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  • Series: Eu-SPRI Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy series x
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Edited by Stefan Kuhlmann and Gonzalo Ordóñez-Matamoros

Although in recent years some emerging economies have improved their performance in terms of R & D investment, outputs and innovative capacity, these countries are still blighted by extreme poverty, inequality and social exclusion. Hence, emerging countries are exposed to conditions which differ quite substantially from the dominant OECD model of innovation policy for development and welfare. This Research Handbook contributes to the debate by looking at how innovation theory, policy and practice interact, and explains different types of configurations in countries that are characterized by two contrasting but mutually reinforcing features: systemic failure and resourcefulness. Focusing on innovation governance and public policies, it aims to understand related governance failures and to explore options for alternative, more efficient approaches.
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Abdelkader Djeflat

In many developing countries, innovation dynamics is confronted with a very specific environment characterized by the rise of very small enterprises and small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) with little experience in the fields of R & D, relatively weak industrial performance in terms of productivity, and high levels of obsolescence in terms of both human resources and equipment. This is partly the result of a long-lasting deindustrialization phenomenon. While the approach in terms of national systems of innovation (NSIs) attracts a great deal of attention from policymakers and researchers, several attempts to trigger innovation through this approach have failed, mostly as a result of a poor understanding of how innovation systems emerge in non-catch-up countries. The emerging innovation systems (EIS) approach proposed in this chapter rests on the premise that innovation takes off in a variety of ways, needing both strong policy impulses from government and adequate market dynamics. The chapter addresses the fundamental question of how innovation emergence takes place in late-industrializing countries such as the North African countries, in terms of both policies and conceptual framework, and draws heavily from the Algerian experience.

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Cristina Chaminade and Ramón Padilla-Pérez

This chapter aims at discussing the main challenges of designing and implementing science, technology and innovation (STI) policies in developing countries. In particular, it addresses the problems of: a) aligning STI policies with the national economic development agenda, as well as coordinating STI policies among different ministries and other public organizations, and among diverse government levels (horizontal alignment); and b) aligning rationales, objectives, instruments and specific problems of the system (vertical alignment). In addition, the main barriers for designing and implementing STI policies are examined. The chapter combines theory and concepts with examples of STI policy design and implementation in Asian and Latin American countries to illustrate the arguments. The analysis of STI policies as innovation system policies suggests that developing countries need policies that are comprehensive, evidence based, long-term and aligned.

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Gabriela Dutrénit and Martín Puchet

The analytical framework used for science, technology and innovation (STI) public policy design worldwide is largely based on a systemic/evolutionary approach and, empirically, it is based on countries with specific initial conditions – the central economies and some successful Asian economies. These countries have specific trajectories of institutional building, political culture and STI capabilities, which shape their national innovation systems (NIS). A central issue in understanding the trajectories and the chances of success or failure of policies emanating from these models, and variants that aim to adapt to developing economies, is to analytically conceive the role of the institutional framework, the rules of the game in operation in the system, the governance at national, sectoral and regional levels, and some aspects of the political economy in the recipients’ countries. These affect the STI practice and policy, contribute to feeding tensions that militate against the building of a sustainable NIS, and are country specific. The aim of this chapter is to discuss the experience of STI policy making in Mexico, considering the international model and the interaction between the trajectory of institutional building, the process of construction of both the government and the governance of the NSI, and the political economy. This chapter argues that a set of rules and actions are formed and built from the STI practice; they allow or block actions in governance processes. The data used to inform our arguments are based on the STI laws and regulations, transcripts of board meetings and interviews with key agents of the NSI.

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Mónica Salazar

Since 2009, there have been several profound transformations of the Colombian National System of Science, Technology and Innovation, such as a new law for science, technology and innovation (STI) and a new STI fund, whose resources come from royalties from the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources. These changes present opportunities, challenges and threats to Colciencias, the Colombian government agency in charge of research and innovation funding and promotion. Certainly, the 10 per cent of royalties for STI activities and the creation of iNNpulsa – a new government agency promoting innovation and entrepreneurship – can be seen as both opportunities and threats. The royalties certainly are a major driver of change, since they have come with new rules and funding mechanisms, and these resources are much greater than Colciencias’s budget. Many questions arise: Will the governance of Colciencias and the system be affected? How? Will Colciencias be able to learn from the past, or will it fail to adapt to new circumstances? This chapter tries to answer these questions after presenting the governance practices developed by Colciencias over its 45 years of existence.

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Allison Loconto and Emmanuel Simbua

The foundation of recent science, technology and innovation (STI) policy in Tanzania lay in providing the ‘proper’ conditions for encouraging investment in agriculture. The authors argue that imagining activities in tea research as ‘tinkering’ helps to explain the learning processes and gaps in STI policy. Detailing how the tea industry tinkers with investment in the sector in a process of learning by using, how international networks influence formal learning, and how learning by interacting produces incremental innovations in practice demonstrates this point. Drawing on Kuhlmann et al.’s (2010) three dances, the authors show that there is a dominance of theory, but not a dominance of theoretically driven results. Rather, the actors are tinkering with the opportunities at their disposal to create spaces for progress on policy indicators that do not always align with the theory that drives them. As a result, the authors see a government failure where the practices of technology adoption and innovation are not taken up in systematic ways. However, they argue that it is more appropriate to speak of tensions, rather than failures, as the situation also provides opportunities. By drawing upon insights from the notion of tinkering, the authors contribute to the critiques of STI policy that are raised within Tanzania.

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Rodrigo Arocena and Judith Sutz

A quite widespread dissatisfaction with the contributions of science, technology and innovation to development and to confronting inequality is analysed. Some strategies for improving such contributions are considered. One of them aims indirectly at social inclusion via fostering economic competitiveness and job creation. Other strategies aim to connect innovation directly with social inclusion, mainly by fostering innovations made not only for but by the marginalized people themselves. It is argued that both strategies are needed but that they should be complemented by another one aiming to connect directly high-level science and technology with social policies. This is characterized as a type of knowledge democratization. The potential contribution of universities to the last strategy is discussed and exemplified.

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Jaap Voeten

Innovation is increasingly acknowledged as essential for economic growth in developing countries. However, do current formal science, technology and innovation (STI)-based policy approaches involve the right assumptions and provide the appropriate models for such contexts? In some places the informal institutions play an important role in exerting the functions of an innovation system as well. Empirical evidence from small business clusters in northern Vietnam show how informal institutions provide an enabling environment for innovation. The evidence suggests a more complementary role for innovation policy in supporting the informal institutional context, rather than overruling or replacing it by formal STI institutions. Moreover, the innovation manifestations in the research cases implied negative environmental and social externalities. The proposed concept of ‘inclusive innovation’, modelled as a societal process, refers to small producers initiating and owning the innovation process, appropriating the created value and acknowledging responsibility for the negative externalities. The study suggests that policy for ‘inclusive innovation’ in the context of these small producers’ clusters should focus on facilitating the dynamics of the societal process by monitoring and safeguarding the quality of the societal process.

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Pablo Catalán

To address the so-called water supply and sanitation (WSS) crisis is a global responsibility. Nowadays, 663 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion still use unimproved sanitation facilities. The want of hygiene and sanitary conditions for such a large population is resulting in devastating health, social and economic costs, particularly for women and children. Therefore the quest for WSS solutions is of high priority. Scholars have noticed that currently the problem-solving process is not responding to a fruitful collaboration paradigm. There is a gap to bridge between highly skilled professionals and policymakers in the wealthiest nations, and end users in the developing world, where most of those in need live. That is how the innovations provided thus far, though confronting complex problems, are not always well suited to the actual requirements of end users. The chapter explores the dynamics of the establishment of rural community-based innovation systems in order to understand patterns of interaction and learning leading to sustainable WSS solutions. Case studies in three rural communities in Costa Rica regarding two public WSS programmes confirm that communitarian leadership, skills and sense of ownership are the factors mostly driving local WSS innovation.

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Hernán Thomas, Lucas Becerra, Mariano Fressoli, Santiago Garrido and Paula Juarez

The relationship between technology, innovation and social inclusion has recently acquired new relevance in social development forums and institutions. Nowadays it is possible to find a diversity of new concepts, approaches and initiatives of inclusive innovation. However, it is not clear how to avoid the failures of previous experiences in the development of technology for social inclusion. Two kinds of common failures in Latin America can be identified as theoretical and policy failures. The former is mainly based on the use of linear models of innovation and old technology transfer conceptions that tend to reduce poverty and social exclusion to a technical problem. The latter is associated with this problem but also adds the difficulties of lack of human resources, discontinuity of funding, and inability of social development institutions to conceive or sustain long-term strategies based on learning improvements. The chapter works on cases from Argentina in the areas of social housing, renewal energy and food production in order to understand: 1) what kinds of theoretical problems practitioners face; 2) how practitioners recognize the limitations and failures of their approaches and policies; and 3) what kinds of strategies practitioners attempt to implement to overcome these emerging issues.