An International Research Handbook
PRIME Series on Research and Innovation Policy in Europe
Edited by Ruud E. Smits, Stefan Kuhlmann and Phillip Shapira
Chapter 16: The Role of Technology Assessment in Systemic Innovation Policy
Ruud Smits, Rutger van Merkerk, David H. Guston and Daniel Sarewitz INTRODUCTION This book conceives of innovation as a non-linear, multi-level, and multi-actor game with many interactions or feedbacks among those actors. We assume that innovation theory, practice, and intervention develop by interactions among the worlds of science, policy, and practice (see Chapter 17 by Smits, Kuhlmann and Teubel in this book). According to this view, we can no longer see innovation as a given thing - as an invention. Instead, innovation is a systemic process involving a heterogeneous set of actors who are inspired by both the potential that science and technology offer and by the context in which they have to function. These actors are involved in a complex decisionmaking process that leads to innovative activity. In this chapter, we will examine an important consequence of this shared conception: the need of actors for information that enables them to engage in innovative activities in an adequate and effective way. We call this information Strategic Intelligence (SI), and actors involved in innovation require it to develop their visions, strategies, and plans of action. Apart from this 'instrumental' role, SI helps to reflect on the development, interaction and effectiveness of innovation theory, practice, and intervention. By this, SI provides an important input in the further development of these three concepts. There are many types of strategic intelligence (Kuhlmann et al. 1999; Tiibke ~t al. 2002). In this chapter we will focus on one particular strand: technology assessment (TA). TA emerged...
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