Marcelle Rethinking science, technology and innovation policy

Rethinking science, technology and
innovation policy: understanding
performers and context
Invited presentation
Department of Science and Technology, HSRC and CPUT
Science Seminar: Linking knowledge producers and
marginalised communities
15 November 2013, Cape Town, South Africa
Professor Gillian Marcelle
Wits Business School
• Innovation re-imagined
• Innovation dynamics as a contributor to
sustainable human development
– Enterprise level
– Macro level issues
• Summary and concluding remarks
Section 2
• Participatory approaches to development are inherently superior to
the more technocratic and authoritarian approaches.
•A more realistic and relevant definition of innovation is needed to
guide policy
•Issues of power, control and ownership of resources, and governance
in the innovation process need to be contextualised.
Foundational Issues
• There are a number of strong, commonly
occurring biases in innovation
• Mindset is among several other cultural,
psychological and societal dimensions of
innovation requiring more attention
• Development outcomes are not
automatically produced in STI interventions
Inherent Biases
• Techno centric conceptions of social and
institutional change
• Novelty
• High science and technology content
• Lone hero and mythical figure
• De-emphasis on ethical dimensions
• Insistence on standard metrics
Drivers of Innovation
Advancing technology
Customers are more sophisticated, segmented and
demanding, and expect more in terms of customization,
newness, quality and price
Changing environment
Changing industrial structures and strategies
Customers have more choice
Evolving society
New technologies no-one understands
Evolving customer desires
Apparently separate technologies come together
Competitors improve their products, processes and
Markets forming and changing fast
Customers stop buying your old products and services •
so you need to replace them and add new products and •
Technology is changing fast, new products come from
new competitors
Fast changing environment, product lifetimes shorter,
need to replace products sooner
Products are increasingly difficult to differentiate
With markets and technology changing fast, and good
ideas quickly copied, there is continual pressure
to devise new and better products, processes and
services faster
Innovation defined
• Innovation is an intentional process of generating, acquiring and
applying knowledge for economically and socially beneficial
purposes, which in developing countries typically takes place through
the efficient unfolding of various learning processes, rather than being
determined by the mastery of science and technological knowledge.
This process requires financial and other resources including cultural
and social capital. Deftly undertaken innovation can lead to the
transformation of systems, values and culture as well as the
production of new and/or improved products or processes.
(Marcelle 2013, 2012, 2011 b, c, and 2004).
Understanding innovation
• Innovation has occurred when any aspect (e.g. functionality,
usefulness, affordability, aesthetic value) of a product, process,
service or experience is changed so that it provides an improved
solution to an existing need or challenge. In some instances, this
can also take the form of completely new or transformed products,
processes services or experiences that did not hitherto exist.
• Incremental innovation involves small improvements and extensions
to existing products, processes and services. The target is to increase
efficiency - higher quality, reduced times and lower costs. For an
incrementally new product the customer is known and the technology
does not radically depart from conventional practice.
• Radical innovation involves major change. Typically there are
unknowns concerning both customer and technology
Novelty vs Value ( outcomes and impacts)
Process vs outputs
Time dimension
Uncertainty and risk
Context specificity
Definition as critique
• Offers a critique of science-centric views in which
innovation is considered to be concerned with generating
technological novelties through the process of
accumulated investment in formal centralized research
and development (R&D) or purchase of technological
• Characterises the process of innovation as being a
complex, non-linear, interactive, full of uncertainty and
must be managed through intentional effort and
investment (Mowery and Rosenberg 1979; Dosi 1982;
Perez 2004, and Srinivas and Sutz 2008).
Key Issues
Innovation is not = R&D
Innovation requires investment, takes place over time through an uneven
process involving risk and uncertainty
Innovation does not guarantee competitive success
Innovative enterprises have people who are confident, free to experiment and
have their learning supported.
Innovative enterprises have processes for integrating learning across all
functions and for aligned learning with overall business strategy.
The nature of the innovation process is highly influenced by context, therefore
large enterprises operating in the formal sector perform innovation rountines
differently from those in the informal sector
Effective innovation strategies
Investment in technological hardware, technical personnel, training, skills
development and other learning routines.
Implementation of specific management routines to support technological
– Specialist roles for innovation management
– Supportive Culture
– Formal Scan and Search
Managing boundary relationships
Marcelle, G M Technological Learning Edward Elgar (2004)
Ideal-type TCB System
Unbalanced TCB system
The missing piece
• We know very little about how innovation is
performed and optimised in settings
characterised by informality and resource
scarcity......Jugaad, reverse, grassroots, frugal,
resource-constrained, BoP, inclusive innovation
literature is emerging but from two directions:
Northern business schools or public policy rather
than efforts to dig deep into the enterprise level
(see New models of Innovation, GAAID network,
STEPS, Latin American models etc)
Section 3
Innovation matters
Innovation makes an important contribution to sustainable human
development and has been shown to be the foundation for enhanced
competitiveness, industrial and technological upgrading and a factor
stimulating structural change
Innovation strategies help with structural changes, improve responsiveness to
external challenges, including the changing nature of international markets
and trade regimes
Innovation can provide solutions for the effective provision of essential public
goods, such as education, housing, water and sanitation and health services.
Innovation can assist with the effort to balance common goals of producing
economic growth & redistribution of wealth
Strategies used in the developing world involve capability building and
technological upgrading for which learning processes are critical inputs
Innovation is a hot issue
A number of confluences explain the growing interest, including:
1. the economic crisis and the reflection that it prompted
2. challenges to the established “hegemonic” theories of economic
3. innovation is itself on the agenda of firms
4. environmental stewardship and intergenerational responsibility has
a higher priority
5. policy makers have move to a greater understanding of the
importance of learning, capability building and technological
upgrading for economic growth, competitiveness and
improvements in social services delivery
6. demand for greater social inclusion within and among countries
7. changes in governance of development institutions
8. solidarity among emerging countries
Systems Approach
Innovation systems consist of policy making institutions, firms, research
bodies, educational institutions, financial sector, individual innovators.
This brings together in a single framework, all the elements and disparate
processes involved in the production, diffusion and application of knowledge,
as well as the impact of these processes on economic and social
This can be applied in national, regional or even local context and helps to
shift the emphasis from individual organizations to the interaction between
the various elements of the system and the interaction between the supply
and demand of knowledge
Should lead to a focus on the interrelationship and alignment between socioeconomic development and the needs, priorities and capabilities of innovation
policies and links between institutional frameworks and sustainable
innovation policy implementation
Innovation for what?
Based on Princeton political scientist Stokes 1997
Co-evolving cycles
Creative Destruction....
Creating and Capturing Value
• Societies including firms and other producers must be
aware of the types of knowledge they hold and value
these as assets
• Create systems to store, protect & share knowledge
• Must manage different types of intellectual property and
knowledge assets
• Secure routes to market by exploiting intellectual property
and/or by sharing in open platform configurations
• This requires social and cultural capital in addition to
technical skills (confidence, strong identity and cultural
Social Capital and Innovation
• Structural social capital (business network
assets, information network assets, research
network assets, participation assets and
relational assets)
• Cognitive social capital
• Some of these are more amenable to policy
intervention, while others are features of social
and cultural systems and deeply encoded.
Community level
Context specificity
Alienation, disconnection and mistrust
Need for intermediaries and translators
Scaling up and replication
Financing risk
Knowledge gaps and capability gaps
Dimensions of Analysis
• Extent/ nature of involvement and participation
• Intensity and types of interactions and knowledge circulation
• Project ownership
• Technological suitability
• Process of technology appropriation
• Environmental impact (intended and unintended)
• Alignment with societal values, and structure and effect
over time
Innovation dynamics in the South
• Developing countries have developed innovation
strategies to stimulate economic growth and development
• Capacity to develop and implement these strategies is
often scarce
• Approaches to innovation policy experience a lot of inertia
and mental bottlenecks, including an ability to:
– Take innovation performers seriously
– Take communities seriously
• It is necessary to understand innovation dynamics from
various starting points: developing country firms tackle
innovation through learning and capability building
Brazil Mini Case
• 3rd generation rural
development policy
• Specific objectives on
poverty alleviation,
improved and family
welfare and reducing
geographic and rural
• An innovation agenda
• Proambiente
– State, private sector and
community organisations
– Payment for ecological
– Organic and bio-products
including for international trade
but local luxury markets
– New forms of ownership and
– Supplier linkages with large
– Technological upgrading,
learning and capability building
Section 4
South Africa specific issues
1. Formal policies for R&D and innovation since 1996
2. New institutions being created viz, Technology Innovation
Agency (TIA) and restructured
3. Peer reviews, internal monitoring and evaluation
4. Increased scrutiny on the developmental impact of
science, technology and innovation spending
5. Concerns about traditional R&D capacity
6. Concerns about competitiveness, productivity levels and
“job-less” growth
Recent activity in South Africa ......
Dept of Science & Technology seminar on inclusive innov June 2012
OECD conference inclusive innovation Nov 2012
NACI workshop innov4dev March 2013
DST funded HSRC rural innovation project seminars
DST innovation for sustainable livelihoods policy dialogue April 2013
Ministerial Review of the NSI concluded in 2012
Summit on Science, Technology and Innovation July 2013
HSDD Grand Challenge “innovation for social purposes” research
Critical Success Factors
• STI infrastructure
• High absorptive capacities
• Capabilities to generate, search, select and
implement solutions
• Knowledge and knowledge flows
• STI Policy and programming ecosystem
• Empowered, capable officials
• Engaged communities
Areas of intervention
• Research including comparative analysis and
empirical studies
• Evaluation of previous projects
• Training and education
• Advocacy and engagement
• More policy dialogues of various types – pull out
sector groups, performers, financiers, senior
public officials, entrepreneurs, community groups
Research and Evidence
• Innovation and job
• Innovation
• Community innovators
and the psychological and
anthropological issues
involved in their
• Technology acquisition
strategies of firms
• University and
industry interaction
• Measurable indicators
of success
– Benchmarks
– Targets
– Milestones
Expected Outcomes
• Improved impact over time
• Better outcomes in terms of high level
development objectives
• Engagement with the private sector
• Engagement with knowledge producers
• Engagement with communities increased
visibility and political viability
Shifting the intention of policy
• Improve the conditions under which
performers of innovation thrive
– Information/knowledge inputs
– Rules of the game
– Resource availability including complementary
– Incentive structures
Treat development outcomes as non automatic and design checks and
balances in STI programming (similar to environmental and gender audits)
Undertake a baseline survey of the DST budget wrt to development priorities
(jobs, inequality and poverty)and develop development related criteria and
indicators for monitoring and evaluation
Remove the public sector, science-centric bias in STI programming and the
command and control style
Focus more on facilitating the innovation performers firms, communities, and
Focus directly on setting innovation challenges in areas such as water
management, energy security, affordable housing, improved healthcare
systems and reliable transportation that have impactful effects on quality of life
For follow up and further elaboration
Professor Gillian Marcelle
Associate Professor: Strategy and Innovation
[email protected]
Visiting Scholar, Tata Center for Technology and Design, MIT
[email protected]

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