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Transformative policies for sustainable innovation systems

Bengt-Åke Lundvall ()

No 239, Lund Papers in Economic History from Lund University, Department of Economic History

Abstract: In this paper, we criticize attempts to present narrow perspectives on innovation policy as reflecting the use of the concept innovation system as policy framing. While it is correct that innovation policy, at least until recently, has given priority to economic growth and low priority to global challenges such as climate change and income inequality this is in no way immanent in the innovation system concept. To illustrate, we introduce concepts and perspectives related to the innovation system approach which are particularly useful, when it comes to develop innovation policies aiming at system transformation. They include the uneven rhythm of respectively incremental innovation, radical innovation, and technological revolutions, shifts in technological paradigms, system transformation at the organisational level and the distinction between policies aiming at path dependent innovation promotion and policies aiming at system change. We also point to the usefulness of the learning economy perspective that has been developed in close connection with the innovation system literature. We conclude that there is a need to combine different theoretical framings as inspiration for transformative innovation policy. In addition, we argue, first, that all these framings need to have a double focus on climate change and global income inequality and, second, that they all need to go beyond national perspectives and consider policies aiming at system transformation at the global level.

Keywords: Innovation system; Transformative innovation policy; Learning economy; Global governance; Climate change; Income inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N70 O30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 24 pages
Date: 2022-07-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env, nep-ino and nep-tid
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