Making Innovation Policy Work

Learning from Experimentation

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This book explores emerging topics in innovation policy for more inclusive and sustainable growth, building on concrete examples. It develops the notion of experimental innovation policy – which integrates monitoring and feedback at the policy design stage, and occurs continuously to improve impact and implementation. This approach should help improve the quality and efficiency of public expenditures supporting innovation policy.

Experimental policy making is particularly important for new and emerging innovation domains, where the scope for learning and improvement is the greatest. To make the discussion as concrete and relevant as possible for practitioners and policy makers, three emerging domains of innovation policy are explored in greater detail: innovative entrepreneurship, green innovation, and pro-poor or base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) innovation.



“Bottom of the pyramid” innovation and pro-poor growth

Outside of China, despite rapid economic growth in many low- and middleincome countries, there has been relatively little progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG1) target of halving the incidence of global poverty by 2015. Part of the explanation for this has been the historic trajectory of innovation. During the 20th century, most global innovation had its origins in the north, producing products for high-income consumers, developing technologies that excluded poor producers and were energyintensive and polluting. This innovation trajectory gave rise to the not-forprofit appropriate technology (AT) movement after the 1970s. But many of the technologies which it sought to diffuse were inefficient and scorned by both producers and consumers. However, a series of disruptive factors – the growth of low-income consumers during the global economic slowdown, the development of radical technologies (such as mobile telephony and renewable power), the development of capabilities in low-income economies and the emergence of new types of innovation actors – have begun to transform the AT’s potential to support pro-poor growth. While the new AT movement will be largely market-driven (since it provides the potential for profitable production), important dimensions of this market-driven process can be supported by policy.


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