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Impacts of innovation policy: synthesis and conclusion

Nesta Working Paper 13/21
Issued: November 2013
JEL Classification: O38
Keywords: Innovation policy, impact, synthesis

Abstract

This paper is part of the Compendium of Evidence on the Effectiveness of Innovation Policy Intervention.

This report synthesises key findings and insights from the Compendium of Evidence on the Effectiveness of Innovation Policy Intervention Project. The Compendium compiles and appraises available evidence about the impacts of a range of innovation policies. In total, the Compendium consists of 18 separate reports on innovation policy instruments and one report on policy mix and interplay. Overall, nearly 800 evaluation reports and academic papers were reviewed, covering instruments across the UK and major developed countries. The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research produced the Compendium, with sponsorship from NESTA.

The review presents the typology that was developed to capture the variety of innovation policy intervention.

This typology distinguishes between supply-side instruments (influencing innovation generation) and demandside instruments (influencing those requesting, buying or applying innovations). The typology also organises instruments according to seven major innovation policy goals: (1) increasing research and development investment; (2) augmenting skills; (3) enabling access to expertise; (4) strengthening system-wide capabilities and exploiting complementarities; (5) enhancing innovation demand; (6) improving frameworks for innovation, including regulation and standards; and (7) facilitating exchange and dialogue about innovation.

This review summarises the available evidence about the performance of specific measures across this typology against rationales and policy objectives, keeping in mind the limits of evaluation and assessment methodologies. This offers insights as whether instruments achieve policy goals, what effects they have in their particular circumstances, and what caveats are applicable.

The review concludes that the available evidence offers a great reservoir for policy learning, but stresses the importance of policy analysis that more systematically links innovation policy intervention to longer term behavioural effects and to economic growth, job creation and societal challenges.

Authors

Jakob Edler, Paul Cunningham, Abdullah Gök, Philip Shapira

The Nesta Working Paper Series is intended to make available early results of research undertaken or supported by Nesta and its partners in order to elicit comments and suggestions for revisions and to encourage discussion and further debate prior to publication (ISSN 2050-9820). The views expressed in this working paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of Nesta.