Why we need more ambitious innovation policy

By Lou-Davina Stouffs and Teo Firpo on Wednesday, 19 April 2017.

There is growing public concern about the challenges the economy of the future presents. From automation to rising inequalities, governments are looking for ways to tackle these issues while rekindling growth rates that have been, in many advanced economies, sluggish.     

In this context, policymakers working on innovation and business growth have a double challenge: how to promote disruptive innovation while ensuring growth is inclusive. To achieve this, an ambitious innovation policy that can come up with new ideas and solutions is needed. But we also need to make sure policy programmes are effective, and that policymakers are willing to test them - to learn what works and what doesn’t. In sum, innovation and business growth policy should become more experimental.  

The stakes are too high not to. With over €150 billion being spent on business support programmes in Europe alone, governments need to make sure funds are directed towards effective schemes. But even more importantly, we need to make sure we have the right systems in place to nurture the big innovations of tomorrow.


This is why we’re organising the IGL Global Conference (13-14 June) as a forum for policymakers, practitioners and researchers working in innovation, entrepreneurship and growth to come together as a global community, to learn from and share experiences with each other. Building on the success of IGL2016, during IGL2017, we’ll be learning about the next generation of innovation and entrepreneurship policies to tackle some of the issues above.

On the main conference day, 13 June, we’ll address pressing questions such as: How can we create regulation that anticipates future disruption without hampering innovation and potential growth? Or, in what ways can governments support the use of intangible assets to stimulate growth of SMEs and startups?

In a panel chaired by Andrew Palmer from The Economist, we’ll debate the future of work in the robot economy. We’ll also discuss how governments can best direct public innovation spending, hearing from top voices in public science, innovation and technology funding, such as Raj Thampuran, Managing Director of A*STAR (Singapore), and Marco Cintra, President of FINEP in Brazil.

IGL2017 will also explore some of the tools in the innovation policymaker’s toolkit - ranging from experimentation to broader use of data and evidence. During the Policy & Practice Learning Lab on 14 June, we’ll take a more practical look at these topics, such as learning from failures, how to face the challenges of Industry 4.0, or innovation procurement with small-scale interactive workshops. Researchers are invited to join the IGL Research Meeting for a day of academic presentations of design-stage, ongoing and completed randomised controlled trials in innovation, entrepreneurship and growth.

Register here to join us at IGL2017 in Barcelona.


This blog was originally posted on the Nesta website on 18 April 2017. View the original post