chapter  1
27 Pages

Who Drives Innovation?: John Rigby, Yanuar Nugroho, Kathryn Morrison and Ian Miles


The development of new products, processes and services can be organized and led by many diff erent actors in the economy and takes place at many diff erent levels. After a strong government leadership of economic growth and development through extensive funding of technology programs during the 1960s and 1970s, the 1980s saw Western governments beginning to withdraw from the innovation process to a signifi cant degree. During the 1990s, governments increasingly moved to assume enabling and regulatory roles, emphasizing freedom of choice for consumers in product and factor markets alike. Government has sought to facilitate innovation rather than leading it or driving it. But a number of recent policy initiatives arising within the EU suggest that there is now a wish to reverse this trend by making government once again a key actor in the innovation process, on the one hand through public procurement, and on the other hand, through giving government a key role in coordinating and leading so-called ‘social innovation’.