EU Science Hub

Systems and Modes of ICT Innovation

This report focuses on modes of ICT innovation at the meso level of systems and the micro level of firms. After a summary of the literature on national innovation systems, and it’s sectoral and regional applications, we discuss how the concept of innovation systems can be applied to the case of ICT innovation. A framework for indicators is proposed to characterize the performance of ICT innovation systems. Due to the multi-purpose and pervasive nature of ICT, it is relevant to extend the innovation systems concept to the societal level. The resource-based view of the innovative firm fits very well with the innovation systems perspective. Patterns in the firm-level sets (combinations, or mix) of resources and capabilities can be identified with factor-analysis and they give rise to the main types or modes of innovative behaviour. Monitoring ICT innovation systems is important as it allows us to learn how to improve the policy and performance of current and future systems. It allows us to design and improve an ICT innovation policy mix, which is tailored to the specific ICT modes of innovation, and also tailored to the prioritized mix of challenges (e.g. economic, social, environmental, health, or other impacts). Since ICT innovations emerge and diffuse fast, timing in institutional change is crucial. Setting new standards, and updating regulations can create a competitive edge. ICT innovation policy has become (and should be addressed as) a horizontal policy field which maintains systemic linkages with other policy fields. At both the system and firm level, there are several modes of ICT innovation. Policy makers should not reduce diversity by favouring only one mode. As an extension to Lundvalls’ theory on interactive learning between producers and users of knowledge, we add that policy for ICT innovation should be produced in interaction with its users.