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Uncovering the innovation policy challenges faced by Pacific Alliance countries

Last year, Nesta was commissioned by Innovate UK to carry out a scoping study of the capacity building and development needs of policymakers involved in the design and implementation of innovation policy in the four countries of the Pacific Alliance: Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

To develop a successful capacity building programme tailored to Pacific Alliance policymakers’ needs, we needed a much clearer picture of who these innovation policymakers are, and a way of quantifying them, uncovering the main challenges to the national innovation systems, and understanding if any of these challenges are shared across the national systems.

We identified three important common challenges, that would need to inform the design of a training programme for Pacific Alliance innovation policymakers:

  • Senior innovation policymakers are used to international study visits, but it seldom results in changes to their organisation or day-to-day activities;
  • These policymakers are time-poor and could only commit to taking part in short and practical programmes, that can directly help them achieve their own work objectives and performance indicators;
  • Each of the four national innovation system has been experiencing coordination and collaboration issues between its respective agencies and ministries who are collectively responsible for the development and improvement of the national innovation system.

This scoping study has been the genesis to our Global Innovation Policy Accelerator, a training programme we are currently designing for senior innovation policymakers in the four countries of the Pacific Alliance.

To try to tackle some of the challenges our study highlighted, we came up with a set of guiding design principles:

  • Bringing together the best of what the UK system has to offer and matching it with in-country capability: we lead a strong consortium of UK partners, including the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester, as well as learning design specialist 100%Open, plus tailor the programme to national needs through coordination with Fundacion Idea in Mexico, C230 Consultores in Colombia, and Fundación Chile in Chile.
  • Action-focus and integrated: we will convene national cohorts of five to six policy leaders from different agencies of each of the four countries, and support them in selecting a national priority to work on throughout the programme. A parallel experimental programme, targeting more junior innovation policy implementers, will ensure lessons resulting from the leaders programme are embedded into the systems.
  • Building peer networks and collaborative problem-solving capabilities: we want to increase strategic and decision-making level collaborations between the UK and the countries of the Pacific Alliance, while encouraging peer learning and experience sharing between innovation leaders across the region.

The scoping study includes institutional maps of the innovation agencies of the four Pacific Alliance countries, including: their role and remit, assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of the national innovation systems, and indications of national priority areas from our empirical research work with key stakeholders across the system.

An example of the Chilean institutional map:

Institutional map of the innovation system in Chile

Institutional map of the innovation system in Chile

Author

Kirsten Bound

Kirsten Bound

Kirsten Bound

Executive Director of Research, Analysis and Policy

Kirsten is an Executive Director at Nesta and leads Nesta’s Research, Analysis and Policy team.

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Benjamin Reid

Benjamin Reid

Benjamin Reid

Head of International Innovation - Development Programmes

Benjamin is head of the International Innovation team within Nesta's Policy and Research division, examining new global trends and practices in innovation, with an emphasis on emergi...

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Florence Engasser

Florence Engasser

Florence Engasser

Senior Researcher, International Innovation

Florence is a senior researcher within Nesta’s International Innovation team, which examines global trends and practices in innovation, with an emphasis on emerging economies.

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