National innovation strategies are of crucial importance; they determine the types of innovation that are prioritised and funded. But who is deciding which innovations we should push, and how?
Imagine two countries, each trying to advance innovation capacity in order to promote 21st century economic competitiveness. In the first country, the Minister of Industry and Information Technology and his vice-ministers all studied physics and engineering at local universities. The second country, in contrast, has its Innovation and Technology Bureau leadership comprised of MBAs from top American business schools. Beyond differences in the two countries’ economic structures and policymaking processes, should we expect these countries to design similar national innovation policies? May we not expect one country to focus more on technical capacity building and one to design policies that promote international linkages and commercialization? Over time, should these patterns persist, or be permeated by globalisation pressures?
The project, 'The Making of Northeast Asia’s Start-up Nations: A Comparative Analysis of the Individuals and Organizations Responsible for Innovation Policy in Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea, 1998-2018', led by Dr Robyn Klingler-Vidra, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy, offers novel insights into how education informs a 'group think' that impacts the design of innovation policies.