New Report From Global Think Tank Alliance Identifies Best Practices for National Innovation Policies

June 13, 2019

WASHINGTON—Innovation is the foundation of long-term economic growth and improvements in quality of life and standards of living. But to maximize the impact of innovation, countries must first adopt well-crafted policies to foster and support it. The question is: what works?

To highlight policies that have proven to be most successful in fostering a conducive environment for innovation, the Global Trade and Innovation Policy Alliance (GTIPA)—a network of independent think tanks led by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the world’s top science and technology policy think tank—today released a collaborative report with profiles of the innovation policies of 23 nations and the European Union. The profiles summarize what nations are doing best in innovation policy and where they have the most room for improvement. GTIPA released the report ahead of its annual summit, which convenes today in Mexico City.

“Innovation is critical to the world economy. Everyone has a stake in it—and maximizing its impact requires collective effort and constructive engagement in the global economic and trading system. But innovation ultimately starts at home, with effective policies in our own back yards,” said Stephen Ezell, ITIF’s vice president for global innovation policy, who spearheads the GTIPA. “Countries around the world—developed and developing alike—face strikingly similar innovation policy challenges, so there are many opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences.”

Among the 24 case studies, a number of common best practices emerge, including:

  • The establishment of government agencies, councils, and organizations specifically responsible for innovation;
  • Strong and innovative tax measures, such as more generous R&D tax credits, investment incentives, collaborative tax credits, and patent boxes;
  • Efforts to improve regulatory environments in support of innovation;
  • Efforts to leverage open data as a platform for innovation;
  • Defined strategies to drive leadership in emerging information technology application areas, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing; and
  • Holistic strategies to ensure leadership in manufacturing digitalization.

The case studies also reveal common weaknesses and challenges among participating countries, including:

  • Weak IP environments inhibiting innovation;
  • The need to strengthen workforce-training systems, especially science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) talent;
  • Achieving effective technology transfer and commercialization of new discoveries from universities, research institutions, and national laboratories to the private sector;
  • The need to reform public procurement systems to either favor more innovative vendors, give small businesses better opportunities to compete, or introduce more competition into the tender process; and
  • Broader regulatory weaknesses, including slow government processes for registering new businesses, and approving uses of new technologies.

Since ITIF launched GTIPA in 2016, the Alliance has doubled in size to include 34 members across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. GTIPA serves to highlight and cross-pollinate organizations’ work on trade, globalization, and innovation policy, and to collaborate on events, research, reports, and efforts to develop policy on related topics.

All GTIPA members sign a Shared Statement of Principles, with the goal of advancing a global agenda that encourages greater market- and rules-based global competition and trade liberalization, while at the same time championing a vital, constructive role for governments in accelerating growth and prosperity through greater innovation.

Read the report.