Paper on the General Theory of Innovation

Rainy reflections. Oslo Opera House. November., Photo credit: Trine Syvertsen | cc

Mart Laatsit and Charles presented a draft paper at the EU-SPRI Conference in Oslo on June 9 – 11, 2021. The title of the paper was “Do Activities and Functions Reflect what Happens in Innovation Systems: Towards a General Theory of Innovation”. The paper is still under development. The following is an excerpt from the introduction to the draft paper:

“It is sometimes argued that innovation is a too complicated matter to make it possible to talk about causality related to innovation processes. It means that innovation processes cannot be explained and that we must forget the whole issue of causality in innovation research and innovation policy.

However, we argue that we need to know about causal relationships to understand innovation processes, especially why and how they emerge. Similarly, it is impossible to design and pursue innovation policies without having an idea about the main causes or determinants of the innovation processes that we want to influence by public policy. The same goes for firm innovation strategies. For example, the selection of innovation policy instruments must be based upon knowledge about which factors that influence innovations processes. Without such knowledge it is better to abstain from trying to pursue innovation policies or firm innovation strategies. The above means that we need a theory of innovation, in order to connect the causes and effects.”

The title of the EU-SPRI Conference was “Science and Innovation – an uneasy relationship? Rethinking the roles and relations of STI policies.