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Contents of IMP Journal issue 3, volume 5
Rethinking Innovation Policy
‘Current economic and social challenges are enormous and often global in nature. Innovation can help accelerate the recovery and put countries back on a path to sustainable – and greener – growth.’ (Ministerial report on the OECD Innovation strategy, May 2010). Innovations that can make new and old companies prosper, invest, employ, and hereby contribute to tax incomes and to a nations’ growth – through solutions that at the same time can solve problems related to a nations’ economic, environmental and social issues. In short, this is the contemporary political demand list on innovation. With the current societal challenges in mind, the governmental expectation on what companies, supported by national innovation policy, can contribute with
is undoubtedly high. However, empirical studies of innovation, among others the research carried out in the IMP setting, underlines that the business landscape is network like, where related material and immaterial investments have a strong impact on the content and effect of any renewal attempt. What do then these network-like characteristics of the business landscape mean for policy attempts to boost innovation?
The aim of this paper is to outline hindrances and opportunities for public policy to influence industrial renewal, given that the ambition is to contribute to the policy investing nations’ significant, stable contributions to transnational supplier and/or user networks.
Public Policy and Industry Views on Innovation in Construction
Lena E. Bygballe and Malena Ingemansson
In several countries, governmental agencies have long expressed their concerns about the construction industry’s
performance, its low productivity and inability to innovate. At the same time public funding of construction-related research and development (R&D) has been reduced, and the responsibility for improving performance transferred to the industry. Drawing on a study on the Swedish and Norwegian construction industries, this paper investigates public policy and industry views on construction innovation, and compares these views with recent theoretical conceptions of innovation, from a network perspective. The findings reveal that the governmental bodies facilitating and funding construction R&D, and the construction industry itself, display partly different views on innovation, both in terms of what innovation actually means and what spurs innovation in this particular setting. The contribution of the paper is twofold: firstly, it reveals different views and
discusses their implications for innovative behaviour, and secondly, it suggests some key policy and managerial implications of the study from a network perspective of the business landscape
‘Betting on Science or Muddling Through the Network’. Two Universities and One Innovation Commission
Enrico Baraldi and Alexandra Waluszewski
Since the mid 1990s the OECD, the EU and many national innovation policies have pointed to universities as the most important direct providers of solutions to use as sources of innovations for growth and societal welfare. Also, through their respective governments, universities are exposed to rather detailed requirements on how to fulfil the increased direct utilisation of research results. This paper takes a closer look at how two internationally recognised universities from the same country, namely Sweden, addressed the innovation commission. A case study investigates how the Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University interpreted and implemented the Swedish government’s commission on an increased utilisation of publicly funded research for innovation. The main finding is that both universities’ ways of fulfilling this commission are more directed towards ‘betting’ on potential innovations than on ‘muddling through’ the context of innovation
Global Policy Networks’ Involvement in Service Innovation. Turning the Mobile Phone into a Wallet by Applying NFC Technology
Per Andersson, Jan Markendahl and Lars-Gunnar Mattsson
The mobile phone attracts an increasing number of service applications enabled by technical developments. On-going efforts aim to widen the scope of mobile payments and “turning the mobile phone into a wallet” with the help of Near FieldTechnology (NFC). A number of industries are involved in this development. To enable large scale commercial application of the new technology for mobile payments, several global industry associations, what we label Global Policy Networks (GPNs), are involved in standard setting, certification, visions and promotion of business applications, etc. The purpose of the paper is to analyze the role of GPNs in establishing global policies to enable business actors to develop and implement local policies applying the new technology for business purposes. The paper focuses on how some yet to be settled global policy issues affect local policies
To Solve the Impossible. From Necessity to Success with the Help of Business Network
Tibor Mandják, Krisztina Bárdos, Edit Neumann-Bódi, Sarolta Németh and Judit Simon
Our story focuses on how to solve the impossible, despite dramatic changes in the business landscape. One of the key elements of the present business success of Macher Kft (Ltd), a cable assembly company that started its business activity more than twenty years ago as a typical necessity-driven enterprise, is the fact that the company is capable of solving the seemingly impossible – based on the requirements of its customers (details will unfold later in this article). The title of the article is also metaphorical, since the case study of Macher Kft provides an opportunity for us to conduct a deeper analysis of the process through which the managers of the enterprise have achieved business success, perhaps even sustainable business success, with the aid of their business network. In the early stages of a company, necessity plays a crucial role, so we shall focus on it in more detail. This article shall first provide an overview about the necessity phenomenon and its business-related correlations. Following
that, we examine how existing material and immaterial investments can be utilized in necessity-driven innovation, through interaction with counterparts on the supplier and user side. We investigate this from the aspect of small and medium sized enterprises pursuing business activities in Hungary after the change in the political regime. The core component of our work is the Macher case study that we present in the third part of this article. We shall analyse this case from various aspects of necessity- and business network-related correlations in the fourth part of this article. Finally, we shall conclude this study with some summarizing remarks. The analysis shows that the business network, naturally, has played and still plays a decisive role in the life of the company. The case also presents the changes in network dynamics and how the significance of the various actors has changed and can change. Macher Kft and its leaders have also shown how to forge capital from disadvantageous network impacts, namely, how to establish a new sales strategy and client management strategy.
An important lesson of the Macher case is that a business network can make a significant contribution to the success of a necessity-driven enterprise.