Angela M. Zimbleman
Florida International University
National Innovation Systems
1) Introduction to the concept of National Innovation Systems 3 2) Brazil and its System of Innovation 10 3) Taiwan’s experience 21 4) Singapore’s successful National Innovation System 36 5) Conclusion 46 6) References 48
Introduction to the concept of National Innovation Systems
For years, a country’s level of competitiveness was determined by the relative abundance, or scarcity of the resources it had. However, in the last decades, a country’s level of development and its ability to compete in the global arena has been, and is currently determined by their ability to innovate and to generate outcomes that promote its economic growth. The purpose of this paper is precisely to analyze this ability within a country. Innovation is not a straight line process; this is why our main focus will be addressing the concept of National Innovation Systems. This concept establishes a framework for the interaction and relationships among people, companies and institutions necessary to generate the adequate flow of knowledge for the previously mentioned purposes of economic growth and global competitiveness. Once we have analyzed and understand the concept of National Innovation Systems, we will describe the way three countries; Brazil, Taiwan and Singapore, have incorporated it. First of all, we need to define innovation. Innovation is a multiple step process , researcher and economy professor Lynn Mytelka stated that the innovation process “ involve[s] continuous interactivity between suppliers, clients, universities, productivity centers, standard setting bodies, banks and other critical social and economic actors” (Mytelka, 2001, p. 3). Innovation is not concerned just with new inventions and discoveries, but rather with useful application of these. It goes beyond research and development. Inputs, human capital and the adequate interaction among them shape the success of the process’ outcome. It “is a ubiquitous phenomenon in the modern economy. In practically all parts of the economy, and at all times, we expect to find on-going processes of learning, searching and exploring, which result in new products, new techniques, new forms of organization and new markets” (Lundvall, 2000, p. 8 Based on the eminent importance of innovation for a nation’s development, the concept of National Innovation Systems is born. The concept was first introduced by economist Christopher Freeman in the eighties. Its ultimate goal is to promote a nation’s economic growth. It involves the set of agents and institutions in a country, as well as connections and interactions between them. In the national level, meeting the goals requires government participation through economic policies and creation of institutions. One of the currently dominant definitions of this concept states it is: … that set of distinct institutions which jointly and individually contribute to the development and diffusion of new technologies and which provides the framework within which governments form and implement policies to influence the innovation process. As such...