5. Innovation Systems Indicators and Policy


René Wintjes

Enhancing the dynamics in innovation systems calls for concepts, qualitative and quantitative data, indicators, and tools that support policy development and learning. The demand-driven research under this theme focuses on the cutting edge of innovation indicators and policy analysis. A central idea in this research area is that of ‘policy learning’, which emphasises that neither markets nor policymakers are perfect in reaching an optimal state. The diversity among (regional, national, and sectoral) innovation systems, and the variety of relevant actors and factors, makes it even more important to support policy learning with indicator based policy intelligence.

In order to address new challenges and capture new trends, new policy concepts, data and indicators are needed. Such new fields are often addressed in thematic approaches, e.g. concerning public sector innovation, service-innovation, non-technological innovation, nano-technology, new business models, smart specialisation strategies, entrepreneurship, or demand-side policies. The variety of research methods includes surveys, case studies, scientometric analysis, ex-ante and ex-post impact assessment, statistical analysis, interviews, and, for instance, focus group workshops.

Innovation systems analysis capturing structural and institutional differences, as well as the behaviour of a variety of relevant actors, can be used not only to identify strengths and weaknesses, challenges and policy options, but also to make typologies of innovation capabilities and policy trajectories. Policy intelligence also relates to policy evaluation and impact assessment. Since there is no single best practice policy, the main goal is policy improvement. Policy lessons can come from one’s own policy experiences (within system learning), and those of others elsewhere (between system learning). Other challenges include the development of ‘policy indicators’ and multi-level governance issues.

1. The Economics of Knowledge and Innovation
2. Social Protection, Inclusive Innovation and Development
3. Economic Development, Innovation, Governance and Institutions
4. Sustainable Development, Innovation and Societal Transitions
5. Innovation Systems Indicators and Policy
6. Migration and Development
7. ICT-enabled Innovation and Societal Transformations
8. Population, Development and Labour Economics