Legitimizing research, technology and innovation policies for transformative change
The recent policy debates about orientating research, technology and innovation policy towards societal challenges, rather than economic growth objectives only, call for new lines of argumentation to systematically legitimize policy interventions. While the multi-level perspective on long-term transitions has attracted quite some interest over the past years as a framework for dealing with long-term processes of transformative change, but the innovation systems approach is still the dominant perspective for devising innovation policy. Innovation systems approaches stress the importance of improving innovation capabilities of firms and the institutional settings to support them, but they are less suited for dealing with the strategic challenges of transforming systems of innovation, production and consumption, and thus with long-term challenges such as climate change or resource depletion. It is therefore suggested to consider insights from transition studies more prominently in a policy framework that is based on the innovation systems approach and the associated notion of ‘failures’. We propose a comprehensive framework that allows legitimizing and devising policies for transformative change that draws on a combination of market failures, structural system failures and transformational system failures.
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