The complexity and uncertainty that increasingly characterize public issues in contemporary societies indicate the relevance of public innovation, which designates a collection of approaches for exploring, testing and validating new ideas that create added value for society. Despite its relevance, studies are still needed to go further in analyzing the literature built on the subject, and to identify new research agendas that can generate inputs to translate theories into practice. Hence, the purpose of this article is to analyze the concept of public innovation and establish a future research agenda about the topic, on the basis of a systematic literature review of documents published between 2004 and 2018 in the Web of Science® multi-disciplinary database. For this purpose, the data mining software Vantage Point® and the qualitative analysis software MAXQDA® were used to study 148 documents. The results show the need to deepen the construction of public innovation theory from the perspective of the actors who interact in its dynamics. Finally, from the methodological perspective, it was found relevant to study the topic using a triangulation of methods, and through developing longitudinal and comparative studies, in order to understand the conditioning factors and results of the network collaboration exercises implicit in public innovation processes.