Mission (im)possible? The role of innovation (and innovation policy) in supporting structural change & sustainability transitions
Jan Fagerberg (Photo: Private)
The topics addressed in this paper concern the (much-needed) transition to sustainability, the structural changes it entails and what role (innovation) policy can play in speeding up such changes.
While it is easy to argue that innovation must play an important role in the transition towards sustainability, it is more challenging to provide good models for how policy may help in mobilizing innovation for this purpose. Such models, it is argued, needs to be based on the accumulated knowledge base on the role of innovation in social and economic change.
The paper therefore starts by distilling some important insights on innovation from the accumulated research on this topic, and, with this in mind, discusses various policy approaches that have been suggested for influencing innovation and sustainability transitions.
To allow for a more in-depth discussion the paper then goes into more detail about three cases in which policy arguably had a large impact, namely renewable energy in Denmark and Germany and electric cars in Norway.
The final part of the paper sums up the discussion about the role of (innovation) policies in sustainability transitions.