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OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2018

Adapting to Technological and Societal Disruption

image of OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2018

The OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2018 is the twelfth edition in a series that biennially reviews key trends in science, technology and innovation (STI) policy in OECD countries and a number of major partner economies. The 14 chapters within this edition look at a range of topics, notably the opportunities and challenges related to enhanced data access, the impacts of artificial intelligence on science and manufacturing, and the influence of digitalisation on research and innovation. The report also discusses the shortcomings of current policy measures, how the Sustainable Development Goals are re-shaping STI policy agendas, and the need for new - more flexible and agile - approaches to technology governance and policy design. While these disruptive changes challenge policy makers in a number of ways, the digital revolution underway also provides solutions for better policy targeting, implementation and monitoring.

This report relies on the latest academic work in the field, research and innovation statistical data, as well as data on wider trends and issues. It makes extensive use of country responses to the 2017 EC OECD STI policy survey (https://stip.oecd.org) and features contributions by renowned experts and academics to broaden the debate and provide more personal, sometimes controversial, angles to it.

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Perspectives on innovation policies in the digital age

Most innovations today are new products and processes made possible by digital technologies or embodied in data and software. This transformation took place first in digital sectors (e.g. software) but has now spread to all sectors, including services (e.g. retail and education) and manufacturing (e.g. automotive). It results in new dynamics, with data as core inputs to research and innovation, more service innovation, the blurring of boundaries between services and manufacturing (servitisation), and greater speed and collaboration in innovation. Innovation policies need to adapt, so as to address data access issues, to become more agile, to promote open science, data sharing and co-operation among innovators, and to review competition and intellectual property policy frameworks. This chapter first assesses the economic mechanisms that characterise digitalisation and reviews the impacts of the digital transformation on innovation in the digital age. It then discusses how these changes affect business dynamics. Based on these insights, it draws lessons for innovation policies and concludes by providing perspectives on the future.

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