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Skills for Innovation and Research

image of Skills for Innovation and Research

Innovation holds the key to ongoing improvements in living standards, as well as to solving pressing social challenges. Skilled people play a crucial role in innovation through the new knowledge they generate, how they adopt and develop existing ideas, and through their ability to learn new competencies and adapt to a changing environment.

This book seeks to increase understanding of the links between skills and innovation. It explores the wide range of skills required, ranging from technical to "soft", and the ability to learn; it presents data and evidence on countries' stocks and flows of skills and the links between skill inputs and innovation outputs. Given the importance of meeting the demands of knowledge-based economic activity, the book investigates the issues of skill supply, education, workplace training and work organisation. It highlights the importance of enabling individuals to acquire appropriate skills and of optimising these at work.

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What are the skills needed for innovation?

The literature indicates that a large number of skills are required for innovation, ranging from technical skills to “soft” skills and the ability to learn. Different individuals, firms and industries may draw on different skill mixes at different times; nevertheless, many skills appear relevant across the innovation spectrum. Human capital is an essential input to innovation, but what are the skills and attributes that human capital must possess? This chapter provides some insights on skills for innovation drawn from the literature and on the mix of these skills which economies may require. It then briefly discusses emerging themes in skill requirements. A final section summarises the chapter.

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