Knowing Your of National Innovation System

Last year I took a great course with Prof. David Hart on Science and Technology Policy. One term that comes up often is National Innovation Systems; basically the resources (physical, financial, institutional, educational, human capital, rules/laws, etc) that a nation has and how they are organized and deployed in support of innovation (typically scientific). The idea is that better, more efficient systems should yield higher growth rates and increases in living standards for national populations (and the world for that matter).

While many entrepreneurs don’t often think about the national innovation systems that they access, much of the technology and science that we make use of in the commercial markets are offshoots of directed policy made by politicians, lobbyists, non-profits, government agencies, venture investors and syndicate leaders, etc.

The latest National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship newsletter shares a great new paper by Block and Keller called “Where do Innovations Come from? Transformations in the U.S. National Innovation System of the US 1976-2006”

The way that new products, services, and technologies emerge has changed, and innovation policies need to change in response to this transformed innovation ecosystem. A new study sponsored by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation analyzes forty years of data from R&D Magazine, which has annually ranked its top 100 innovations since 1976. This historical perspective yields some interesting insights. One major finding is that the role of Federal investments in supporting innovations has grown rapidly. Also, collaboration is more important.

It looks like a pretty interesting paper and entrepreneurs should read it. There are some solid findings and its pretty clear that universities, their campuses, and players are a major part of successful national innovation systems.


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