Policies for Innovation

Wire Chair SeriesThe June 2015 meeting of the OECD Ministerial Council held in Paris has led to the OECD Innovation Strategy 2015 An Agenda for Policy Action. This strategy highlights the key role governments can play “in fostering a sound environment for innovation, in investing in the foundations for innovation, in helping overcome certain barriers to innovation, and in ensuring that innovation contributes to key goals of public policy”.

It describes how innovation thrives in an environment characterised by:

  • A skilled workforce that can generate new ideas and technologies, bring them to the market and implement them in the workplace, and that is able to adapt to technological and structural changes across society.
  • A sound business environment that encourages investment in technology and in knowledge-based capital, that enables innovative firms to experiment with new ideas, technologies and business models, and that helps them to grow, increase their market share and reach scale.
  • A strong and efficient system for knowledge creation and diffusion, that invests in the systematic pursuit of fundamental knowledge, and that diffuses this knowledge throughout society through a range of mechanisms, including human resources, technology transfer and the establishment of knowledge markets.
  • Policies that encourage innovation and entrepreneurial activity. More specific innovation policies are often needed to tackle a range of barriers to innovation. Many of these actions include policies at the regional or local level.
  • A strong focus on governance and implementation. The impact of policies for innovation depends heavily on their governance and implementation, including the trust in government action and the commitment to learn from experience.

The Innovation Policy Platform describes how policy “rationales, objectives, and instruments define the nature of public intervention in support of innovation. The larger number of policy instruments used, the greater variety of objectives pursued, and the wider number of actors involved in innovation policy have increased the complexity of its policy landscape and enhanced risks of inconsistencies and redundancies between policies and programs. Seeking coherence and balance in the set of policies that affect innovative entrepreneurship, co-ordinating with the actors involved in these policies, measuring and evaluating policies consequently have become increasingly important issues”.

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