The five questions for innovation and entrepreneurship policymakers that we’ll tackle at IGL2018

Every year we invest lots of time to understand what some of the pressing questions are that policymakers working on innovation and entrepreneurship have on their radar.

We meet with our colleagues, we consult our partners and we engage with our networks in order to identify key challenges and the people at the forefront of addressing them.

Why do we do that? To bring all of them together at the annual IGL global conference, this year taking place at MIT and HBS on 12-14 June.

So here are some of the questions that we will be discussing this year, we hope also with you in the room.

Declining productivity and increasing inequality are important challenges everywhere. Artificial intelligence may solve the former, but worsen the latter. So it’s important to come up with solutions that tackle both of them, in the short term and the long term. At IGL2018 we’ll hear about what’s broken in the “productivity machine” and discuss how to to repair it, showcasing, among others, practical examples of interventions to increase technology diffusion among SMEs. We will also look at the long term, at how changing our education systems to increase innovation skills for everyone (rather than only for the few) could be more impactful than any other policy, and ways to do that in practice.
Cities have put forward a range of initiatives to develop vibrant startup ecosystems. Attracting and nurturing talent, supporting networks and connections, creating new opportunities with city challenges, or unlocking funding are just a few examples. IGL2018 will showcase some of the most novel initiatives from around the world, and the impact they are having on their local ecosystems. We will also discuss some of the practicalities of running them, with leaders of Barcelona’s and Medellin’s innovation districts among others.
Innovation is becoming more collaborative, with businesses increasingly partnering with other businesses and universities to develop new innovations. Yet there is overwhelming agreement that we are missing out on valuable opportunities. How can we fix that? At IGL2018 we’ll discuss solutions to increase technology transfer with the directors of the tech transfer offices at MIT and Harvard University; unlock business-to-business collaborations with the CEO of Topcoder and the director for open innovation at GE; and develop new public-private partnerships drawing on NASA’s experience setting up innovation collaborations with organisations from around the world.
Making sure our policies deliver the most bang for the buck with the limited taxpayer funding available is a priority, as is being able to demonstrate impact to those responsible for budget decisions. One way to do that is become experimental, so at IGL2018 we will learn how different governments around the world are embracing policy experimentation to test small tweaks and/or big changes in their programmes, and the benefits they derive from that. Execution is also key. Getting the details of the implementation right can make the difference between a successful or failed policy. So we will discuss how agencies around the world have been adapting their approaches, skills and capabilities. We will learn how to replicate successful programmes (such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program from the person leading it), and also what we can learn from sharing our failures (not only our successes).
Innovation and entrepreneurship policies are not as innovative and entrepreneurial as they should be. We may use different words and concepts compared to 20 years ago, but the actual instruments and tools that we use are, with some exceptions, remarkably similar. So at IGL2018 we’ll be looking at some of the most recent policy ideas and hear from the people who are leading on them. Among others, we’ll discuss mission-driven challenge-based policies, testbeds and anticipatory regulation, as well as novel approaches to designing better policy, such as using big data, simulation and policy experiments

Join us at the IGL2018 conference in Boston to learn about new ideas

Building on the success of last year’s IGL2017 conference, when we brought together 250 senior policymakers, practitioners and researchers from over 30 countries to discuss new policy ideas and the latest policy experiments, this year the IGL conference is heading to Boston, in partnership with Nesta, the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard, J-PAL, the Kauffman Foundation, the World Bank, and the Sloan Foundation.

Taking place on 12-14 June at HBS and MIT, IGL2018 will explore future innovation, entrepreneurship and small business policies with over 50 world-leading experts.

With 10 keynotes and panel discussions and over 13 practical sessions and workshops, IGL2018 will be an opportunity to:

  • Join a global community of delegates at the forefront of innovation, with confirmed participants from 20 countries;
  • Learn about the next generation of innovation, entrepreneurship and small business policies;
  • Find out about the latest evidence and policy experiments;
  • Take part in capacity-building workshops on new policy tools and methods, led by organisations such as NASA, Harvard Catalyst, the US Small Business Administration and the World Bank, among others.

We hope to see you there, but if you cannot make it, don’t forget to sign up to the IGL newsletter to learn about what was discussed then and find out about the new policy ideas to come.

This blog was originally posted on the IGL website on 23 May 2018. Read the original post here.


Albert Bravo-Biosca

Albert Bravo-Biosca

Albert Bravo-Biosca

Director, Innovation Growth Lab

Albert is Director of the Innovation Growth Lab.

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