The priorities of innovation policymakers in Vietnam
A greater focus on policy implementation (as well as design)
We found that policymakers are interested in analysing examples (successful and unsuccessful) of both the formulation and implementation of innovation policy, and the opportunities this can bring.
‘So far, Vietnam has developed many policies to promote innovation but policy implementation is still a challenge.’
More agile policy development
In particular, procedures for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) support programmes are too slow and trigger a loss of opportunities for businesses. For example, in 2011 a business submitted a proposal through the High Technology Programme to develop a taxi application (similar to Uber or Grab), which was only approved in 2015, by which time Uber and Grab had become very popular in Vietnam.
Increased use of evidence to inform policy and practice
The development and formulation of new innovation policies should be informed by robust evidence, yet currently this rarely happens. However, there is a strong desire among policymakers to understand the specific information, research and figures that can demonstrate and underpin successes and failures. Vietnamese policymakers are also keen to build and share understanding around how best to assess the impact of innovation policies.
‘Supporting and boosting innovation is not strong enough, we are still lacking tipping point policy tools.’
Developing skills that can be applied in daily work
Innovation policymakers are keen to share and learn experiences from the UK and other countries taking part in training programmes, to improve coordination among stakeholders in the development of innovation policies, and to take part in tangible training programmes with methods that are applicable to daily work.
Stronger communication and coordination across institutions
Collaboration and coordination on innovation policy among ministries is limited, causing overlap and policy implementation difficulties. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) is responsible for innovation in Vietnam but there is little coordination between MOST and other ministries, especially when it comes to sharing information on innovation programmes.
It is important to know what others are doing in terms of innovation, to coordinate between ministries, avoid duplication and ensure the innovation system operates effectively. Strong communication between government, researchers/academia and industry is also key, to engage people effectively in technology transfer, build innovation capacity in small and medium-sized businesses, and ensure the results from research institutes meet the requirements of industry.
Spread innovation awareness and knowledge across the board
Innovation is a relatively new concept in Vietnam, so it is important to provide basic information on key concepts, including what innovation means in practice (the definition), effective innovation management, how a strong network of innovation agencies can best function, and how to build thriving innovation ecosystems.
Understanding how to manage public venture capital funds and encourage private investment in the Vietnamese economy are also important areas of focus for innovation policymakers, as is the management and implementation of policies and programmes to encourage and support entrepreneurs.