The Theory and Practice of Innovation Policy
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The Theory and Practice of Innovation Policy

An International Research Handbook

Edited by Ruud E. Smits, Stefan Kuhlmann and Phillip Shapira

This comprehensive Handbook explores the interactions between the practice, policy, and theory of innovation. The goal is twofold: to increase insight into this dynamic process, searching for options to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of both policy and innovative practice, and to identify conceptual or empirical lacunae and questions that can guide future research. The Handbook is a joint project from 24 prominent scholars in the field, and although each chapter reveals the insights of its respective authors, two overarching theoretical perspectives provide unique coherence and consistency throughout.
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Chapter 16: The Role of Technology Assessment in Systemic Innovation Policy

Ruud Smits, Rutger van Merkerk, David H. Guston and Daniel Sarewitz


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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