Digital Innovation: Seizing Policy Opportunities

How does innovation change in the digital age? What policy changes are needed in consequence? This page presents the final report and additional materials (case studies contributions from different countries, policy papers and proceedings from expert workshops) produced by the Digital and Open Innovation project that addressed those questions.

The project was conducted by the OECD Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy (TIP) from 2017 to 2018 and conducted analyses based on the perspectives from experts, policy makers and practitioners from OECD countries and beyond. The report was launched in London on 10 April 2019. 

Read the Highlights of the 2017-18 OECD Digital and Open Innovation project

The report


To an ever-increasing extent, innovation is digital. Most innovations today are new products, processes or business models at least partly enabled by digital technologies or embodied in data and software. Innovation processes themselves are changing in an era of digital transformation, with the use of AI-based analytics that allow for large-scale experiments in research and new virtual simulation and prototyping techniques for developing new products.

This report describes how the digital transformation is changing innovation processes and outcomes, highlighting general trends across the economy and factors behind sector-specific dynamics. In view of such changes, the report evaluates how policy support to innovation should adapt and in what directions. It also explores novel innovation policy approaches implemented by countries to promote digital technology adoption and collaborative innovation.


                                               Executive summary                                          


 New! Watch the video of the event

Listen to the authors



 Click on the following boxes to have the access to the chapters' material. 

Case studies

The "Digital Innovation: Seizing Policy Opportunities" report also builds on a number of country case study contributions to the TIP Working Party’s Digital and Open Innovation project.

This includes eight policy case studies –each focusing on a new innovation policy initiative for the digital transformation– and three sectoral case studies – exploring the impacts of digital transformation on specific sectors or firms.

Here you can find all the material about the case studies.

Policy case studies: 




Sectoral case studies: 






"The report explores the diversity and complexity of digital innovation-related issues in a very coherent way. It sets the stage for future work and deeper analyses”

- Ana Nieto
Vice chair of the of the OECD-TIP Working Party
DG RTD TIP Delegate, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation
European Commission

Policy papers


Innovation policies in the Digital Age

This policy paper discusses how digitalisation is transforming innovation processes and outcomes, and explores the ways in which innovation policy needs to adapt in order to respond to new challenges. The paper also discusses the economy-wide effects of digital innovation in terms of business dynamics, market structures and distribution. 





 The digital innovation policy landscape in 2019 

How are OECD countries supporting digital innovation and ensuring that benefits spread across the economy? This paper explores the current landscape of strategies and initiatives implemented in OECD countries to support innovation in the digital age. It identifies common trends and differences in national digital, smart industry and artificial intelligence (AI) strategies. The paper also discusses  the range of policy instruments used across OECD to support :1) digital technology adoption and diffusion, including demonstration facilities for SMEs; 2) collaborative innovation (including via the creation of digital innovation clusters and knowledge intermediaries); 3) research and innovation in key digital technologies, particularly AI (e.g. by establishing testbeds and regulatory sandboxes); and 4) digital entrepreneurship (e.g. through early-stage business acceleration support). 


The impacts of digital transformation on innovation across sectors (forthcoming)

This policy paper discusses similarities and differences in how digital transformation affects innovation processes and outcomes in different sectors. It focuses on three sectors: agri-food, automotive/transportation and retail. 

''An excellent report introducing novel innovation policy approaches for the digital age, particularly in the area of data access, as well as the need for anticipatory regulation and setting national policies in the context of global markets''

- Kai Husso
Vice chair of the OECD-TIP Working Party
Chief Planning Officer, Enterprise and Innovation Department
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

This website is best viewed using Google Chrome as browser. 

The report in slides


Outcomes of the digital and open innovation project


"One of the best pieces of work analysing the systematic effects of digitalisation on innovation and their policy implications"

- Christian Busch
Scientific Adviser, Innovation
Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research - EAER
State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation - SERI

The report in a nutshell

"A very strong report allowing the reader to grasp where change is happening in the complex digital context”

- Roland Sommer
Director General, Association Industry 4.0 Austria
Vice-Chair, BIAC Technology Committee

Key recommendations

"The report rightly points to the need for policies that are more flexible and anticipatory, given the fast pace of technology change”

- David Legg
Vice chair of the OECD-TIP Working Party
Economics, Analysis, and Market Insight
Innovate UK

A key guide for innovation policy makers. Issues of skills, data access and territorial inclusiveness in the digital age are most relevant in our countries” 

- Agni Spilioti
Vice chair of the OECD-TIP Working Party
Director, S&T Policy Planning Directorate
General Secretariat for Research and Technology
Ministry of Education, Research & Religious Affairs

Event launch in London

The report was launched on 10 April 2019 in London, in an event jointly organised by Digital Catapult, Innovate UK and the OECD. Find all the information at:  

Digital and open innovation project

This report provides the synthesis of findings and the main policy recommendations of the 2017-18 project on Digital and Open Innovation, conducted by the OECD Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy. Find all the information about the project at: