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Transforming innovation theory into innovation policy instruments - the Swedish case

Malin Lindberg
Lulea University of Technology
Malin Lindberg
Lulea University of Technology
Open Panel

Abstract

Since the beginning of 2000, the Swedish government has promoted innovation by means of regional innovation systems (RIS). Just as long, there has been a debate about the transformation of innovation theory into innovation policy instruments such as RIS. In this chapter, this transformation is discussed in the light of a survey exposing that 75% of the regional innovation systems subject to public promotion in Sweden concerns two specific groups of industries: basic and manufacturing industries as well as industries based on new technology. Only 25% is linked to the services industry, even though Sweden – as an EU member state – has committed itself to contribute to the union’s position as world leading knowledge economy. This pattern implies that the transformation of innovation theory into innovation policy instruments is done in a manner that includes certain actors and areas while marginalizing others, especially women and industries employing many women. Innovation theory does not unanimously support this narrow scope of policy practice, however. A seed of change is to be seen, though, in a bottom up initiative to organize regional innovation systems with a broader spectrum of actors and areas. In this paper, this seed of change is interpreted as an alternative to a narrow way of transforming innovation theory into innovation policy instruments. It is argued that this example might contribute to different choices and design of innovation policy instruments such as RIS.