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 17: A System-Evolutionary Approach for Innovation Policy

Ruud Smits, Stefan Kuhlmann and Morris Teubal


Ruud Smits, Stefan Kuhlmann and Morris Teubal l INTRODUCTION A leading question addressed in this book is how to improve public policy, using insights from innovation studies and theory as wdl as from innovation practice and innovation policy. Innovation in this book is seen as a dynamic interactive process taking place in heterogeneous, more or less interconnected arenas with many heterogeneous actors, cutting across various levels of societal organisation. To explore this complex dynamic we adopt the innovation systems (IS) approach as a starting heuristic and assume - in line with the leitmotif of this book - that practice, policy and theory develop by mutual interactions. Three major conclusions from the foregoing chapters are central to the discussion in this chapter: • Although innovation studies made advances over the last two decades, the prevailing IS approach has some major flaws. Ihe concept is still disposing a too static character: there is a lack of adequate bridges between the system level and individual actors. Also the implications for advancing theory and for policy designs are still limited. Until now scholars in innovation studies did not pay sufficient attention to innovation policy as an object of research. Phrased differently, policy is considered as a trivial application of 'other' knowledge but not a field of knowledge in itself (Teubal2oo2). This explains why researchers tend to not fully investigate the implications of the results of their work for policy. Partly as a consequence of this lack of theoretical interest (and partly as a result of...

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