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Innovation Policies: What works?

More evidence from the MIoIR project team

Date Published: 28 September 2012

The team at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR) recently held a third seminar as part of their ‘Compendium of Evidence on Innovation Policy’.

The project, sponsored by Nesta, seeks to assess the effectiveness of innovation policies, tools and initiatives around the world by compiling and assimilating available evidence – evidence that is “often limited and always widely dispersed”. This event focussed on four types of policy interventions intended to drive innovation:

  • Direct financial support for innovation
  • Improving access to capital for innovation
  • Support for entrepreneurship
  • Technology advisory & support services

In each case a review of the literature was presented for discussion and debate – providing valuable insights into some of the issues encountered when assessing the impacts of innovation policy.

Many projects were found to be predicated on ‘innovation’ but actually valued on the ‘bottom line’, with a prevailing emphasis on specifying, measuring and recording outputs rather than impacts.

In the UK a common issue was found to be a lack of a long-term perspective, characterised by frequent changes in government, administration and/or policy.

Overall, the project will result in about 20 individual reports with one major synthesis report providing a comparative reflection of the major findings. All reports published to date can be found at www.innovation-policy.net, together with further information about the project.

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