Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research

No 2024/1: Innovation policy as an instrument for driving transformation – lessons from practice

Sofia Avdeitchikova () and Sylvia Schwaag Serger ()
Additional contact information
Sofia Avdeitchikova: Lund University, Postal: Sweden
Sylvia Schwaag Serger: Lund University, Postal: Sweden

Abstract: In recent years, countries, regions, municipalities and the EU Commission have introduced a significant number of innovation policy initiatives under the banner of ‘missions’, ‘societal challenges’, sustainability and ‘transformation’, or systemic change. In parallel, there has been a rapidly growing body of literature seeking to analyze or assess these real-world manifestations of attempts to pivot innovation policy towards environmental and societal challenges. The aim of this chapter is to provide a reflexive overview of state of the art of the knowledge on transformative innovation policy design and implementation. To contribute real-world, real-time learning for planned or ongoing policymaking, we also synthesize lessons and insights from recent policy initiatives in Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands, with the purpose of distilling them into policy-relevant observations. Based on these, we draw conclusions on what recent experiences from trying to design and implement transformative innovation policies in the respective national and institutional contexts tell us about the role of innovation policy, and implicitly, the role of the state, in driving transformation.

Keywords: innovation policy; transformation; societal challenges; public policy

JEL-codes: H11; I28; O33; O38

Language: English

25 pages, January 7, 2024

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