Directionality in transformative innovation policy: who is giving directions? (Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions)

This article comes from my postdoc.

Parks D (2022) Directionality in transformative innovation policy: who is giving directions? Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 43: 1–13. DOI: 10.1016/j.eist.2022.02.005.

The aim of this article is to improve knowledge about how directionality is implemented in transformative innovation policy and mission-oriented innovation policy. Academic literature conceptualizes attention to societal challenges as the directionality of innovation systems. Directionality requires an opening-up to include actors from the demand side of innovation processes. But this opening-up raises questions about who determines the direction of transformative change. In Sweden, transformative innovation policy has taken the form of strategic innovation programmes. A case study of one programme, Internet of Things Sweden, provides the opportunity to examine how directionality is implemented. The analysis shows how a focus on demand articulation made it possible to avoid making decisions about the direction of change. Innovation projects that mimicked public procurement limited the potential for radical transformative change. However, policy layering was an enabling factor at the urban level, where regional innovation actors facilitated the participation of urban infrastructure companies.