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Can National Innovation Systems of the New EU Member-States be Improved?

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Information about Can National Innovation Systems of the New EU Member-States be Improved?

Published on October 7, 2007

Author: go.growth

Source: slideshare.net

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Dr David Dyker, Science and Technology Policy Research Unit - University of Sussex, UK, Towards Lisbon 2.1, September 28, 2007, Ljubljana
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Can the National Innovation Systems of the New EU Member-States be Improved? David A.Dyker, SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex

What is a National Innovation System? The narrow definition covers only ‘organisations and institutions involved in searching and exploring – such as R&D departments, technological institutes and universities’. The broad definition covers ‘parts and aspects of the economic structure and the institutional set-up affecting learning as well as searching and adapting’ (Lundvall)

The narrow definition covers only ‘organisations and institutions involved in searching and exploring – such as R&D departments, technological institutes and universities’. The broad definition covers ‘parts and aspects of the economic structure and the institutional set-up affecting learning as well as searching and adapting’ (Lundvall)

For catch-up countries, the broader concept of national innovation system leads straight into the notion of ‘national learning system’ (Viotti), which stresses adaptation to local conditions, product/process improvement and systematic search for outside knowledge and skills, but also in-house R&D, science and technology links and shop-floor experimentation.

For catch-up countries, the broader concept of national innovation system leads straight into the notion of ‘national learning system’ (Viotti), which stresses adaptation to local conditions, product/process improvement and systematic search for outside knowledge and skills, but also in-house R&D, science and technology links and shop-floor experimentation.

The implication is that for catch-up countries in particular, effective technology policy, and therefore an effective national innovation system, needs to focus on the assimilation and application of key generic technologies in all sectors of the economy. ‘Current decision-taking too often boxes developments in,say, ICTs into the electronics industries, overlooking the massive scope for applications (mediated by software developments) across a wide range of industries and especially service activities; parallel issues arise in relation to biotechnology etc. ‘(von Tunzelmann)

The implication is that for catch-up countries in particular, effective technology policy, and therefore an effective national innovation system, needs to focus on the assimilation and application of key generic technologies in all sectors of the economy. ‘Current decision-taking too often boxes developments in,say, ICTs into the electronics industries, overlooking the massive scope for applications (mediated by software developments) across a wide range of industries and especially service activities; parallel issues arise in relation to biotechnology etc. ‘(von Tunzelmann)

For catch-up economies some of the strategic guesswork is taken out of the task of ‘envisioning’ future technological-industrial development processes to the extent that they can imitate the existing experience of the advanced countries. ‘But the forces of global competition and innovation dictate that ‘pure’ imitation is not enough, and that new areas of application of emerging technologies need to be tracked in catch-up as well as leader countries.’ (von Tunzelmann)

For catch-up economies some of the strategic guesswork is taken out of the task of ‘envisioning’ future technological-industrial development processes to the extent that they can imitate the existing experience of the advanced countries. ‘But the forces of global competition and innovation dictate that ‘pure’ imitation is not enough, and that new areas of application of emerging technologies need to be tracked in catch-up as well as leader countries.’ (von Tunzelmann)

The implications of all this are: Catch-up countries cannot get away from the need for some kind of technology foresight activity. Catch-up countries cannot do without R&D institutions and scientific laboratories The focus of the national innovation system must ultimately be on the private sector, and on its interactions with the other parts of the institutional landscape, because it is the private sector that drives forward technological-industrial development processes.

The implications of all this are:

Catch-up countries cannot get away from the need for some kind of technology foresight activity.

Catch-up countries cannot do without R&D institutions and scientific laboratories

The focus of the national innovation system must ultimately be on the private sector, and on its interactions with the other parts of the institutional landscape, because it is the private sector that drives forward technological-industrial development processes.

Back to national innovation systems In most of the new member-states all the elements of the NIS are present. But they do not hang together properly, they do not interact, even in the most advanced of these countries. The inevitable result is that innovation does not operate in the new member-states as an engine of growth in the way that aggregate growth analysis would suggest it should. This must ultimately pose the question of limits to the process of growth and development which might stop the transition economies well before the point of catch-up with Western Europe.

In most of the new member-states all the elements of the NIS are present. But they do not hang together properly, they do not interact, even in the most advanced of these countries. The inevitable result is that innovation does not operate in the new member-states as an engine of growth in the way that aggregate growth analysis would suggest it should. This must ultimately pose the question of limits to the process of growth and development which might stop the transition economies well before the point of catch-up with Western Europe.

There is no simple solution to the problem. Foreign models offer all the components of the NIS, but, as we have seen, the components are not the problem. Pressures from technology users are a sure way of improving the performance of public and public/private institutions of the NIS, but increases in technology demand cannot simply be manufactured by government. On the other hand, only government can build the kind of technology-diffusing and competence-building infrastructure which will ultimately generate technology demand.

There is no simple solution to the problem. Foreign models offer all the components of the NIS, but, as we have seen, the components are not the problem. Pressures from technology users are a sure way of improving the performance of public and public/private institutions of the NIS, but increases in technology demand cannot simply be manufactured by government. On the other hand, only government can build the kind of technology-diffusing and competence-building infrastructure which will ultimately generate technology demand.

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