Principles for National Innovation Success

Stephen Ezell Robert D. Atkinson September 18, 2015
September 18, 2015

“Principles for National Innovation Success” appears as chapter four of the 2015 Global Innovation Index, co-published by the international business school INSEAD, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and Cornell University. ITIF Vice President for Global Innovation Policy Stephen J. Ezell and ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson 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 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.