists. Although the value of PROs has seldom been questioned, their characteristics and functioning as well as the appropriate amount of funds to be supplied have received considerable attention in the media and from the scientific community. As in the case of other public services, PROs are subject to increasingly severe scrutiny and pressure for accountability forcing them to shift away from their traditional, bureaucratic type of organization. However, there are also limits to the restructuring of PROs guided by private sector models. Radical administrative change is not likely to occur within the boundaries of a formal scientific organization with its restricting rigidities and bureaucracies. Hence, organizational renewal of science organizations is a complex phenomenon of growing relevance. Recent developments in the study of organizational renewal have revealed the potential of organizational innovations for the design and improvement of internal processes and values. This longitudinal study of the evolution of a research center that is part of Spanish CSIC provides insight into the design and implementation of organizational innovations to drive strategic organizational shift from bureaucracy to collaborative and postbureaucracy, in an attempt to overcome external demands and promote higher organizational and financial diversification. The paper shows that innovations in work design and values may facilitate organizational change in, otherwise, highly rigid work settings. Innovation studies have traditionally been linked with technological change, usually related to manufacturing activities, and until recently, organizational innovation has received little systematic attention. This study offers insight into how certain management practices borrowed from private firms can be adopted in public research organizations, setting the base for developing a collaborative organization in science. We conclude that as contribution grows more complex, as it depends on collective endeavor to engage in more interdisciplinary undertakings, the search for alternative models of organization becomes critical for public services of this kind.