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Innovation policy evaluations must be systemic

A new study shows that only 6 out of 28 EU countries have a truly systemic approach when evaluating their innovation policies. This has important consequences for the quality of policy making.

Mart Laatsit’s and my study compares all 28 EU countries, examining the extent to which they have applied a systemic approach to the evaluation of their innovation policies.

Countries have a systemic approach to evaluation when their have a wide coverage of evaluation elements, when they assess innovation policy performance in the context of the innovation system, when they have a high regularity of evaluation practices, and when they use a diversified expertise.

The findings surprised us because only 6 out of the EU28 countries have actually developed a truly systemic approach to evaluate their innovation policies. 13 other countries have some traits of it, whereas 9 countries have no real evaluation practices of their innovation policies.

This shows that European countries have in general important deficiencies when it comes to learn from their own policies. The lack of evaluation (or limited evaluation) is is a major hurdle for evidence-based policy making, and for policy learning.

Therefore the findings call for the need to build organizational capacity for policy learning. Organizational capacity that actually fits the needs of policy advice in each country.

It also calls for identifying mechanisms and incentives to make countries making that step, and for developing a set of methodologies most suitable for evaluating the specific nature of their innovation policies and innovation system.

Link to the published study: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2018.08.020

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