Principles for National Innovation Success

September 18, 2015

The chapter "Principles for National Innovation Success" appears in the 2015 Global Innovation Index produced by INSEAD, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and Cornell University. In it, ITIF President Robert Atkinson and Vice President, Global Innovation Policy Stephen Ezell present six key principles that nations should consider in designing and implementing effective innovation policies, and they provide examples and prescriptions tailored for the particular challenges of lower- and middle-income economies.

The six priority innovation principles the chapter identifies are:

  1. Maximizing innovation across-the-board in all industries;
  2. Supporting all types and phases of innovation, avoiding the mistake of focusing mainly on developing and manufacturing high-tech products;
  3. Enabling churn and creative destruction;
  4. Keeping the price of capital goods imports, especially information and communications technology product imports, low;
  5. Supporting the cultivation of key innovation inputs, including digital infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and knowledge; and
  6. Developing a national innovation and productivity strategy and organizations to support it. The latter includes robust national innovation strategies implemented by national innovation foundations.

In conclusion, Ezell and Atkinson argue that countries need to think holistically about how a wide variety of public policies impact the ability of their enterprises and industries to compete in the increasingly innovation-based global economy.