Mapping National Innovation Ecosystems

Mapping National Innovation Ecosystems

Foundations for Policy Consensus

Amnon Frenkel and Shlomo Maital

Increasingly, researchers and policymakers alike recognize that innovations are generated by complex and dynamic national ecosystems that include government, industry, universities and schools. Because these systems differ by country and are strongly influenced by culture, effective policy and research strategies require a systems approach, in which policy consensus is built on a clear understanding of how each nation’s innovation ecosystem functions. Scholars and students of innovation and management will find this book an invaluable resource, as will innovation policymakers across the world.

Chapter 10: The Singaporean national innovation ecosystem

Amnon Frenkel and Shlomo Maital

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, economics and finance, economics of innovation, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, innovation policy


In this chapter, we present Singapore’s innovation ecosystem. Singapore is almost unique, in the manner in which it rose from a small embattled nation in 1965, when it became independent from Malaysia, to a wealthy modern industrialized nation in 2013. We begin first by recounting some of Singapore’s history, without which its success is difficult to comprehend. We then describe briefly Singapore’s economy and its global competitiveness. Next, we survey Singapore’s economic freedom, which contrasts rather starkly with its limited political democracy. Singapore’s remarkable ease of doing business is presented next, suggesting that other nations would do well to benchmark Singapore’s success in eliminating needless bureaucratic red tape. We then provide data on Singapore’s innovation and entrepreneurship, relative to other globally competitive nations. The next section presents Singapore innovation ecosystem – as always, first listing the key anchors and key processes, then providing the results of a detailed factor analysis of the processes, and finally, using the factor analysis to construct the innovation ecosystem and discuss its implications. Several case studies of innovative Singaporean companies follow, including Singapore Airlines, Starhome and Creative. The chapter closes with a summary of the main findings.

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