Module 2 – Pragmatic National Innovation Agenda Policy


The focus of this module is on how to develop an innovation strategy that is robust enough to survive over the long-term, yet flexible and dynamic enough to gain the support of skeptics and deflect vested interests. Principles from empirical evidence will be introduced, as well as specific country cases from Korea and Tanzania. Major ingredients of a pragmatic innovation agenda include:

a. Establishing a shared vision and getting buy-in from major stakeholders

b. Moving from downstream to upstream, and exploiting first comparative advantage (‘big push’ through trade)

c. Insisting on international competitiveness

d. Accumulating skills and making a transition from imitation to innovation; and

e. Setting up public-private search networks to address emerging problems, in order to remain flexible

To provide an economy with strong sustainable growth, efforts at reform are needed on a broad front, motivated by a sense of urgency and vision, and backed by strong political commitment and leadership.

To get around the many institutional rigidities impeding progress, a country must create momentum for change by fostering stakeholder awareness; reach consensus on how to tackle key obstacles at the national level (to enhance demand for an institutional change); and move ahead with concrete, manageable, bottom-up approaches that can serve as demonstration projects to move the larger agenda. A critical role in this regard is being played by a proper monitoring and evaluation system that helps to track and keep respective programs accountable, and is an important instrument for project scalability. 

However, innovation policies are often difficult to implement and evaluate. In addition, most countries do not know how to move innovation policies beyond the basic focus on technology research and development, or find relevance for such research in resolving welfare and economic issues.

This module introduces a conceptual framework for a pragmatic innovation agenda, as well as describes key components of pragmatic innovation policies that will help countries to better model their innovation policies in view of efficiency, effectiveness, flexibility and sustainability.

By the end of this module you will:

  • Have been exposed to several successful innovation strategies through real case examples
  • Understand core principles of how such a innovation strategy can succeed in a pragmatic way against vested interests, including leadership, piloting, scaling-up, coordination, and monitoring and evaluation
  • Be familiar with the major instruments and institution coordination necessary to implement such a pragmatic innovation policy, as well as ‘best practice’ strategies to succeed
  • Have identified the broad framework of a pragmatic innovation agenda and policy options to implement it on the basis of the main functions introduced  


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