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Innovation policy in a complexity perspective: levels and levers for policy intervention

Listed author(s):
  • Federica Rossi


  • Margherita Russo


We investigate to what extent and how the adoption of a complexity-based perspective to innovation (Lane and Maxfield, 1996, 1997, 2005; Lane et al., 2008; Read et al, 2008; Russo, 2000) can support policymakers in their quest to implement effective interventions, able to foster innovation processes and to create structures that sustain them over time. We argue that broad attempts at theorizing innovation processes do not lend themselves to a quick translation into simple ‘policy recipes’, because conceptualizing innovation as a complex multi-level process implies that it is not possible to devise context-independent ways to support it: improved theoretical understanding of innovation processes should not aim to provide policymakers with simple encompassing solutions, but it should help them formulate and address questions that are appropriate to the particular context within which they operate. In line with this approach, we present our analysis of a specific policy experiment, the ‘Technological Innovation in Tuscany’ programme (henceforth RPIA-ITT). In this context - drawing upon a dynamic interactionist theory of innovation whose main building blocks are the concepts of generative relationships, competence networks, scaffolding structures and the role of narrative in driving action in situations characterized by ontological uncertainty (Lane, Malerba, Maxfield and Orsenigo, 1996; Lane and Maxfield, 1997, 2005, 2008; Russo, 2000, 2005) – we have been able to identify methodological and analytical tools that can be applied to policy design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation activities. We conclude with some broader implications for innovation policy as well as an agenda for future research.

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Paper provided by University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi" in its series Department of Economics with number 0586.

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Length: pages 24
Date of creation: May 2008
Handle: RePEc:mod:depeco:0586
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