Public Procurement and Innovation

Public Procurement and Innovation

The Role of Institutions

Max Rolfstam

Max Rolfstam examines the increasing emphasis on public procurement as a means to stimulate innovation and the theoretical implications of this policy development. While ‘regular’ public procurement may be regarded as the outcome of anonymous market processes, public procurement of innovation must be understood as a special case of innovation, where social processes, and consequently the institutions governing these social processes, need to be considered. This book contributes to our understanding with a detailed institutional analysis of the public procurement of innovation.

Chapter 8: Concluding remarks

Max Rolfstam

Subjects: business and management, public management, innovation and technology, innovation policy, politics and public policy, public administration and management


Appreciating that research on public procurement of innovation has gained new momentum in the last decade this chapter contains a few reflections on what appear to be two emerging sub-fields within the general endeavour to gain new knowledge on public procurement of innovation. The assertion made is that this book positions itself in one of these streams. This is followed by a brief summary of, and subsequently some elaborations on the findings of this book. Even if these findings align well on a general level with earlier work in innovation studies drawing on institutional frameworks, they nevertheless challenge some of the existing literature devoted to public procurement as an innovation instrument. This ‘anomaly’ is explained. A discussion on innovation policy concludes the chapter. There are two discernible approaches to research on public procurement of innovation. The one that has attracted most attention deals profoundly with the policy level and in particular the development of the demand- side argument, and is closely associated with the arguments related to the promotion of lead markets. One important recent example of this approach is Edler and Georghiou’s research policy article from 2007. There is also other work that resides on the same conceptual level (Cave and Frinking, 2003; Rolfstam, 2005; Hommen and Rolfstam, 2009; Lember et al., 2010; Myoken, 2010).

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