Innovation and technology policy (ITP) for catching up: a three phase life cycle framework for industrializing economies
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This paper outlines a dynamic, medium/long term Innovation and Technology Policy framework for industrializing economies directed to simulate innovation and to contribute to the eventual creation of high impact innovative entrepreneurial clusters. The paper is predicated on the assumption that while cluster creation policies are possible in many contexts they requires adoption of a System Evolutionary (S/E) perspective to Innovation and Technology Policy. Given the current 'entrepreneurial phase' of the ICT Revolution, support of 'Innovative SMEs' should be one of the axes of an overall strategy of development for a large group of industrializing economies. The three phase policy model proposed here starts with direct Government support, including Horizontal support to Business Sector R&D/Innovation and/or to innovative Small and Medium Sized Enterprise or Start Ups (Phase 1); and culminates with implementation of Targeted or other policies in support of Venture Capital (VC)/ Private Equity (PE) and possibly of other industries. Between these two central policy thrusts an intermediate phase 2 would be implemented with the objective of reinforcing innovation and creating other favorable conditions, including favourable 'demand' conditions and enhanced policy capabilities, for a successful transition to Phase 3. The model is a generic model which allows for different variants reflecting different country contexts, although, throughout, it will emphasize the importance of direct Business Sector support mechanisms at least during Phases 1 and 2. The structure of the policy portfolio will depend on country characteristics and specific institutions; and its changes over time will also reflect in part differences in the policy objectives from phase to phase. As it stands the framework is neither 'formal' nor 'appreciative theory' that is theory which closely follows the facts. This is the result of the paucity of data and the impossibility of undertaking at this stage a cross-country comparative analysis of policy cycles. Still the model as it stands can provide useful pointers to policymakers in a variety of contexts.