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Coping with Societal Challenges: Lessons for Innovation Policy Governance

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  • Jan Fagerberg

    (University of Oslo
    UNU-MERIT)

  • Gernot Hutschenreiter

    (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation)

Abstract

Grand societal challenges, such as global warming, can only be adequately dealt with through wide-ranging changes in technology, production and consumption, and ways of life, that is, through innovation. Furthermore, change will involve a variety of sectors or parts of the economy and society, and these change processes must be sufficiently consistent in order to achieve the desired results. This poses huge challenges for policy-making. In this paper, we focus on implications for the governance of innovation policy, i.e., policies influencing a country’s innovation performance. Based on a systemic understanding of innovation and the factors shaping it, the paper highlights the need for effective coordination of policies influencing innovation and what changes in innovation policy governance this may require. To throw further light on how this may be realized, the paper discusses evidence on national innovation policy practice, from Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden, respectively, drawing on the country reviews of innovation policy conducted by the OECD as well as other sources. It is concluded that, for innovation policy to tackle societal challenges effectively, clearer goals and stronger and better coordination among the various actors—both public and private—whose actions matter for innovation performance will be required. Based on the experiences of the three countries, the paper particularly considers the role that comprehensive and inclusive innovation policy councils, with the prime minister in a central role, may play in such a process.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Fagerberg & Gernot Hutschenreiter, 2020. "Coping with Societal Challenges: Lessons for Innovation Policy Governance," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 279-305, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jincot:v:20:y:2020:i:2:d:10.1007_s10842-019-00332-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s10842-019-00332-1
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    Cited by:

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    2. Jan Fagerberg, 2021. "Mobilizing innovation for the global green shift: The case for demand-oriented innovation policy," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20210422, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    3. Jan Fagerberg & Erika Kraemer-Mbula & Edward Lorenz, 2021. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Transformative Change in LDCs: the cases of Kenya and Rwanda," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20210623, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.

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