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Governance of Innovation Systems

VOLUME 3: CASE STUDIES IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY


This book provides lessons from case studies in policy governance for the information society
and sustainable development. It highlights important lessons from these policy areas
for the governance of innovation policy, and illustrates mechanisms and practices for better
co-ordination and integration across policy areas.

Governance
of Innovation
Systems

Companion volumes to this edition are:


Governance of Innovation Systems Volume 1: Synthesis Report
Governance of Innovation Systems Volume 2: Case Studies in Innovation Policy

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Volume 3: Case Studies in Cross-Sectoral Policy

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GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION SYSTEMS

The full text of this book is available on line via these links:

VOLUME 3: CASE STUDIES


IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY

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FOREWORD

Foreword
This publication constitutes Volume 3 of Governance of Innovation Policy, a threevolume compilation of the proceedings of collaborative work in the MONIT project
(Monitoring and Implementing National Innovation Policies). This volume, Governance
of Innovation Systems: Case Studies in Cross-sectoral Policy, provides an overview of
analytical work on policy governance in OECD member countries participating in the
project. The policy areas under scrutiny are the information society, sustainable development and transport policy. The aim of these studies is to draw lessons for innovation
governance from policy areas with characteristics similar to those of the broader area of
emerging innovation policy. The chapters also serve as empirical support for Volume 1 in
the series: Governance of Innovation Systems: Synthesis Report.
The publication was prepared under the aegis of OECDs Committee for Science and
Technological Policy (CSTP) and its working party on Technology and Innovation Policy
(TIP). The report was edited by Svend Otto Reme who also co-ordinated the MONIT
project together with Mari Hjelt, Pim den Hertog, Patries Boekholt and Wolfgang Polt.

GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION SYSTEMS: CASE STUDIES IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY ISBN-92-64-03571-0 OECD 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword

Executive Summary

Part 1.

Governance and the Information Society

11

Chapter 1.

Governance in Austrian Information Society Policy:


Progress without Strategy?

13

Chapter 2.

Information Society Governance and Its Links to


Innovation Policy in Finland

35

Chapter 3.

Information Society Policy Co-ordination:


A Mould for Innovation Policy Development in Norway?

65

Chapter 4.

Innovation and the Information Society:


Policy Coherence and Governance in Ireland

93

Chapter 5.

Horizontal Co-ordination of Innovation Policies:


Information Society Policies in the Netherlands

115

Chapter 6.

Information Society Governance in Greece:


One Swallow Does Not Make a Summer

145

Chapter 7.

Towards the Information Society:


The Case of Sweden

169

Part 2.

Governance in Sustainable Development

171

Chapter 8.

Policy Integration:
The Case of Sustainable Development in Finland

191

Chapter 9.

Environmental Policy Integration:


How Will We Recognise It When We See It?
The Case of Green Innovation Policy in Norway

221

Chapter 10.

Linking Innovation Policy and Sustainable Development


in Flanders

245

Chapter 11.

Moving out of the Niche: Integrating Sustainable Development


and Innovation Policy in Austria

271

Chapter 12.

Patchwork Policy Making:


Linking Innovation and Transport Policies in Austria

297

GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION SYSTEMS: CASE STUDIES IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY ISBN-92-64-03571-0 OECD 2006

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Mari Hjelt, Wolfgang Polt and Svend Otto Reme

Background: the MONIT project


The OECDs project on National Innovation Systems (NIS) was initiated in 1995.
Under the Working Party on Technology and Innovation Policy (TIP) it set out to explore
the requirements for redirecting innovation policy in OECD countries, taking into account
new insights into the innovation process that arose from the research on innovation at that
time. While many accepted that the linear model of innovation did not capture the
realities of the innovation process, it was acknowledged that public policy still relied
upon the linear model and its implications for policy. Hence, the OECD NIS project
became an important collaborative mechanism for generating new data based on the
interactive model of innovation and for developing a set of recommendations for public
policy.
Formally, the OECD NIS project was concluded in 2001. It generated several
publications on industrial clusters, networks, human mobility, synthesis reports on the
renewal of innovation policy, and it also fed into other OECD work. However, the
concluding work (OECD, 2002) raised a critical question that was the starting point for
the current MONIT project. If the developed economies are becoming more innovationoriented and dynamic, can national governments and their policy-making modes remain
largely unaffected? More precisely, given the changes needed in policy, how can or
should governments change their structures and processes to better accommodate the
dynamism in their environments?
To explore these issues, the OECD and its Working Party on Technology and
Innovation Policy (TIP) endorsed in 2002 a new collaborative study called MONIT
(monitoring and implementing national innovation policies). The project was organised in
two work packages: one studied the main innovation governance issues in each country
and the other studied selected policy areas with characteristics relevant to innovation
policy. Volume 2 contains the results of the first of these packages and this volume
contains the results of the second.
MONITs basic assumption was that innovation policy and its governance require
significant changes. While the linear and systemic models of innovation can be seen as
the first and second generations of innovation, MONIT set out to explore the foundations
of the third generation which views policy making as a process, along with its
institutional, structural and political characteristics. Seen from the point of view of a firm,
this model represents a nexus in which policies interact and produce innovation
outcomes. Achieving coherence of innovation policy across ministerial boundaries is
therefore seen as key to successful governance.

GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION SYSTEMS: CASE STUDIES IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY ISBN-92-64-03571-0 OECD 2006

8 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Learning from horizontal policy areas
Innovation policy has typically been seen as an extension of R&D policy involving a
number of instruments and policies that stimulate the innovation process, such as scienceindustry relationships, intellectual property rights, and industrial networks and clusters.
However, as economic development has become more dependent on innovation and as
growth patterns worldwide become more volatile and dynamic, innovation and growth
may need broader stimulus from governments than has generally been the case. Hence,
innovation policy may increasingly need to be redefined and expanded to encompass a
wider set of policy domains.
This raises at least two key issues. First, governments will need to develop capabilities for broader or more horizontal governance spanning ministerial and other
institutional boundaries. This requires learning from policy domains with such characteristics. The MONIT project therefore included the study of policies on the information
society and sustainable development as well as transport and regional policy.
Second, it raises the issue of the relationship between innovation policy and other
areas. These relationships may be supportive or unsupportive, creating challenges for
balancing the links between them. Governments will also need to learn more about
options and barriers to integrating diverse policy areas and thereby develop a policy
environment that is coherent and conducive to innovation in the economy.

A guide to the volume


In the MONIT project, the study of policies for the information society was a core
activity, as most countries have given priority to national initiatives to promote
development with the support of information and communication technologies (ICT).
Further, several countries studied linkages between innovation policy and policies for
sustainable development, as the latter have been given importance as a principle under
which to subsume other policy areas and priorities. These topics are therefore at the heart
of this volume.
The chapters are typically shorter versions of the studies conducted. Lessons derived
from the studies are treated in Volume 1, the synthesis report, which also contains
summary analytical reports on the information society and sustainable development
(OECD, 2005a).

Part 1: Governance and the information society


In Chapter 1, Wolfgang Polt and Julia Schindler describe how Austria has failed
twice to produce an overall strategy for information society policy, but has nevertheless
succeeded in promoting ICT diffusion and use in various fields, such as e-government.
They also describe obstacles and failures in specific policy domains and provide
examples of policy learning from successes and failures.
In Chapter 2, Juha Oksanen analyses Finnish policy for the information society and
the vital links with innovation policy. He argues that a principal driving force for both the
information society and innovation policy have been concerns about countries international competitiveness and wealth creation in the global economy. Also, innovation
policy and development of the information society have many features in common. Both
policy domains are based on a strong commitment and protection of consensus among
major stakeholders representing the public and private sector.
GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION SYSTEMS: CASE STUDIES IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY ISBN-92-64-03571-0 OECD 2006

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In Chapter 3 Trond Einar Pedersen studies the Norwegian national plan for the
information society and argues that the current governance situation represents a delicate
policy dilemma. While overall economic policy takes a hands-off approach, with a lesser
role for state involvement, the current organisation of eNorway (the term for the national
policy) open possibilities for more hands-on implementation and co-ordination.
Chapter 4 contains an analysis by Paulina Ramirez, Murray Scott and Willie Golden
of Irelands information society policy and the missing linkages with innovation policy.
They argue that an important reason for the lack of coherence between the two policy
areas is the science-push character of Irelands present STI policy which makes coordination with other policy domains difficult.
In Chapter 5 Pim den Hertog and Hilde de Groot present the Dutch information
society, arguing that ICT has become an enabler of broad transformation processes in
both industry and the public domain. However, most actors see ICT simply as an enabler
in their primary processes and do not see a clear link to innovation. Thus, they do not
develop an information society/ICT policy with a view to increasing innovation or
developing a knowledge economy, and this impedes horizontal co-ordination.
In Chapter 6, Lena Tsipouri and Mona Papadakou study recent developments in
Greece against a backdrop of inflexible hierarchies, low competitiveness and incomplete
infrastructure. Innovation policy and information society policy had little in common, but
Greeces introduction of an information society initiative highlighted governance gaps,
and new governance structures were implemented to overcome the inherent weaknesses
in horizontal co-ordination. If successful, this initiative may help to modernise Greek
governance.
Chapter 7 by Kristina Larsen, Patrick Sandgren and Jennie Granat-Thorslund is an
analysis of the governance challenges in Sweden. It highlights the high degree of
decentralisation in the Swedish model which results in a high level of efficiency but also
illustrates a need to improve horizontal co-ordination in the context of handling more
substantial changes in policy agendas.

Part 2: Governance in sustainable development


In Chapter 8 Mari Hjelt, Sanna Ahvenharju, Mikko Halonen and Mikko Syrjanen
study the need for integration between science, technology and industry policies and
policies for sustainable development, and conclude that despite the challenges related to
expanding science and technology (S&T) policy to a broader innovation policy, there is
both a need and an opportunity, from the point of view of sustainable development, to
broaden the policy scope. However, there are also several challenges and barriers. This
suggests that policy integration requires basic changes in policy formulation and
implementation to generate effective interfaces.
The issue of policy integration is also at the heart of Chapter 9. William Lafferty,
Audun Ruud and Olav Mosvold Larsen develop a benchmark for assessing the integration
between innovation and sustainable development policy as green innovation policy.
The findings indicate that Norway actively promotes vertical environmental policy
integration, but that specific and direct efforts towards green innovation are practically
non-existent.

GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION SYSTEMS: CASE STUDIES IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY ISBN-92-64-03571-0 OECD 2006

10 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Chapter 10 is a study by Ilse Dries, Peter van Humbeek and Jan Larosse of the
linkages between policies for innovation and sustainable development. The focus is on
the policy response to the industrial lock-in of the Flemish innovation system in materialand energy-intensive production systems. The way out in system innovation demands a
long-term transition to a new, less resource-intensive and more knowledge-intensive
economy.
In Chapter 11, Brigitte mer-Rieder and Katy Whitelegg illustrate the barriers to
integration of innovation and sustainable development policies in Austria, and show that
this partly hinges on the fact that sustainability policy is not an established policy field
and that innovation policy is not recognised as an effective key driver for sustainable
development.
In Chapter 12 Katy Whitelegg shows that even in cases where two policy areas are
located in a single ministry, there are wide gaps between them. She highlights the
importance for policy integration of lack of understanding of neighbouring policies and
shows that perceived missions help to keep separate policies that might otherwise be
more integrated.

References
OECD (2002), Dynamising National Innovation Systems, OECD, Paris.
OECD (2005a), Governance of Innovation Systems, Volume 1: Synthesis Report, OECD,
Paris.
OECD (2005b), Governance of Innovation Systems, Volume 2: Case Studies in Innovation
Policy, OECD, Paris.

GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION SYSTEMS: CASE STUDIES IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY ISBN-92-64-03571-0 OECD 2006

11

Part 1
GOVERNANCE AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION SYSTEMS: CASE STUDIES IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY ISBN-92-64-03571-0 OECD 2006

GOVERNANCE IN AUSTRIAN INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY: PROGRESS WITHOUT STRATEGY?

Chapter 1
GOVERNANCE IN AUSTRIAN INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY:
PROGRESS WITHOUT STRATEGY?
Wolfgang Polt and Julia Schindler
Institute for Technology and Regional Policy, Joanneum Research Ltd., Austria

Against the background of developments of the past decade, this chapter takes a skeptical
view of the possibility of steering developments in sectors as divers as e-government, ebusiness, e-health, e-learning, etc., through a grand design and an overarching strategy.
It describes how Austria has twice failed to produce a general information society
strategy, but has nevertheless succeeded in promoting ICT diffusion and use in areas such
as e-government. Obstacles and failures in specific policy domains are discussed and
examples are provided for policy learning from both success and failures. Among various
ways of achieving policy coherence, some have also been quite successful. The study
suggests that with sufficiently strong communication channels, institutions and incentives
for self-organised co-operation and mutual policy learning, effective Austrian information
society policies can be achieved.

Introduction
Austrian information society policies in the past decade have been marked by a
discrepancy between the size and structure of the ICT-producing sector and the diffusion
and use of ICT in various sectors of economy and society (for an overview of recent
Austrian performance, see Schneider et al., 2004). The former has been according to
most indicators close to or even below the EU15 average. Investment in ICT is not very
high and the Austrian pattern of industrial specialisation is not very geared towards ICT,
although successful niche players in some fields have established themselves as highly
competitive in their respective markets. As a result, unlike other small open economies
such as Ireland or Finland, Austria did not profit from the new economy boom of the
1990s.
However, while Austria lagged in ICT diffusion in most fields in the 1980s, it later
caught up rapidly and even approached top rankings in some fields, e.g. early up-take and
high penetration rates of mobile telephony, broadband and wireless broadband access to
the Internet, and e-government. Even taking these positive developments into account,
however, the general perception is that there is still much room for better ICT use
throughout the economy and society.
In Austrian information society policy, there is at most a weak link between
horizontal science, technology and innovation (STI) policy and the relevant sectoral
policy (e.g. health, business, transport). Thus, the current policy challenge for information

GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION SYSTEMS: CASE STUDIES IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY ISBN-92-64-03571-0 OECD 2006

13

14 GOVERNANCE IN AUSTRIAN INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY: PROGRESS WITHOUT STRATEGY?


society policies in Austria is to further enhance ICT up-take by demand- and missionoriented policies (especially in fields like e-government, e-education, e-health and
transport) and to combine this with policies fostering R&D and innovation in the ICTproducing sector (Schneider et al., 2004).
Against this background, in 2001 the Austrian Council for Science and Technology
Development asked the three ministries with the main responsibilities for science,
technology and innovation policy (i.e. the Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour, and the Ministry of Education,
Science and Culture) to co-ordinate their information society/ICT programmes and to
bring forth a common and coherent concept. For this purpose an inter-ministerial ICT
working group was established, consisting of representatives from the three ministries
and the Council. This inter-ministerial working group subsequently commissioned a study
on the Governance of Austrian Information Society Policy in order to gain insight into
the roles of the players, their interaction and co-ordination mechanisms. The study was
produced in the context of the NIS MONIT project (Ohler et al., 2004), and the main
results are presented here.
The study started off from the observation that past attempts to formulate a coherent
strategy for information society policy were not successful. It was therefore necessary to
analyse not only the current institutional setting and its policy co-ordination mechanisms,
but also the reasons why previous attempts had not succeeded. A process-oriented
historical approach was adopted.1 This allowed for analysing the actors incentives and
motives, the barriers to communication and co-ordination, as well as path dependency
and policy lock-in. As there is no, or very little, quantitative data available on information
society policy processes, a qualitative approach was used, based on structured interviews
with key players (a list of institutions covered can be found at the end of the chapter).
Furthermore, important strategy documents and institutional mapping, i.e. a description of
the formal relationships and distribution of competences, were examined.
The chapter briefly describes historical developments in the different sub-fields of
information society policy, namely e-government, e-health, e-learning, e-business and
science, technology and innovation policy for ICT along with the institutional settings
and policy agendas specific to each field. Next, the different stages of the stylised policy
process are addressed: agenda setting, policy formulation and co-ordination, implementation, and policy learning. These stages of the policy cycle are analysed by applying
key concepts of systems theory to the policy process. These concepts, such as context
specificity, path dependency, localised learning and accumulated knowledge, can help
explain the main characteristics of these processes. The final section draws conclusions
about how the policy process might be (re)shaped to allow for the formulation of coherent
policies under the constraints of multiple actors, divided competences and asynchronous
policy agendas.

Historical development and formal organisation of information society/ICT policy


Historical development of Austrian information society policies
While some countries launched broad information society policy initiatives in the late
1980s and early 1990s, political awareness of the topic in Austria came only in the
aftermath of the publication of the Bangemann Report (European Commission, 1994)
and the US Information Highway initiative. The Alpbach Technology Forum in August
1994 marked the establishment of information society policy as an important policy field
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in Austria. On this occasion, the Chancellor stated the need for political action and the
government declaration of November 1994 took up the topic of the information society.
Information society technologies and applications were just around the corner. Several
technologies were mature enough to enter the market. The government initiative was
declared to be of highest priority, and this created high expectations.
Subsequently, a first attempt was made to create a coherent strategic view on
information society policy. A number of working groups were created, involving a large
number of the most important stakeholders. These working groups produced recommendations for action and listed fields of potential policy challenges, which were made
public in a final report (Federal Chancellery, 1996). In March 1997 the report was
accepted. This was the first strategic document for information society policy in Austria,
but it never had the status of a White Paper as similar documents did in other countries.
No funding was specifically allocated for the strategy as a whole, and no central responsibility was defined to supervise and monitor the process. Mainly, it was left to the
respective actors in the various policy fields to use the document as a (non-binding)
guidepost. Ten years later, interviewees hardly remembered it as having led to increased
policy co-ordination or coherence. As a point of comparison, the Bavarian initiative
Bavaria Online, which was started at the same time, was allocated substantial financial
resources and was put into practice within a couple of months.
A main reason for the reluctance of government to actually use the document as a
means to formulate and implement an overarching strategy might have been that interests
of stakeholders were diverging: while some were asking for rapid liberalisation of the
telecommunications sector, powerful actors (public-sector trade unions) resisted change.
As a result, the telecommunications sector was liberalised at the last moment in Austria,
after all other EU countries. Moreover, the government did not pay enough attention at
the time to the challenges arising for governance when dealing with such cross-cutting
policy matters as the information society (whereas other countries had already established
special responsibilities and structures within government to deal with information society
matters in the form of information society envoys or secretaries).
On the other hand, while it failed to provide an umbrella for the coherent strategic
orientation of actors, the information society initiative mobilised the most important
players, some of which then started follow-up activities. A number of national and
regional Internet initiatives were started in 1994-95 (e.g. the Austrian Platform for Telematics Applications APTA), a specific programme, Technologies for the Information
Society, was started by the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF), and e-government
initiatives were launched (e.g. the digitalisation of the public administration) or envisaged
(e.g. the creation of an electronic social security e-card).
It was only in 2000 that another initiative to formulate an overarching strategy for
information society matters emerged. The main impulse came from the EU in the form of
the European Commissions e-Europe initiative. The Austrian e-Austria in e-Europe
initiative was started as a large-scale effort to formulate an information society strategy.
Another important reason why the information society topic returned to the Austrian
policy agenda was the change of government in 2000. The Ministry for Public Services
and Sports established in 2000 led the e-Austria initiative and set up an information
society task force, Taskforce e-Austria. Its purpose was to propose aims and action lines
to strengthen Austrias position in the e-technology environment.

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The taskforce developed a concept paper, which again did not become an official
document of the federal government. The reasons were twofold: first, there was
insufficient involvement of major stakeholders and second, political responsibilities for
information society matters were not clearly assigned from the start. As a result, the other
ministries responsible for information society matters did not accept the Ministry for
Public Services and Sports de facto responsibility for the information society. Some
ministries also felt that their work was being held up because they had to wait for an
overall information society strategy and were unable to implement already welldeveloped sectoral information society measures.
As was the case with its predecessor, although no overall, commonly accepted
information society strategy was developed through the e-Austria in e-Europe initiative,
it did motivate several information society activities in various sub-fields, giving rise to
more coherent sectoral policy approaches, which are described below. For example, it
led to the formulation of a strategy for the promotion of e-business activities by the
Ministry for Economic Affairs and Labour and also paved the way for the creation of an
e-government board and subsequently the creation of an e-government strategy.
In sum, two major attempts to formulate an overarching information society strategy
failed. Some of the reasons can clearly be viewed as policy weaknesses (lack of allocation
of funds, competences, process responsibility and process ownership, lack of awareness
of the challenges for governing cross-cutting policy matters). Others are intrinsic to the
complexity of the process (large number of actors, different incentives or disincentives to
co-operate, time and effort needed for co-operation). If some of these barriers remain in
place, there is little chance for future success. On the other hand, even in the absence of
an overarching information society strategy, many policy initiatives in various
information society sub-fields were successfully initiated. Institutional innovations were
also triggered, as in the case of e-government. Where major projects failed, this was less
because of a lack of co-ordination between the relevant information society policy subfields or with innovation policy, but because of reasons such as poor project management.
Examples of successes and failures are given below.

Current setting: formal organisation of ICT policy at the central government


level
To date, the main policy makers for information society policy are the Ministry of
Economic Affairs and Labour (ICT innovations, e-business, e-content), the Ministry for
Transport and Innovation (ICT innovations, R&D), the Ministry of Education, Science
and Culture (e-learning, IT for schools, polytechnics and universities) (Figure 1.1). These
ministries have formed an inter-ministerial working group on ICT, in which the Austrian
Council for Research and Technology Development is also involved. Another important
player is the Ministry of Finance (electronic documents and payments, e.g. of taxes). The
Federal Chancellery is in charge of e-government. The dominant players are the Chief
Information Office (co-ordination of horizontal e-government activities, development of
strategies and solutions), the e-Government Platform (with political responsibility for egovernment) and the e-Co-operation Board (with operational responsibility for egovernment) (Figure 1.2).

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Figure 1.1. Basic institutional setting of Austrian information society policies

E-government
Co-ordination bodies

Federal
Chancellery

Government

Council for Science and Technology Policy


Ministry of
Finance
Ministry of
Economics
and Labour

Ministry of
Transport,
Innovation and
Technology

WG
on
ICT

Ministry of
Education,
Science,
and the
Arts

Interministerial Working Group


on ICT

E-government
E-government initiatives have been a significant driver of Austrian information
society policies, and, in the absence of a generally agreed overarching information society
strategy, act as a major driver for other policy fields. In this area, major institutional
changes have taken place in order to cope with information society matters.
The major institutional innovation in this realm was the creation, motivated by
government and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, of the Chief Information
Office and chief information officer in August 2001. This was done partly to overcome
the shortcomings of the existing working groups for e-government issues, which worked
somewhat at cross-purposes, partly as a reaction to a controversial e-government benchmarking study.2 The expert group on benchmarking blamed the lack of an e-government
strategy for Austrias low ranking, and an e-Government Platform was created, along
with the chief information officer. Furthermore there has been institutionalised cooperation between the ministries, the federal government, the Lnder (federal states) and
the municipalities. Co-ordination between the federal government and the Lnder takes
place regularly through two working groups: one for technical and the other for legal
issues (see Figure 1.2).
Figure 1.2 shows the dual structure of the technical and organisational strategic units,
which helps overcome the problems associated with allocation of e-government responsibility to IT representatives who emphasised the technical dimension and neglected the
organisational and political aspects.

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Figure 1.2. E-government institutions in Austria

-E-Government Platform
Head: Federal Chancellor

Executive
Secretary
E-Cooperation Board

CIO
Political
level

ICT Board

Federal states
(Lnder)

Implementation
level

Federal
government

Cities

Technical
level

Municipalities

The ICT board is responsible for co-ordinating horizontal e-government activities on


the federal level, seeking e-government solutions and planning relevant strategies. The
position of chief information officer was entrusted to a professor of information
technology, who had previously worked on the e-health card and the electronic signature.
The e-Government Initiative 2003 led to the establishment of the e-Government
Platform at the political level, assisted by the e-Co-operation Board on the operational
level. The e-Government-Platform led by the Federal Chancellor put forth a roadmap,
including a master plan for joint projects, financing models, an implementation
framework and general objectives. An e-government strategy consisting of several
modules was established. Both the chief information officer and the executive secretary
are assisted by the administrative officials of the Chief Information Office.
According to interviewees, the ICT board (headed by the chief information officer),
the e-Co-operation Platform (headed by its executive secretary) and the e-Government
Platform have been fairly successful. During interviews, policy representatives stated that
e-government is well co-ordinated, that the mechanisms are suitable for achieving
consensus and that e-government in Austria is very modern, advanced and highly
competitive in international comparisons (especially for the back office and the electronic
file). A key factor leading to the perceived success of the Chief Information Office was
the fact that it was equipped with adequate resources, including about 20 employees.
Also, the units are integrated. The Chief Information Office tries to build consistent and
transparent e-government structures. The commitment of the Federal Chancellor was an
important success factor.
As a result, Austrias performance in e-government has improved significantly over
the past years, especially with respect to implementation and back-office applications. For
example, Austria has a leading position in the category electronic file.
Among weaknesses can be noted the lack of integration of ministerial departments
into e-government processes. Some interviewees stated that they did not know the Chief
Information Office or the e-co-ordination representative of their own ministry. Likewise
the Chief Information Office and e-co-ordination representatives of a ministry often did
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not know who was working on information society innovation issues in their ministry.
Clearly, there is a lack of transparency concerning responsibilities for information society
issues within ministries. The breadth and cross-sectoral properties of information society
matters make this difficult, but it is essential to improve transparency and awareness
within ministries.

E-health: ICT in the health sector


ICT is used in the health sector for diagnosis, therapy methods and instruments. The
main focus of the discussion of ICT use in the health sector, however, is on ICT use in
administration and inter-organisational data transfer (i.e. health certificates, transmission
of diagnostic findings and medical records). Health telematics has become an important
topic in information society policy discussions.
In contrast to the homogeneous and hierarchical structure of e-government, the health
sector consists of highly heterogeneous players: resident doctors, hospital doctors,
hospitals, hospital operators, health insurance providers, health ministry, social ministry
and interest groups. Hospitals are also heterogeneous owing to the diverse ownership
structure (there are public, private and religious hospitals). ICT use is affected by these
complex organisational-institutional constellations. Co-ordination, introduction of de
facto standards and guidelines, compatible incentives and acceptance are essential but
difficult to achieve owing to the heterogeneity.
Health policy, social security and retirement pension insurance policy are interlinked,
but are divided among two ministries. The Ministry for Health and Women has to share
some of its competence in health matters with the Ministry for Social Security,
Generations and Consumer Protection. This divided responsibility has advantages and
disadvantages. With respect to e-health the division is seen as a disadvantage.
The Ministry for Health and Women has authority for ICT applications in the health
sector, but does not use it for various reasons, such as the low level of attention to ICT
within the ministry, as well as the strength of institutions such as hospital associations and
the social security carriers. Furthermore, some issues are dealt by the Lnder. The
ministry is not allowed to order a reduction in hospital beds or the shutdown of a hospital,
although it can make suggestions. The ministry might intervene in other ways, e.g. cutting
back government aid for certain hospitals, which might lead to a reduction in hospital
beds or the closure of hospitals. However, it generally does not use this method, owing to
local interests and the power of policy players. It also does not make use of its legislative
and co-ordination powers for policy design and implementation.
The e-card offers an example of the difficulties of implementing an e-health
strategy. The e-card project is the e-health project that has received the most policy
attention in the past years. In 1999 the main association of social security carriers was
given the assignment to introduce a wide-reaching electronic administration system, in
particular to introduce a chip card to replace paper health certificates. A call for tender
was held in 1999. In April 2001 the task was commissioned to a general contractor
consortium EDS/Orga.
Conflicts about contract requirements and specifically the extent of services to be
rendered led to the early termination of the contract on the part of the main association of
social security carriers. In spring 2003 a new call for tender was issued. Instead of
seeking a general contractor, the project was now split into several sub-projects.
Currently, the main function of the e-card is to replace the paper health certificate, but it
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should be designed to enable future extensions. For example, the storage of patient
records on the e-card is being discussed. Widespread use of the e-card is expected for
2005. The e-card will not comply with the strict security requirements of the Austrian
Signature Law, which would have enabled it to be used as a citizen card for other egovernment services. Although the federal government had wanted the e-card to meet the
high security requirements of the citizen card, no one was willing to share with the
social security carriers the high costs that would have been involved.

E-education and e-learning


The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture is responsible for the information
society sub-fields of e-education and e-learning. As in other areas, impetus from the EU
played an important role in policy formulation. The EU Council resolutions of Feira and
Lisbon influenced the establishment of the e-Fit Austria programme, which promotes
the broad and sustainable use of modern ICT in education, science and culture through
numerous initiatives and projects.
The programme is an example of policy co-ordination by programme steering: e-Fit
Austria integrates the activities of all units in a thematic programme. The decision to coordinate activities via a joint thematic programme was also used as a lever for internal
institutional reforms. An IT steering committee was established to co-ordinate the
programme. It co-ordinates the activities of ten ministry departments, related international
activities, and strategic partnerships with industry and other national players. There are
several working groups, ties with international co-ordination groups (the e-learning
industry group) and strategic partnerships with industry. The concentration of activities
helped overcome the diversity of activities, organisational barriers and the previously low
degree of co-ordination.
The New Media in Teaching initiative is another successful sub-programme. It
supports projects to develop software applications for teaching in universities and
polytechnics. Its aims are quality improvements in teaching, easier access to education,
interdisciplinary co-operation and networks, and systematic integration of the funded
innovations into classes and teaching. Subsidies are an incentive for the continuous
development of new media in teaching and the strengthening of the community. Detailed
preparation involved stakeholders, and contacts were sought with polytechnics, universities, students and industry (federal economics chamber, multimedia firms). The
involvement of stakeholders in the preparation process and communication and networking in the implementation process were important for enabling the very first example
of co-operation between universities and polytechnics in development projects.
The programme builds on the multimedia teaching material programme of the
1990s. The early existence of ACOnet (the Austrian Academic Computer Network) is
another important factor, as it made possible broadband data cable connection between
universities as well as broadband Internet to European research and science networks. In
the early 1990s, tertiary learning institutions were linked through medium-speed broadband. More recent programmes and initiatives were able to focus on content and pedagogy, because the infrastructure was already available.
The eFit programme and the New Media in Teaching programme serve as a basis for
further programmes and reforms (within the ministry, schools and tertiary education).
Awareness and acceptance will continue to be necessary, and diffusion is expected to
become a more important topic. Among the important elements of a well-structured
process are the following:
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Extensive research to define the target groups and the type of specific thematic
priorities.

Integration of existing institutions and initiatives.

Selection of project carriers through a rigorous procedure involving a two-stage


assessment.

Existence of a person, generally with relevant know-how and competence,


responsible for every thematic priority. Some priorities also received support
from external project bureaus.

High priority given to achieving sustainable results. Project participants are


required to update their products.

Feasibility and support studies to analyse and better co-ordinate demand, target
groups and impact.

Within this policy field, as in e-government, an institutional setting seems to have


been found that ensures a high degree of (internal and partly also external) policy
coherence.

E-business
Explicit public measures to support ICT development and applications were taken as
early as the late 1970s.3 In the 1980s and early 1990s use of ICT for intra- and inter-firm
processes received little attention, except for electronic data exchange (EDI) between
organisations, which focused work on i) the development of standards, and ii) the spread
of underlying technologies, standards and applications. Data exchange, between firms
(the automobile industry was the pioneer user) and between banks and between firms and
public institutions, especially tax and customs authorities, constituted the dominant field
of application.
Until the mid-1990s the Ministry for Science and Research and the Ministry for
Public Economy and Transport had the main responsibilities for this area of information
society policy. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour did not have an important
role. The only information society activity for which the Ministry of Economic Affairs
and Labour was exclusively responsible was representation of Austria in standardisation
institutes concerning EDI. It also had joint responsibility with the Ministry for Science
and Research for the IMPACT programme.
The beginning of information society discussions in 1994/95 and the establishment of
the information society working group led to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and
Labours greater involvement in information society policy. The Technologies for the
Information Society programme, carried out by the ITF, fell partly under the
responsibility of the Ministry for Economic Affairs, which initiated two focus areas for
the programme: EDI Business Austria and Multimedia Business Austria. The ministry
decided to focus on areas in which it already had some expertise. This also ensured that
the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Labour became a central player in information
society matters.
In 2000 the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Labour widened its coverage of
information society activities with the launching of the E-business in a New Economy
initiative, also in the context of the EUs e-Europe initiative. This was a full-fledged
strategy process involving a large number of stakeholders. A steering committee and
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seven parallel working groups, involving 300 persons, were established and led by
representatives from business and science. The working groups made 35 proposals
clustered around six action lines: Information and Awareness, Start-up and Growth
Potential of Internet Firms, R&D, e-Content Austria, Technology Transfer and Location
e-Austria, Gateway to the East.
This scheme not only developed new programmes and action lines, but also integrated
existing measures, thus allowing for policy coherence over time. Furthermore a
monitoring group was established and revision of strategies and measures was planned as
a part of the process.
The scope was such as to include R&D and innovation policy, but went beyond the
narrow confines of R&D. It addressed a number of broad information society topics
(e.g. regulatory and legal aspects of e-business). It is a good example of strategy
definition and of integration of information society policy and innovation policy in a
narrow sense, but it did not extend outside the ministry.

R&D and innovation policy for ICT


The competence for ICT research and development and innovation policy mainly lies
with the Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology and the Ministry for
Economic Affairs and Labour. The former focuses on ICT R&D, whereas the latter
focuses more on ICT applications and their diffusion.
Austria has a broad range of measures (indirect support via R&D tax breaks, direct
support via thematic programmes, dedicated institutions, infrastructure build-up, etc.) to
support R&D. These include non-targeted support for R&D, targeted support in the form
of thematic programmes oriented towards ICT, and thematically oriented programmes
which address ICT along with other targets.
In terms of non-targeted support, figures for indirect support are not available. For
direct support for R&D projects that are defined as bottom-up, some 40% goes to ICT
according to a recent evaluation of the major technology fund. Also, in the Competence
Centre Programme, which funds the establishment of research organisations jointly run
by academia and business, a considerable share of non-earmarked funding goes to ICTrelated centres (between 30% and 40%).
In the cluster programmes, which are mostly carried out by the regions, some clusters
are either entirely ICT or have a large ICT component. Since the mid-1990s most
Austrian Lnder have recognised the significance of technology and innovation policy
and have allocated significant amounts of money. Regional technology policy and
regional ICT activities were introduced essentially simultaneously in several Lnder.
Styria, Salzburg and Upper Austria developed specific information highways and teleregions, often with EU support. These initiatives started in 1994.
Specific thematic programmes supporting R&D and diffusion of ICT have been in
place since the early 1980s: e.g. the microelectronics/information-processing programme.
This programme, even by todays good-practice standards, was quite advanced: there was
systematic co-operation, each of the ten action lines was under a lead scientific institute,
supporting social science research was carried out and an extensive evaluation followed.
In the mid-1980s, the establishment of the Innovation and Technology Fund led to several
ICT-specific programmes, in computer-integrated manufacturing and software as well as
the above-mentioned Technologies for the Information Society. With the fading out of
these programmes, few thematic programmes now focus on generic ICT technology
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development. Currently, there is only the FIT-IT programme, initiated by the Ministry for
Transport, Innovation and Technology, which aims at stimulating longer-term, more
advanced research in selected thematic areas (e.g. embedded systems).
Finally, ICT also figures prominently in other thematic technology programmes,
particularly in the transport sector, where a large programme on intelligent transport
systems and services comprises components on transport telematics, logistics, satellite
navigation, etc.
Especially for the thematically oriented R&D and diffusion-oriented programmes,
one could hope to find close co-ordination on the policy agenda of the information
society and innovation policy. However, there seems to be hardly any link: while this is
not surprising for the bottom-up projects, even dedicated programmes like the FIT-IT
programme has not so far incorporated information society topics into its portfolio. The
same is by and large true of the thematic programmes with other orientations, but with a
high ICT component, such as the transport-oriented research programmes. There is no coordination between departments of the same ministry to bring together transport policy,
information society policy and RTD policy. The main reason is that the transport policy
department and the innovation policy department see themselves as culturally very
different and with incompatible goals (e.g. securing/improving public transport vs.
fostering risky innovation projects).
Thus, the field in which information society policies and innovation policies might be
best linked is the one with the least developed institutional setting to do.

Agenda setting
This section focuses on agenda setting in information society innovation policy. How
do discussions, topics, measures, programmes and policy areas arise? Why are broad
strategic concepts developed from time to time? Are some methods less successful than
others? Does best practice exist? This studys findings on agenda setting processes in
Austrian information society innovation policy are presented below.
Issues arrive on the political agenda through a variety of channels. Many arise quite
spontaneously without going through a formal process. Therefore, the way in which a
topic appears is often not observed by the external observer.
Agenda setting is influenced by many factors: the distribution of formal responsibility, successful previous programmes, existing networks, dedicated persons, dominant
organisations, internal distribution of tasks and changes in the organisational structure,
general administrative reforms, (benchmarking) reports, presence in EU programmes and
policies.
In Austrian information society policy, the EU is an especially important factor in
strategic policy formulation. Both recent attempts to arrive at an overarching information
society strategy were based on EU initiatives. EU policies thus strongly affect Austrian
information society agendas. The EUs influence is not only due to political documents
(such as the Bangemann Report, the e-Europe Initiative), but also to thematic priorities in
the framework programmes, e.g. the e-Europe initiative and the IST programme. The EU
agenda is filtered through the local operational logic; for example, the IST is translated
into the Austrian FIT-IT programme. The importance of the EU in shaping national
politics is likely to increase further, especially with respect to infrastructure and
standards.
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Historic development paths are another important factor affecting the emergence of
agendas. The development of an agenda, its contextual design and its implementation are
often based on previous activities, responsibilities or experiences, e.g. on previous
programmes, responsibilities for particular agendas (especially EU), current or previously
established networks, and previously successful approval procedures. As a result, established competences are enhanced and strengthened, but this also leads to gaps and blind
spots. This must be taken into account when trying to understand the difficulties the
administrative system had (and has) in coping with the challenges of horizontal policy
matters like the information society.
During the study, it was observed that players seek to minimise the expected coordination effort and show a clear preference for local autonomy in agenda setting. The
localised nature of such efforts seems to be a relatively stable pattern and was found in all
policy sub-fields, because of: i) the local nature of knowledge and experience; ii) the local
nature of networks and memberships; and iii) the low incentive for crossing borders.
Localised behaviour does not necessarily cause activities to be narrowly defined, as
illustrated by e-Business in a New Economy and e-government activities.
The above remarks support the hypothesis that the process of agenda setting is
predominantly context-specific, contingent and local. The question is the extent to which
more rational approaches to policy formulation are possible, i.e. policies that are i) proactive, ii) horizontal/global in nature and iii) avoid contextual randomness.
New and sometimes radically new agendas arise with the advent of so-called
change agents. Windows of opportunity for change agents are especially large when
changes in government occur, especially when a new government comes into power. New
governments tend to be more active in setting new directions, overcoming barriers and
interrupting or putting off current information society policy processes. It was observed
that the new government that came into power in 2000 in Austria meant new directions,
new people and the formation of new networks. This helped overcome lock-in situations,
but the changes in personnel also led to the disappearance of accumulated know-how and
(partly) destroyed old networks. Strong change agents can act as points of orientation or
centres of gravitation for other players and implement changes that would not occur
otherwise.
Over the ten years of discussion about an information society in Austria, there were
two attempts to develop a global concept. The first document, in 1996, received little
notice as a lead document, but the preparation work was a starting point for several
initiatives. The second initiative in 2000 likewise did not produce a global strategy
document that was accepted by the government, but it also sparked several smaller
initiatives. Where stakeholder groups were involved, the mobilisation effect was successful. Moreover, owing to the complexity of the topic, it is increasingly difficult to
develop concepts requiring a high degree of experience and contextual knowledge. It is
therefore unlikely that another global ICT or information society strategy initiative would
succeed.
An alternative to the construction of global concepts is the systematic detection of
gaps (bottleneck analysis). The search for explicit needs for action has many advantages. It is not necessary to screen the whole system, but only to identify developmenthindering factors and, on that basis, to design appropriate measures. Moreover, the clock
can be repaired while ticking. and some contextual constraints can be overcome. This
study did not find this kind of agenda-setting, but it would appear to be quite attractive.
As an example, in the Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, the IT
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innovation department designed an IT research programme in an area where the


department saw a funding gap, i.e. a bottleneck, in the structural context.
Just as most firms formulate a vision and goals, it is useful for a public body to
formulate its aims and instruments. This is helpful in creating internal and external
clarity. It defines a framework for agenda setting and makes it easier to determine
whether ideas match the general goals of the organisation and to justify them. If explicit
guidelines, in the form of meaningful mission statements and strategies, do not exist,
there is more room for determining the agenda through personal relationships. However,
informal agenda setting runs a higher risk that some players will not be heard.
Even if public bodies do not explicitly discuss which topics reach the agenda and
how, there is one formal mechanism that is very influential in agenda setting. The
(annual) budget planning is the point at which agendas are defined and agenda priorities
are newly formulated. In ministries with few formal agenda-setting mechanisms,
interviewees complained about not being heard. The interview partners did not
explicitly blame this on the lack of formal mechanisms, but felt that their ministry lacked
interest in information society matters, that their superiors did not attach importance to
information society matters or that they were not well-connected within the ministry.
This can occur in any policy area, but it is a greater problem for a horizontal policy area
when the people responsible are ignored or given little prominence in the vertical power
chain. The existence of formal co-ordination and interaction channels within ministries is
important for articulating a horizontal policy area within the ministry.

Policy formulation and co-ordination


Policy formulation
Austrian information society policy formulation largely occurs in a local setting. Each
ministry formulates its activities and programmes and does not necessarily take into
account what is happening in other departments and institutions. Policy formulation
generally focuses on department plans for near-term activities. In this sense, policies are
rather small-scale and short-term and can lead to duplication and to a lack of vision or
missing the big picture. The strongly local orientation is due to the fact that gathering
and co-ordinating information about other public institutions is perceived as costly. This
is discussed below in further detail.
As compared to the many examples of local policy formulation, two attempts to
formulate a global information society strategy stand out. In both cases, a lot of resources
were devoted to the strategy formulation. A large number of people were mobilised for
brainstorming in working groups and the processes were quite time-consuming. The
content of the first global strategy was viewed as acceptable by most relevant policy
players at the time, while the content of the second strategy was heavily criticised. The
two processes differed in that the first involved many stakeholders and policy players,
whereas the second was outsourced to external experts and did not involve a number of
important policy players from the ministries.
Both cases of the global information society strategies focused strongly on the content
of the strategies, but did not focus enough attention on the process to implement the
policies. This led to the fact that neither of the two attempts to formulate an information
society strategy were implemented.

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26 GOVERNANCE IN AUSTRIAN INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY: PROGRESS WITHOUT STRATEGY?


Co-ordination
Policy co-ordination is important for the effective use of public resources, for
example to avoid policy duplication. A horizontal policy area such as the information
society, which is spread over a multitude of public bodies, requires horizontal coordination to connect the information society sub-areas and vertical co-ordination to
embed the information society areas into specific ministries policies. Co-ordination is a
common means of addressing coherence.
In general co-ordination appeared to have an ambivalent status among actors in
Austrian information society policy. In theory it is seen as extremely important, but it is
also difficult for the players to appropriate the returns on their investment in the cooperation. Co-ordination and co-operation are often seen as an additional burden, as an
increase in complexity and as leading to additional uncertainty. This is because more
information has to be processed and co-ordination is not free from hidden strategic
motivations among the players involved. Recently, a third reason has emerged: coordination and co-operation require additional resources without necessarily creating a
compensating gain. Current constraints on budget and personnel resources act as
disincentives to engage in co-operation and co-ordination.4 This constitutes a relatively
stable pattern of behaviour, one that is observed not only for information society policy.
The degree of co-ordination needed varies among the different information society
policy areas. E-government for example is an area in which broad co-ordination is
necessary as it affects all ministries. Furthermore, e-government instruments such as the
electronic file are to be implemented by all ministries in a similar way. The rather
homogenous structure of the players involved and the general relevance of the measure
make it an area that is potentially easy to co-ordinate, when the area is given thought and
when resources are set aside for the programme.
Other information society areas such as e-learning and e-education affect only one
ministry, thus requiring very little inter-ministerial co-ordination (inter-ministerial
information exchange can still be useful, however). In this case the players involved in
information society-related education policy (e-learning, e-teaching) are identical to the
players involved in education policy in general. Co-ordination might still be difficult, but
no additional co-ordination is necessary. Horizontal information exchange with IT
research units could be useful, for example to start joint measures for the development of
modern e-learning tools.
The information society area e-health consists of a large diversity of players. Coordination is extremely difficult but involves the same players as health policy in general.
Co-ordination problems that arise are not due to the horizontal property of information
society policy but to the complex structure of the health sector in general.
Co-ordination in the area of information society technology research is difficult,
because research and technology policy is cross-sectoral. IT research is an area of
information society policy which requires co-ordination and currently involves too little.
The difficulty of co-ordination here is not specific to information society policy, but is
due to the fact that technology policy is a horizontal policy area that affects a
heterogeneous group of players. An added difficulty is the fact that successful IT research
and innovation depend on many factors, including a well-functioning education and
science system, the presence of IT researchers and IT firms and a healthy business
(creation) environment.

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The amount of co-ordination needed depends on the number and heterogeneity of the
players involved. Sometimes formal co-ordination is unnecessary and information
exchange is sufficient to avoid duplication and to create awareness. Co-ordination boards
can be decision-making bodies or can serve for information exchange purposes only.
Experience has shown that the establishment of a co-ordination board does not ensure
successful co-ordination. It is very important that co-ordination boards consist of
representatives with the knowledge and decision power to fulfil the aims of the board.
Co-ordination boards do not necessarily require high-ranking officials, but the members
need to be adequate for the purpose. Successful co-ordination requires adequate financial,
personal and managerial resources. Some co-ordination boards aim only to exchange
information; they are useful as long as the participants gain insight from attending the
meetings. This will be the case when the representatives are capable and willing to share
information that is relevant for the others. Co-ordination boards that do not fulfil their
purpose should be dissolved or their aims should be adapted to their capabilities. In order
to ensure the effectiveness of co-ordination boards, it is good to be open to changes in the
participants and to allow fresh insight to enter.
Stakeholders are often involved in co-ordination activities. Successful co-ordination
and co-operation require differentiating between stakeholders who are participants and
supporters of interests and those who are carriers of knowledge. This is more easily
achieved when the core competency has been described and there is a clear definition of
roles.
On the programme level, examples of successful co-operation and co-ordination were
found. This is facilitated when there is a clear definition of roles and the necessary
knowledge is available. The integration of different support channels under the e-Fit and
New Media for Teaching programmes are cases in which the combination of steering
committees, forums and external counsellors led to stability and good information
exchange.

Implementation
Much that has been said about co-ordination and coherence efforts is also true for the
implementation of measures, because coherence efforts are themselves part of implementation. A second observation is that the status of implementation has greatly changed
within the last ten years. Implementation has become a separate issue and numerous new
public management concepts have entered policy actions.
The strategy formulation exercises showed that concepts, lead documents and (global)
strategies that were not planned with a view to implementation risk ending with the
production of the final document, leaving open whether or not they will be implemented.
This is definitely not ideal, because good ideas may be wasted and because those who
took part do not see any returns to their efforts and lose interest or become frustrated.
Personnel and financial resources need to be allocated to implementation to achieve
good results. This is true for strategy concepts, and was also the case for the e-card. The
failure of the first attempt to introduce an e-card (for the health system) depended
significantly on the underestimation of the resources needed by the social security carrier
to carry out the desired plans.

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In many cases, implementation is a process based on division of labour, involving
ministerial departments, agencies and private firms. This is very prominent in the
programmes of the Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology and in parts of the
Ministry for Economic Affairs and Labour. There has been some criticism that the
division of labour has reached a level that makes governance difficult to sustain because
of the lack of process ownership. This is not a problem only in the information society
context.
On the programme level there are numerous cases in which the quality and originality
of concepts and programmes were not determined by the content but by the method of
implementation. Many of the case studies (Chief Information Office, e-FIT, New Media
for Teaching, e-Business) can be seen as supporting examples.

Policy learning
The analysis of learning processes and effects gives very ambiguous results, as in the
case of the two information society strategy formulation exercises. Although the first
exercise made clear that it is not sufficient to create a strategy document, but that efforts
must be made to implement the new ideas, the second information society strategy made
the same mistake. A final document was produced, but was not even circulated within the
department. Positive effects resulted from the exercise in that some of the brainstorming
activities led to new initiatives, but it is not possible to conclude that the second
information society strategy initiative had learned how to conduct a strategy exercise.
Examples of successful learning do however exist. Integrated learning processes were
used in a number of government support programmes, especially in IT research and
development support programmes. Explicit justification for measures, monitoring
throughout the duration of the measures and evaluation (which has nearly become a
standard measure) are clear evidence of this. This does not exclude the possibility that the
justification was carried out unsatisfactorily or that monitoring and evaluation results
were not utilised to create improvements. Learning processes, such as the evaluation of
particular measures and the establishment of information channels, still need to be
established or improved in all areas of information society policy. This is especially true
for the health sector.

Main findings and suggestions for policy


This chapter analyses Austrian information society innovation policy, looking at
historical development, current status and degree of coherence of information society
innovation policy. Interviews with important policy players gave insight in the different
stages of the policy cycle (agenda setting, policy formulation, implementation, coordination and learning).
Information society policy is no longer a new cross-sectoral policy topic. In the 1980s
and 1990s information society innovation policy had some difficulty positioning itself in
the departmental structure of the federal ministries, but information society topics are
now quite well established. Owing to the relative maturity of the policy area, departmental units have had time to build up competence and establish their responsibilities for
specific information society innovation policy matters. This has led to clearer definitions
of information society policy responsibilities. With respect to transparency and allocation
of responsibilities, the coherence of Austrian information society policy has certainly
increased.
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Another important development affecting Austrian information society innovation


policy is the growing influence of European-level information society innovation policy.
EU initiatives and aims affect Austrian agenda setting and lead to a significant degree of
synchronisation of the agenda, especially in information society R&D policy. EU
initiatives and guidelines lead to greater coherence among European nations, but also in
Austrian information society policy itself.
The maturity of the policy area is also reflected in the fact that large-scale information
society innovation strategy concepts are no longer developed; current information society
innovation policy now consists of many small initiatives. Owing to the fact that many
institutions are involved in information society innovation policy and all are working on
their own, there is a strong need for co-ordination. Although total policy coherence is an
ideal which cannot be achieved in the real world, working towards coherence is definitely
desirable. Austrian information society innovation policy lacks coherence in some
aspects, e.g. when a duplication of initiatives occurs (in ICT research and development)
or when players do not co-ordinate well (e-health).
Information society policy measures have proliferated in various domains in recent
years. Many departmental units have created their own programmes, in some of which
their aims or instruments overlap with other measures. The costs of checking whether any
one else is already conducting a similar initiative and discussing possible alterations seem
too high compared to possible benefits. Some pressure to co-ordinate does exist within
departments, but depends on the structures. Generally there is less motivation to coordinate with more distant policy bodies, e.g. other ministries and other agencies. Coordination is sometimes enforced from above by the Council for Research and Technology Development (as for the ICT programmes of the three ministries) .
A study by Dachs et al. (2003) on the factors of success and failure in Austrian IST
development5 concludes that Austrian political institutions showed little concerted effort
to actively push information society policy. Instead they stress the importance of EU
stimuli through White Papers and regulation as well as the interest of the private sector
(Dachs et al., 2003, p. 17). They also believe that Austria would be doing even better in
some indicators if there had been a stronger public policy push towards the information
society.
Possible policy conclusions for the different phases of the policy cycle are noted
below.

Agenda setting
Agenda setting can take place as a formalised process or can be continuously adapted.
Agendas can be determined top down by high-ranking bodies or can arise through
suggestions and ideas, e.g. from interest groups. An important factor in shaping the
national agenda has been EU policies, which represent an orientation point for national
agendas and serve as a natural mechanism to align policies and provide ideas.
Localised information society policy strategies are useful for orientation and as
guidelines both for the organisation itself and for indicating how its activities differ from
those of other organisations. Global or overarching information society strategies are
theoretically useful for creating more coherence among policies, but face a much more
difficult task. Apart from the difficulty of devising and designing such a strategy, it faces
the risk of not being accepted by all stakeholders.

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30 GOVERNANCE IN AUSTRIAN INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY: PROGRESS WITHOUT STRATEGY?


The systematic detection of ways to improve the current strategy (bottleneck analysis)
is an alternative to the construction of overarching strategies. It consists of identifying
development-hindering factors and then designing helpful measures. This approach has
the advantage of being more realistic about what can be achieved and thus has a better
chance of acceptance and implementation.
Significant revolutionary changes rarely occur in agenda setting. One point in time
when agendas are strongly modified is when new governments come into power and
create new change agents. They often set new directions and lead to the creation of new
networks (however, they may also destroy old agendas and old networks).

Level of policy co-ordination


Policy co-ordination is important for the effective use of public resources, especially
in a cross-sectoral policy matter that needs to be embedded both in the departmental
structures and linked between departments. The degree of co-ordination needed varies
among information society policy areas, depending on the areas structure. Whereas egovernment policy often deals with a large number of homogenous players, e-health
consists of a large number of heterogeneous and influential players, making it very
difficult to achieve consensus and to plan measures without formal co-ordination.
Sometimes information exchange is sufficient, at other times formal co-ordination boards
are needed.
When co-ordination boards are needed, it is very important that they consist of
representatives with the knowledge and decision power to fulfil the aims of the board.
Boards do not necessarily need high-ranking officials, but the members need to have the
necessary qualifications and power.

Policy implementation
In order for concepts to become a reality, it is very important to carefully plan and
carry out the implementation. The quality and originality of concepts and programmes are
greatly affected not only by the content but also by the method of implementation. For the
implementation to be successful, adequate resources are necessary for:

Ex ante activities, e.g. detailed content planning and maybe foresight.

Co-ordinating activities, e.g. the involvement of stakeholders in all phases of the


programme.

Outward communication, awareness-building activities.

Use of analytical tools such as evaluation, monitoring (project supervision),


benchmarking.

Concepts, lead documents and (global) strategies that were not planned with respect
to their implementation have a great danger of remaining ineffective or having unplanned
(and undesired) effects. In the past, policy makers have tried to outsource the implementation of initiatives; however, public organisations need to retain some process
ownership. In order to formulate the outsourced duties, the contracting authority needs
some managerial and hierarchical competence. This is imperative for achieving the
intended results of an initiative.

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Policy learning
Integrated learning processes, such as policy evaluation and the establishment of
information and feedback channels, are necessary for successful policy learning. A
combination of local and higher-ranking policy learning must exist in a complex policy
area such as the information society. The establishment and provision of strategic intelligence, i.e. organised information provision, can be done through various instruments
(market studies, technology assessment, technology foresight, monitoring, evaluation).
To sum up, there is considerable room for increasing policy coherence in the field of
information society policy in Austria. At present, there appears to be at most a weak link
between information society policy and technology and innovation policy. On the other
hand, even in the absence of an overarching information society strategy, policy has
reacted to the challenges of the information society. This was often done in a localised
way, that is, with the borders of the respective administrative competences. In the various
sub-fields of information society policy, failures were found, but also different ways to
achieve policy coherence, some of which have succeeded quite well. It also emerged that
there might be limited need to co-ordinate everything and everybody in the form of a
grand strategy. The reasons why attempts have failed twice in the past are still in place.
If there were communication channels, institutions and incentives for co-operation that
are sufficiently strong to allow for self-organised co-operation and mutual policy
learning, Austrian information society policy would be successful.

Interview partners
Interviewees held responsibilities for information society matters in the following
institutions:

Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology

Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour

Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture

Federal Ministry for Health and Women

Federal Ministry of Finance

Federal Ministry of Justice

Federal Chancellery

Chief Information Office

E-Co-operation Board

City of Vienna Chief Executive Office ICT Strategy and Management

Vienna Science and Technology Fund

Council for Research and Technology Development

Main Association of Austrian Social Security Institutions

Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications

Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

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32 GOVERNANCE IN AUSTRIAN INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY: PROGRESS WITHOUT STRATEGY?

Public Employment Service

Austrian Medical Association

Competence Centre FTW (Research-Centre Telecommunication Vienna)

Imagination (industry partner in the competence centre Virtual Reality and


Visualisation (VRVis)

Telekom Austria AG

Mobilkom Austria AG & Co KG

Siemens AG

Infineon Technologies AG

Education Highway Innovation Centre for Schools and New Technology GmbH
(Educational Server Upper Austria)

Notes
1.

For details of the approach, including the interview guidelines, see Ohler et al., 2004.

2.

Databank Consulting, eEurope 2005 Key Figures for Benchmarking EU 15, SIBIS, April 2003.

3.

ICT was already being funded earlier, but under different names.

4.

In some departments there have been reductions in personnel along with increased generosity regarding
resource transfers to third parties. Outsourcing of services requires search, communication, acceptance of
the service, appropriation on the part of the outsourcing side and specific resources. In an increasing
number of cases, not only the provision of a service is outsourced but also the tender, the choice of
outsourcing partners and the acceptance of the service.

5.

The Austrian case study forms part of a study by ESTO (2003) on Identifying factors of success and
failure in European IST-related national/regional developments.

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References
Austrian Council for Science and Technology Development (2002), Nationaler
Forschungs- und Innovationsplan, Vienna.
Austrian Federal Chancellory Bundeskanzleramt, Bundespressedienst (ed.) (1996),
Informationsgesellschaft. Endbericht der Arbeitsgruppe der sterreichischen
Bundesregierung, Vienna.
Austrian Federal Chancellery (1996), Informationsgesellschaft, Final Report of the
Working Group of the Austrian Federal Government, issued by Federal Chancellery,
Federal Press Service, Editor: E. Grossendorfer, Scientific Editor: N.G. Knoll, Vienna,
December.
BMWA (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour) (2001), Final Report of the
E-business in a New Economy Initiative, Vienna.
Boekholt, P. (2002), Towards Policy Integration in P. Boekholt (ed.), Innovation
Policy and Sustainable Development: Can Innovation Incentives Make a Difference?,
Contributions to a Six-Country Programme, Conference, Brussels, 28 February1 March 2002, pp. 141-146.
Boekholt, P. (ed.) (2002), Innovation Policy and Sustainable Development: Can
Innovation Incentives Make a Difference?, Contributions to a Six-Country
Programme, Conference, Brussels, 28 February-1 March.
Dachs B. et al. (2003), Identifying Factors of Success and Failure in European ISTrelated National/Regional Developments: Austrian Case Study, ESTO/arcs.
Databank Consulting (2003), eEurope 2005 Key Figures for Benchmarking, EU 15,
SIBIS.
e-Austria Taskforce (2001), e-Austria: Strategische Ziele und Aktionslinien fr die
sterreichische Bundesregierung, Empfehlungen an die Bundesregierung, Vienna.
European Commission (1994), Bangemann Report Europe and the Global Information
Society: Recommendations to the European Council, Brussels.
European Commission (2001), European Governance A White Paper, Brussels.
European Commission (2002), eEurope 2005: Eine Informationsgesellschaft fr alle,
Brussels.
European Commission (2004), Europa und die globale Informationsgesellschaft
Empfehlungen an den Europischen Rat, Brussels.
Ministry for Science and Transport Bundesministerium fr Wissenschaft und Verkehr
(1999), Grnbuch zur sterreichischen Forschungspolitik, Vienna,
http://www.bmbwk.gv.at/medienpool/3746/gruenbuch.pdf.
Ohler, F., W. Polt, A. Rammer, and J. Schindler (2003), Governance in der
sterreichischen Politik im Politikfeld Informationsgesellschaft Interviewleitfaden,
Vienna.
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34 GOVERNANCE IN AUSTRIAN INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY: PROGRESS WITHOUT STRATEGY?


Ohler, F., W. Polt, A. Rammer, and J. Schindler (2003), Governance in der
sterreichischen Politik im Politikfeld Informationsgesellschaft Hypothesen zum
Thema IKT Governance, Working Paper, Vienna.
Ohler, F., W. Polt, A. Rammer, and J. Schindler (2004), Governance in Austrian
Information Society Policy.
Posch, R. (2003), e-Government Entwicklung in sterreich, Bericht Juni 2003, Chief
Information Office (Stabstelle IKT-Strategie des Bundes), June.
Schindler, J. (2003), OECD Information Technology Outlook 2004 -- Country Report:
Austria, Joanneum Research, Vienna.
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sterreich, study on behalf of the Austrian Council for Science and Technology
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INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE AND ITS LINKS TO INNOVATION POLICY IN FINLAND

Chapter 2
INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE AND
ITS LINKS TO INNOVATION POLICY IN FINLAND
Juha Oksanen
VTT Technology Studies

Development of the information society and science, technology and innovation (STI)
policy making are closely intertwined in Finland. Concerns about international
competitiveness and wealth creation in the global economy have been a driving force for
both. They also share decision-making and policy features and are based on a strong
commitment to and protection of consensus among major public and private stakeholders.
They sometimes differ in terms of the administrations and actors involved in policy
making.
The information society has been on the policy agenda since the mid-1990s and a number
of strategies and action plans have been drafted at the national, regional and local levels.
Their preparation has often involved actors from various administrative sectors as well as
stakeholders representing private companies and civic associations. However, leadership
and co-ordination in implementing information society activities have been lacking. In
particular, it has been argued that co-ordination of information society policies
horizontally across sectors and vertically between local, regional and state authorities is
insufficient. Improving co-ordination is one of the main goals of the new Information
Society Policy Programme and Information Society Council launched by the government
in autumn 2003.
Overall, Finlands STI policy making has been more concrete and more coherent than
policies promoting the development of the information society. Interestingly, the success
of STI policy making is partly based on a well-established division of labour in the
central government. In these areas, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Trade
and Industry, with agencies in their respective fields, have been the principal policymaking actors. Horizontal innovation policy, which crosses administrative boundaries,
poses new challenges to current STI policy making, which is still largely sectoral. The
question arises whether truly horizontal innovation policy can rely solely on values and
goals inherent in science and technology policy making or whether it must take into
account broader societal issues, goals and values.

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36 INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE AND ITS LINKS TO INNOVATION POLICY IN FINLAND


Introduction
This chapter focuses on governance in the development of the information society in
Finland and the dialogue with innovation policy. It brings out both challenges and
opportunities relating to horizontal policy making and governance. In the policy debate
the notion of the information society is linked to the development of information and
communication technologies (ICT) and the prospects for industry and the economy. At
the same time, the term has also been closely associated with a broader range of societal
issues, such as education, e-democracy and sustainable information society development.
The need to reconsider the governance modes of the politico-administrative system
has various sources, some of which are endogenous while others arise from changes in
the political and operational environment. The challenges to be faced show the need for
horizontal and vertical co-ordination of public policy activities as well as for coherence
and policy learning:

The current political administration is highly departmentalised and this adversely


affects interdepartmental exchange and co-operation (Edler et al., 2003).

Shifting of decision-making power from the national level to sub-national


(regional and local) and supranational (EU) authorities.

The nature of the issues on policy agenda is changing and there are an increasing
number of cross-cutting issues structured around client groups rather than
around functional policy areas (Peters, 1998).

In the face of such challenges, governments are looking for new, more collaborative
governance models that entail working through networks rather than hierarchies. This
requires a variety of co-operative arrangements involving actors from the public sector,
the private sector and civil society associations. Greater collaboration is needed not only
between government and its non-governmental partners, but also among ministries which
are managing policies in a more horizontal manner and are working with each other in
more co-ordinated ways.
This study has three major goals: i) to describe policies that support development of
the information society; ii) to map information society links with STI policies; and iii) to
analyse the opportunities and challenges of horizontal innovation policy from the viewpoint of the information society. To this end, the focus is on the paths followed in the
development of the information society, with special attention to (potential) links to STI
policies, on how the information society policy agenda is set in practice, on the degree to
which information society activities are co-ordinated horizontally across administrative
fields, and on the kinds of policy learning processes, if any, that can be identified in
Finnish information society policy.
The major focus is on policy making at the central government level. However,
reference is also made to policies and initiatives on regional and local levels, even though
they have not been reviewed as systematically as the central government. The case study
on the eTampere programme comes under the umbrella of the information society study,
but is reported separately. The decision to focus on the central government is due to the
number of information society projects and actions on local and regional levels: it is
estimated that in 2002 there were several hundred ongoing national projects on the
information society, but closer to 1 000 at the regional and local levels.1

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This chapter covers a wide range of empirical material and includes both primary and
secondary sources. The studies cover information society and STI policy issues. In order
to go beyond the surface of official descriptions of strategies provided in formal policy
documents and to get a better grasp of questions relevant to the MONIT project, three
case studies were selected for closer review, with the idea that they could illuminate
different aspects of potential connections between information society and innovation
policy. They are presented in Annex 2.A.
The next section discusses briefly the emergence of the notion of the information
society and outlines some major features. Attention then turns to the evolution of the
information society in Finland through a concise overview of its development since the
1970s. The following section presents the key actors, before describing, in the subsequent
section, the links between the development of the information society and STI policy. The
balance of the chapter gives a more detailed review of the different phases of the
information society policy-making cycle, from agenda setting to policy formulation and
co-ordination and then to evaluation.2 Within this heuristic framework, it is possible to
deal with specific aspects of policy making, such as policy coherence, vertical and
especially horizontal co-ordination across administrative sectors, and policy learning.

The information society as a complex policy domain


Studies on the information society can be understood as an attempt to grasp the
changes taking place in industrial societies over the last decades. Researchers have highlighted various societal aspects in order to describe how this evolving society differs from
that of the past. Depending on viewpoint and theoretical lenses, different reasons for the
transformation have been identified and stressed; they may be technological, economic,
occupational, cultural or spatial. This has led to a plethora of definitions and fashionable
labels: post-industrial society, service society, post-modern society, risk society, network
society, knowledge-based society and information society, to name a few.
The definitions are not mutually exclusive, and the notion of the information society
incorporates various aspects of apparent changes in different areas of social life, from the
economy to culture. Even so, technologically oriented interpretations have been particularly evident in policy discourse. Rapid advances in ICT and the growth of information
networks are commonly perceived as a defining feature of the information society. From
a policy viewpoint, the development of ICT presents challenges but also opens up opportunities for governments, companies and citizens. From the early 1990s, the European
Union, national governments and regional and local authorities have adopted information
society strategies and programmes to smooth and advance the expected structural changes.
According to Schienstock et al. (1999), four key themes have dominated the policy statements: the information society would supposedly guarantee economic competitiveness
and employment; bring ecological advantages; intensify democracy; revolutionise our
ways of living and working with the help of new communications technologies.
By its nature, the information society raises genuinely horizontal policy issues that
cross various societal boundaries. The all-encompassing character of the information
society it is everywhere and nowhere blurs the limits and content of the phenomena
that the term attempts to capture. In addition, there are signs that the pervasive and rapid
diffusion of ICT throughout society is weakening the information society as an organising
notion for policy making. When the use of ICT becomes a natural part of everyday life, it
seems increasingly hard to define what makes the information society a distinct policy
issue.3
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38 INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE AND ITS LINKS TO INNOVATION POLICY IN FINLAND


Therefore, it would appear that the success of ICT to which the concept of the
information society has been firmly anchored may be crowding out the latters potential
to deliver a politically compelling vision for the future. Of course, it is the narrow
definition of the information society which focuses on the development, diffusion and use
of ICT that may have become somewhat outmoded. However, the potential social impacts
of the information society for issues such as e-democracy have largely still to materialise.
It is worth recalling that ambiguity in terms of concepts and symbols is part and
parcel of politics and policy making. The capacity of concepts and symbols to have
multiple meanings is not a negative feature of policy making as it is of science because it
enables coalition building and compromise. Stone (1997, p. 161) even states that ambiguity can be considered as the glue of politics which allows people to agree on policies
because they can read different meanings into the words. According to Stone, ambiguous words provide the vehicle through which diverse motivations, expectations and
values are synchronised to make collective action possible (p. 157).
This applies not only to the information society but also to innovation policy. As
Kuhlmann (2000, p. 30, referring to Jasanoff, 1997) points out, there is a lingering
uncertainty about the boundaries of research and innovation policies which could with
little imagination be stretched to encompass virtually every aspect of purposive state
activity: health, education, welfare, defence, energy, environment. Pelkonen (2005) pays
attention to the ambiguousness of Finnish innovation policy and argues that innovation
policy does not officially exist in Finland, as it is not politically defined or operationalised. In policy debates, innovation policy is (still) predominantly perceived as
sector-based science and technology (S&T) policy. At the same time the notion of the
national innovation system has achieved almost a paradigmatic position among Finnish
politicians and policy makers as an organising schema for S&T policy making. The
vagueness surrounding innovation policy has increased with the proliferation of terms
such as innovation environment, innovativeness, and social innovation, all of which have
gained ground in policy discourse over the recent years.
To summarise, information society is understood here as a political rather than as a
theoretical term that would try to define the character of current societal development. It
is more the visionary aspects implicit in the information society that arguably are
attractive in politics and policy making. In this vein, Schienstock et al. (1999, p. 4) have
noted that the information society is present as a strategic aim, in order to overcome the
current social stagnation. What is important is the weight given to intentional action and
future orientation which are essential parts of politics and decision making.
The e-democracy case study brought out the opportunities for defining the
information society in different ways. According to Kuitunen (2004), development of the
Finnish information society has been mostly motivated by business sector interests and
targets, with competitiveness as the main rationale and driving force. At the same time
there is strong reliance on the public sector, and governance is conceived in terms of the
principal players organising and implementing information society strategies. By contrast,
e-democracy has adopted a somewhat different approach. Local actors and authorities
have taken the initiative to develop information society practices and procedures.
Furthermore, researchers have participated actively in the e-democracy debate, bringing
more critical viewpoints to the discussion. Some of the most significant differences
between the information society and e-democracy strategies/doctrines are summarised in
Table 2.1.

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Table 2.1. Characteristics of conventional information society development and e-democracy


Information society

e-democracy

Approach

Top-down

Bottom up

Actors

Business sector actors


Public sector actors

Local actors: public authorities and ordinary


citizens
Researchers

Nature of
communication

Vertical, one-directional

Horizontal, multi-directional

Focus and targets of


the activity

Development of business opportunities for firms


Digitalisation of public services

Enhancement of civic participation


strengthening the links between citizens and
public authorities and political elites
Deliberation
Empowerment

Source: Kuitunen (2004).

Information society as a formal policy domain


Development of the information society in Finland
The development of the Finnish information society and related public debate has
largely followed international trends. Phenomena that are perceived as distinctive for the
information society have been around for some time, even if the term only became
fashionable in the policy-making forum in the 1990s. In the 1970s and the early 1980s,
the impact of evolving information technologies and electronics on industrial structure,
content of work and employment raised interest among policy makers and the research
community alike.
Emerging challenges and opportunities led to a rethinking of national strategies in
Finland at the end of the 1970s and in the 1980s (e.g. Lemola, 2001). In 1979 the
government appointed the Technology Committee to assess technical developments and
their impact and propose ways to increase the beneficial effects of new technologies,
decrease the harmful aspects and strengthen technical know-how. In its report, the
Committee highlighted the role of automation and micro-electronics, which were
expected to change radically the industrial structure of industrialised countries in the
1980s. The government was urged to take initiatives that would secure the competitiveness of Finlands industry and service sectors. A step in this direction was taken in
1980 when an information technology action programme for Finland was launched.
Development of ICTs was boosted further by the establishment of a new funding agency,
Tekes, the Technology Development Centre, in 1983.4
During the 1980s a number of decisions were taken which have proven particularly
successful from the perspective of development of the Finnish information society. One
often-mentioned factor was the deregulation and liberalisation of the telecommunication
market which took place gradually from 1987. Finland had a unique starting point for
liberalisation and development in this area (Paija and Rouvinen, 2004), because telephony
was never a state monopoly as in other countries. Instead it had a dual market structure. A
state-owned telephony operator had a stronghold in long-distance and international
telecommunication, whereas a multitude of private companies, with local monopoly
positions, operated local telephony networks. This market structure prepared the way for
a rapid take-off of competition in the wake of deregulation and liberalisation. With
hindsight it can be argued that the open-source approach to technological development
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40 INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE AND ITS LINKS TO INNOVATION POLICY IN FINLAND


adopted in Finland accelerated the mushrooming of new technology-based businesses and
the quick take-up of new communication devices in the population.

The 1990s: a decade of national information society strategies


In the early 1990s, discussion of the information society increased sharply in both the
United States and Europe. The political upheavals in eastern Europe, rapid changes in
global trade and ICT and Internet breakthroughs caused major changes in Finlands
operational and political environment. A deep recession and soaring unemployment
during preparation for EU accession gave a special colour to the national policy debate of
the time. Beliefs and practices that had been taken for granted were strongly challenged
and cleared the way for a profound reconsideration of national priorities and policies. The
situation opened a policy window which made it easier to set a vision for Finlands
future that various societal groups and interest organisations could share. Around that
time, the terms national innovation system, cluster approach to industrial policy and
development of the information society appeared on national policy agenda.
In this new mental landscape, promoting the development of the information society
became an integral part of national policy. The first explicit national strategy for the
information society was formulated in 1994. The OECD review of information and
communications policies in Finland (1992) was an impetus for drafting the strategy.
According to the review, Finland had a high level of information technologies and
telecommunications penetration and expertise but lacked a clear strategy in these areas
(OECD, 2004). A resolution of the Council of Ministers relating to measures to reform
Finlands central and regional administration provided a framework for developing a
national information society strategy.
The Ministry of Finance, which was given the responsibility of preparing a national
information management strategy, appointed a working group (TIKAS group) to draw up
the strategy. Paralleling international trends, the group adopted a wide perspective. Its
report, Finlands Way to the Information Society The National Strategy and Its Implementation, emphasised the Finnish economy and society and international co-operation.
A main argument of this first strategy document was that, in the longer run, ICT and its
utilisation in the networking of economic and societal activities were the key to solving
the problems facing Finland. On this basis, a vision for thes near future was established.
Furthermore, it was envisaged that Finland would be a leading global figure in ICT and
information industry applications.
Recommendations were targeted both to the public administration and to industry and
commerce. The central government was to frame more detailed strategies and plans were
to be prepared for sectors. In January 1995 Prime Minister Ahos government adopted a
decision in principle on measures for developing the Finnish information society. This
document expressed the governments commitment to the strategys guidelines. State
departments and agencies were obliged to include measures needed for the strategys
operational implementation into their annual budget plans. Also the new coalition government, which came to power in the same year following the general election, committed
itself to the information society strategy. Prime Minister Lipponens government (199599) included a number of references to the development of the information society in its
programme setting out priorities for the coming cabinet period.5

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Late 1990s onwards


During the latter part of the 1990s, the centre of public information society activities
gradually shifted from the central government to the regional and local levels.
Consequently, regional and local projects relating to the information society flourished
around the country. The central government took a less active role during the period
around 2000, although e-governance issues were visible in legislation and in ministry
agendas. Around the same time, the content of public information society strategies and
initiatives were going through small but noticeable qualitative chances. Well into the
latter part of 1990s, the focus of policies promoting the information society was
dominated by issues of ICT development and infrastructure as well as international
competitiveness, but gradually, more attention was paid to broader social aspects of
development, such as sustainable, regional and civic dimensions of the information
society. This led to a revision of the first national information society strategy in the late
1990s.
The original strategy of 1994 was criticised for its exclusive focus on technology and
international competitiveness and its lack of attention to civil society issues. The National
Research and Development Fund, Sitra, was assigned the task of preparing a new
information society strategy for Finland. The updated national strategy (Quality of Life,
Knowledge and Competitiveness: Premises and objectives for the strategic development
of the Finnish information society) was published at the end of 1998. The renewed
strategy led to a series of spearhead projects which were acknowledged by Prime Minister
Lipponens government, which was returned to power after the general elections in spring
1999, although the updated version was never officially adopted at government level.
In autumn 2003, Prime Minister Vanhanens government launched a new Information
Society Policy Programme in conjunction with three other policy programmes covering
the most important aspects of the governments programme. The Information Society
Policy Programme is led by the Prime Minister and co-ordinated from the Prime
Ministers Office. The other policy programmes are the Employment Policy Programme
co-ordinated by the Minister of Labour, the Entrepreneurship Policy Programme coordinated by the Minister of Trade and Industry, and the Civil Participation Policy
Programme co-ordinated by the Minister of Justice. With the launch of the new
programme a new high-level Information Society Council was established. This new
arrangement is discussed in greater detail below.

Actors in the information society policy domain


As a cross-cutting policy theme rather than a well-defined and delineated policy field,
the information society does not lend itself to a mapping exercise. It can be approached
through a broadly defined concept of a policy domain defined as a component of the
political system organised around substantive issues (Burstein, 1991, p. 328). The
information society qualifies as a substantive issue around which a constellation of public
and private actors has evolved into a policy field comprised of the many public actors and
other stakeholders that participated in the formulation of an agenda, first for ICT-centred
development and later for the information society in a broader sense. In the 1980s the
university sector, private firms and individual experts and visionaries were especially
active promoters of the information society.

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42 INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE AND ITS LINKS TO INNOVATION POLICY IN FINLAND


In the course of 1990s, the state, municipalities and non-governmental organisations
took on a more pronounced role and related themes entered the broader public debate. For
instance, growing concerns were voiced about the capabilities of citizens to employ new
information technologies. Questions about equal access to new ICT solutions (the digital
divide) were discussed and received attention from policy makers. Individual organisations with a noticeable role at this stage were TIEKE, the Information Technology
Development Centre, which was involved in drafting the first national information
society strategy, and Sitra, which played a prominent role in the new strategy.
A distinctive feature of the development of the Finnish information society has been
active collaboration between private- and public-sector actors. The business sector has
been a driving force, while the government and the public administration have mostly
reacted to ongoing developments. However, while technological development companies
and those in the ICT sector have certainly played a role, it would be an oversimplification
to assume that the state did not leave an imprint in terms of societal development through
the ICT/information society policy making of the last decades.

Organisation of information society policies at the level of central government


Although national information society strategies have existed since the mid-1990s,
ministries and administrative fields have in practice had substantial autonomy to decide
how to react to the guidelines in their own administrative sectors. It can be argued that
formal co-ordination of the implementation of national information society strategies has
been quite weak if not absent. It is still too early to assess whether the new Information
Society Policy Programme launched by Prime Minister Vanhanens government in
autumn 2003 and the new Information Society Council will change this situation. Coordination of information society activities across ministries and sectors is a main goal of
the programme and the Council.
Within the public administration certain ministries have played a relatively strong part
in the formulation of information society strategies and visions. For instance, the Ministry
of Transport and Communications has had an important influence on legislation
concerning development of telecommunications and the communications infrastructure.
The Ministry of Finance has played a visible role by introducing ICT solutions in the
public sector and co-ordinating the development and promotion of e-government in
Finland. As mentioned, the Ministry of Finance was also tasked in the early 1990s with
preparing the first national information society strategy.
The Ministry of Education, one of the key ministries in national STI policy making,
has actively worked for the development of the information society. In early 1995, it drew
up a strategy for information and communication policy for education, training and
research into the 21st century (Ministry of Education, 1995), which contained the Expert
Committees proposals on how to raise the level of education and research by applying
information technology, thus promoting national competitiveness and employment, and
on how to promote the availability and use of information and to assess the needs and
identify the means for giving citizens basic skills in using ICT. In order to implement the
strategy, the Ministry of Education implemented its Information Society Programme
(1995-99). In early 1999 a new information society strategy for education, training and
research was devised by the Ministry of Education for 2000-04 (Ministry of Education,
1999). This was followed by a national strategy on education, training and research in the
information society for 2004-06 (Ministry of Education, 2004).

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In comparison, the other central actor in the STI policy arena, the Ministry of Trade
and Industry, has had a minor role in information society issues, especially if one looks
beyond innovation policy narrowly defined in terms of S&T policies alone. Within the
framework of the current governments Information Society Policy Programme, the
Ministry of Trade and Industry focuses its actions on developing electronic business and
electronic services for companies. In addition it seeks to promote content production and
strengthen resources for training, research and product development with these companies
(Ministry of Trade and Industry, 2003). In the field of technology policy, the Ministry of
Trade and Industry and particularly Tekes are the principal sources of public funding and
advice for technology development and innovation, including in the ICT field. Tekes has
actively participated in and promoted the development and application of ICT-based
solutions in different sectors of society. A notable example is its technology programmes
in the field of health care.6
In other state departments, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Social
Affairs and Health have been responsible for prominent information society projects at
different stages. The Ministry of the Interior was already involved in early telecottage
pilot projects in the 1980s and early 1990s which aimed to lower the threshold for the use
of new information technologies (computers, etc.) in geographically peripheral locations
but later also in less favoured urban areas. More recently, it has been in charge of
promoting e-government at regional and municipal levels. The Ministry of the Interior
has responsibility for developing electronic services, network services and citizen
services to ensure their availability. In addition it promotes co-operation between the state
and municipalities for information management and helps to build up co-operation in
information management in regional administration.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the agencies within its administration
have centred their activities on the Finnish welfare cluster and the application of ICT in
social and welfare services and their provision, e.g. e-health solutions. In 1995, after the
publication of the first national information society strategy, the Ministry of Social
Affairs and Health assigned a broad-based working group to draft a national strategy
regarding the application of information technology in health care and welfare. The
original strategy was reviewed and updated over 2000-02.
The Regional Satakunta Macropilot Project (1999-2001) is one of the largest and
best-known attempts to apply information technology to develop social welfare and
health-care services. Its aim was to support seamless linking of social and health-care
services provided by various organisations, with implementation based on a new type of
co-operation model which included both the municipalities responsible for the services
but also state administration and the private sector actors. The broader framework was
provided by the IT strategy of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health as well as the
national welfare cluster programme (see for example, Hnninen et al., 2001).
Figure 2.1 presents the ministries that have been most directly involved with
information society development in Finland over the time.

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44 INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE AND ITS LINKS TO INNOVATION POLICY IN FINLAND


Figure 2.1. Ministries with main responsibility for the information society

Ministry of
KTM
Trade and
Industry
(KTM)

Ministry of
Transport
and
Communications
(LVM)

Ministry of
OM
Justice
(OM)

Ministry of
Education
(OPM)

Ministry of
SM
the Interior
(SM)

Ministry of Ministry of
VM
Social Affairs Finance
and Health
(VM)
(STM)

e-Government at
regional and local level

e-Government,
ICT in public sector

Legislation

ICT R&D
e-Business

e-Learning,
ICT skills for
citizens
e-Health
Telecom and
infrastructure

Development of the information society and innovation policy


Questions related to STI policy have been closely examined in official information
society strategies and guidelines, as well as in the literature reviewing the development of
the Finnish information society. The evolution of the information society shares issues,
actors and advances with the development of national science and technology policy: the
Technology Committee in 1979, the founding of Tekes in 1983, continuous public
promotion of R&D and innovation activities, increasing intake in higher educational
institutions and the take-off of the Finnish ICT industries to name a few (Nevalainen,
1999; Huuhtanen, 2001).
As a policy domain, the information society also has considerable similarities with the
targets and values of science, technology and innovation policy. Overall, development of
the information society appears as a technology-driven process which gives strong weight
to ICT. In both policy spheres, there is also a firm commitment to growth and international competitiveness through technological advances. As a result, it is not surprising
that the development of the information society is commonly assessed through mainly
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quantitative indicators of the penetration of technical devices such as numbers of mobile


handsets, computers and Internet connections in the population and access to and use of
ICT. A lot of attention is also paid to indicators on R&D, ICT infrastructure and ICT
sector in general.
Information society and innovation themes have entered policy and strategy
documents and are taken by policy makers from different sectors and policy domains.
The Science and Technology Policy Council has frequently referred to development of
the information and knowledge-based society in its tri-annual reviews, which are
considered as main strategy documents outlining national S&T policy strategies.7 For
instance, the Councils 1996 Review contains an appendix delineating the Science and
Technology Policy Councils view on Development of Finnish Information Society.
Overall, the review pays a lot of attention to connections between the national innovation
system and the development of the information society and education policy (1996,
p. 52).8 Likewise, information society documents clearly draw attention to ICT and
continued investments in R&D and education as major requisites for the development of
the information society.9
In terms of links between innovation policy and the development of the information
society some interviewees noted that the policy-making level in the two policy domains
does not always coincide, mainly owing to differences in the sectors involved in policy
making. However, the two domains seem to be moving closer together. Their intertwining
interests are well illustrated in the composition of the new Information Society Council,
which has a sub-group focusing specifically on education and R&D issues. Among
external interest groups present in the group are representatives of the key public funding
agencies in the field of science and technology policy (the Academy of Finland and
Tekes), Sitra, the National Board of Education, Nokia Group, and a few other stakeholders. From the central government side, the section has representatives from the
Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Education, the ministries responsible
for S&T policy.
There are, however, also areas in which linkages between the information society and
science, technology and innovation policy are less pronounced. In particular, edemocracy and civil society participation are issues which appear regularly in the
information society debate, but seldom in STI policy discourse. For instance, democracy
issues and values are built into the EU-level information society debate and frameworks.
ICT and especially the Internet are assumed to increase democracy by giving citizens new
possibilities to connect with one another and with their representatives. At the same time,
there are concerns about the digital divide and equal access to the use of new information
and communication technologies in all social groups. Although democracy issues have
been part of Finnish information society discussions and activities, competitiveness and
changes in the economy have been the main rationale and driving force in official
strategies and guidelines (Kuitunen, 2004).
At the level of aims and means there are significant differences between e-democracy,
on the one hand, and conventional information society and STI policy rationales, on the
other. STI policy aims first of all at fostering competitiveness and growth. For edemocracy, the major target is to support debate and strengthen civil society by
increasing ordinary citizens opportunities for active participation and dialogue through
technological and other means. It is the citizens, not the authorities or the private firms,
who are the main actors and the main impetus for e-democracy, rather than policy makers
and the authorities. It is nevertheless clear that in Finland, the public authorities have
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been active in promoting digidemocracy (especially locally) and in digitalising public
services (the latter qualifies more as e-governance which aims to improve the efficiency
of the delivery of public services and has nothing to do with democratic participation per
se). Table 2.2 illustrates characteristics of the focus and targets, values and target groups
of the information society, e-democracy and innovation policy.
Table 2.2. Some characteristics of innovation policy, the information society and e-democracy
Feature

Innovation policy

Information society

e-democracy

Focus and targets

Growth, competitiveness and


prosperity

Growth, competitiveness, overall


well-being

Quality of life, deliberation

Enhancing the growth and


competitiveness by supporting
innovation activities

Enhancing growth and overall


well-being by developing new
communication technologies

Expanding the opportunities for


participation, communication and
dialogue between various groups
and individuals in the society

Supporting economic life

Supporting economic life,


developing the governance

Supporting civic society,


deliberation

Efficiency

Efficiency, qualitative aspects of


life, human values

Qualitative aspects of life,


human values

Values
Style of decision making (policy)

Consensus-based

Consensus-based

Major actors in the


implementation process

Innovation policy elite


Private firms

Policy-makers
Researchers
Private firms if they see some
profit-making opportunities

Ordinary citizens
Policy makers, especially local
authorities
Researchers

Target group(s)

Firms/economic life

Firms/economic life
Civil society

Ordinary citizens
Governance

Role of ordinary citizens

No role/very marginal role

Marginal

Significant (major driving force)

Source: Kuitunen (2004).

Taking into account that there are significant differences in the composition of
players and different and even contradictory targets and values, it is not surprising that the
dialogue between innovation policy and e-democracy is less well established and
organised and one may even ask if it should be.
It can be maintained that in Finland STI policy making have been more concrete and
more coherent than policies promoting the development of the information society. The
cluster approach was mentioned in interviews as a good example of an innovation policy
initiative with strong links to horizontal thinking: there are distinct advantages to linking
and matching resources and know-how from different parts of society. In the S&T policy
arena, there has been systematic dialogue between private- and public-sector actors for a
long time. The division of labour within the central government closely follows sector
boundaries and the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, with
agencies in their respective fields, have been the principal actors in S&T policy making.
The S&T Policy Council, chaired by the prime minister, has had an important role in
bringing together major stakeholders, even if it is a limited and conventional group, from
the domain of STI policies.

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Agenda setting
Aspects of Finnish information society agenda setting process
From the policy cycle perspective the agenda-setting stage is one of the most
important aspects of the policy-making process. During this stage, issues, questions or
problems succeed or fail to reach the policy agenda. Those that reach policy agenda are
socially and politically constructed in interaction between people representing interested
parties and stakeholders from society as whole. Interaction in the agenda-setting phase
has a significant effect on how problems and opportunities requiring common action are
defined and what kind of meanings and values are attached to the issues.
According to Kingdon (1984), political streams have the main influence in the
agenda-setting process. The concept refers to the wider political environment, including
issues of changes of government and public opinion. Characteristic features of the
agenda-setting process are the coupling of problems and definitions, policies defined as
solutions to problems, and politics which refer to the political receptivity and acceptability of issues among interested parties and citizens at large. At the highest political
level, general elections and changes in the cabinet have a definite impact on the agendasetting process. In Finland, the political priorities for the coming cabinet period are set in
the government programme document between the parties of the coalition government.
Tiili (2004) notes that the government programme is based on many conflicting goals and
expectations, and this in practice tends to lead to a mix of strategic goals and operational
details.
Information society issues have explicitly been on the Finnish political and policy
agenda since the mid-1990s when the first national information society strategy was
outlined and published. The appearance of the information society on the political agenda
coincided with a number of substantial occurrences and transformations in Finnish
society as well as in the international political, economic and technological environment.
These events included, among others, the end of the cold-war period in the aftermath of
the collapse of the Soviet Union and the breakthrough of new communication technologies and the Internet. The latter, with their global repercussions, combined with a
severe recession in the Finnish economy and Finlands accession to European Union in
1995, can with hindsight be understood as a focusing event which opened a momentary
policy window for a major rethinking of national priorities and policies. This kind of
major agenda change may occur when policy streams converge simultaneously with the
opening of a policy window (Figure 2.2). Finlands experience demonstrates that in
agenda setting, timing and sheer chance are critical factors. As Lindquist (2001, p. 18)
notes: problems may worsen objectively, but without saleable solutions or leaders and a
public willing to embrace the cause, the problems are unlikely to receive more than
passing attention.

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Figure 2.2. Agenda setting and a policy window

A window of opportunity
Problem
Problemdefinitions
definitions
Alternative
solutions
Alternative
solutions

Political climate
Connections across streams
Converging

Diverging

Over the years many actors and organisations have taken part in the formulation of
the information society agenda. However, no principal, leading body to carry the process
and to take main responsibility for this policy domain has emerged. Also, the policymaking structures have stayed more or less constant over the last couple of decades. The
development of an information society policy space and of institutional arrangements has
taken place incrementally.
International trends and examples of information society activities have had an impact
on the agenda-setting process at national, regional and local levels. However, there is no
unanimous view about the significance of EU decisions and guidelines in this respect. In
critical comments EU directives and guidelines are seen as a hindrance that delays the
development of the information society, because they lag behind what has been already
done at the national level. On the other hand, common practices are seen as an advantage
for the member states, and the EU is a pivotal player which cannot be neglected in
national policy making in any policy domain. EU directives and legislation bind the
member states and it is not easy to tell where EU policies end and national policies start.
So far, Finlands position as a forerunner in ICT has made it more influential in
international ICT/information society agenda setting than what might be expected given
the countrys size.
The current Information Society Programme provides an interesting case from the
agenda-setting perspective. The ongoing public management reform which started in the
early 1990s was the main catalyst for the launch of four new policy programmes
(including the Information Society Policy Programme) following the general election in
2003. The new policy programme approach is part of the Programme Management
Reform which was the outcome of extensive analysis and reform work undertaken during
Prime Minister Lipponens second government (1999-2003).10 The government decided
to focus the main efforts of central government reform on the identified lack of
horizontality. According to a background review, a sector-driven administration tends to
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define problems and related cures and policy measures from the single-sector perspective
rather than to meet the actual needs of the citizens. The problem is less overlaps or turf
wars between ministries but an inherent feature of administration: many relevant issues
do not fit in a single sectors territory but instead fall in a sort of no-mans land. The
reform has had clear political backing from the beginning which has made it possible to
implement reforms largely as intended (Harrinvirta and Kekkonen, 2004).
The agenda-setting and preparation phase for the Information Society Policy
Programme was not, however, a purely consensual or conflict-free process. Internal
competition in the public administration materialised during the programme preparation
process. Ministries could not agree on where the main responsibility should lie for the
implementation of the new programme. In the end the Prime Ministers Office became
the base. It is also important to note that the programme did not come into existence only
because of the governments will. Interviewees pointed out that the need for a new
arrangement was also raised by stakeholders outside the public administration. The
Ministerial Group is considered to have a good chance to co-ordinate the activities of the
public administration in terms of information society issues.

Reflections
It is not clear whether a separate, well-structured information society policy exists in
Finland. Nevertheless, the information society has without a doubt appeared as an issue
on the political agenda. Overall, on the basis of policy documents and interviews it is
reasonable to argue that policies promoting the development of a Finnish information
society have been incremental, which is well in line with the findings of policy analysis
literature. For instance, Howlett (2002, p. 7) concludes, based on a study of four federal
policy sectors in Canada, that most policies made by governments are, for the most part
and most of the time, in some way a continuation of past policies and practices. In
Finnish information society strategies, continuity and temporal coherence are evident in
the focus of attention and even the identification of drivers for the development of the
information society over the last ten years.
In spite of the fact that information society issues have greater visibility on the
political agenda, it would be misleading to maintain that the information society evokes
or has evoked strong convictions among Finnish politicians. Indeed, the issue seems to be
peculiarly apolitical in the sense that no strong political controversies have emerged in
public debate about such issues as the goals, content or means of developing the
information society. In this sense, information society policy like innovation policy
apparently enjoys a broad consensus in Finlands major political parties.

Policy formulation and co-ordination


Formulation of policies targeting development of the information society
This section discusses the formulation of policies and initiatives covering information
society issues in Finland, highlighting different aspects of their formulation and the coordination of activities.
When looking back, it is evident that there has been much effort to develop strategies
and programmes for the information society at the national, regional and local levels.
Preparation of strategies and action plans has often involved actors from various
administrative sectors as well as stakeholders representing the views of the business
sector and civic associations. It is quite generally felt that implementation has not always
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gone smoothly. It is argued that co-ordination of activities horizontally across sectors and
vertically between local, regional and state authorities has been insufficient. To simplify,
horizontal implementation of extensive strategies has been left to individual sector
ministries or agencies, and the results have differed widely, depending on their
commitment and understanding. The picture becomes even more unclear when sources of
funding of information society initiatives and projects are taken into account (EU,
national, regional, local).

Broad-based forums in policy formulation and co-ordination


From the policy formulation point of view, broad-based co-operation among public
and private stakeholders has been an integral part of the development of the information
society as of STI policy. An explanation often given is the so-called small country
phenomenon; it is commonly thought that in specific fields, people tend to know each
other and that this lowers the threshold for co-operation.11
Another characteristic feature is the role played by committees, working groups and
advisory bodies on the central government level. Many of these bodies are created for a
fixed term. They are usually comprised of representatives of public administration,
private-sector companies, research organisations and civic organisations. These intermediary bodies have played an important role in enabling active collaboration and
communication between the private and public sectors.
Taken as a whole, co-operation by the key actors in developing the Finnish
information society can be characterised as dominated by active individuals and dense
networks enabling swift dissemination of knowledge and information between sectors
and organisational actors without excessive bureaucracy. At the same time, because these
networks rely on fairly informal contacts among informed insiders, they may be a less
effective tool for co-ordination than is commonly believed. Otherwise it is difficult to
understand why the orchestration of information society policies is time and again
identified as an Achilles heel by public authorities and stakeholders alike.

Structural constraints on policy formulation and co-ordination


Decision makers and other actors that influence policy formulation and implementation operate within an institutional and structural landscape involving constraints,
some of which are organisational and administrative, others economic and socio-political.
For instance, resource constraints have always had a strong role in policy making: votes
count, resources decide as it is sometimes expressed.
The general framework for policy formulation and implementation is set by the
existing state structure and institutionally embedded public administration practices.
Finlands administrative structure has been variously described as being unitary,
decentralised and fairly fragmented. At the national level, power lies with the central
government and the ministries, which have a strong impact on decision making for their
respective sectors. Ministries have traditionally had a significant amount of independence, and each minister is individually responsible to parliament. Recent constitutional
reforms have increased the power of the prime minister and the Prime Ministers Office,
but ministries still have considerable freedom of action within the frames set by the
government programme and the annual budget.

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It has been maintained that the position of ministry staff has strengthened over time in
comparison to the status of the sectors minister. In particular, the highest ranking
officials in the departmental hierarchy have a significant role alongside the minister in
steering and monitoring activities within the administration. This trickle of power to
civil servants is sometimes seen as arising from the constantly increasing workload of
ministries and concomitant increase in staff. The cabinet period and the fortunes of the
government, of course, set limits on an individual ministers ability to exercise power. As
in every profession there is always a certain learning time before one masters the means
available. In this situation, the highest civil servants and ministry staff represent
continuity. In the context of the recent central administration reforms there have been
efforts to strengthen the role of individual ministers as strategists and opinion leaders in
their administrative sector. Critics of the reform have worried that strengthening the
strategic political leadership of ministries leads to short-termism and politicisation of
administration.
The recent adoption of a strategic management approach to government work has, in
Tiilis words (2004, p. 5), aimed to strengthen political leadership by focusing the goals
of government, and making sure that those are pursued consistently throughout the
administration. So-called frame budgeting has been one of the main tools for the
government to achieve the goals it sets in the government programme. There are however
concerns that the way that frame budgeting is implemented, at least so far, does not
support strategic management and cross-sector horizontal policy making. Budget frames
were originally intended to address socio-politically and economically important policy
fields but soon frames became a means to cut expenses and in practice this has led to a
situation in which frames are given to sectors, that is ministries, instead of policy fields
(Tiili, 2004, p. 8).
Another characteristic feature of Finlands institutional set-up that affects policy
formulation and co-ordination is the degree of autonomy of municipalities. At the subregional level, Finnish municipalities have substantial independence with regard to the
central government. The municipalities with extensive autonomy and the right to levy
taxes are in a position to decide on many issues. In contrast to many European countries,
Finlands regions have played a minor role politically, administratively and legally. There
has not been much opportunity for the regions to develop an autonomous political role,
because of the power of national and local bodies (Mennola, 1999). However, several
important changes affecting regional development and governance have taken place
during the past decade. Legislative changes have increased the importance of local
government in regional policy by delegating power from the central government to the
regions. Another key effect was the establishment of new regional governance structures.
Moreover, a programme-based regional policy has been introduced to co-ordinate the
actions of diverse regional organisations and players.
In some interviews the extent of self-government combined with the large number of
municipalities was cautiously criticised as hampering the development of the information
society. Also the current fragmentation of regional administration was thought to have a
negative effect on the governments Information Society Policy Programme: the coordination of information society initiatives requires identification and networking of
local and regional information society projects.

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Examples of interdepartmental co-ordination and steering
Several attempts have been made at the central government level to formulate and coordinate policies affecting the development of the information society. In May 1996, the
Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Cabinet, established two bodies to provide an arena
for debate and to co-ordinate the activities of different societal actors, the Information
Society Forum and the Information Society Advisory Board, respectively. The latter was
chaired by the minister of Interior Affairs, and the minister of Education acted as vicechairman. Members of the Information Society Advisory Board were nominated for three
years and represented the public and private sectors as well as the research community.
The Information Society Forum was a broadly based loose group of 55 experts. It has
been argued that the main initiative of these two bodies was to suggest updating the
national information society strategy published in 1994.
The new Information Society Advisory Board was appointed in 1999. Like its
predecessor, it was to promote implementation of the national information society
strategy and increase co-operation among industry, trade and administration. The
members of the Advisory Board represented the public administration, businesses and
civic organisations. The Board was chaired by the minister for Transport and Communications. In addition, three other ministers were members of the Board for a term that
ended in March 2003. The Information Society Advisory Boards were, as the name
suggests, advisory bodies without decision-making power. Several changes in the group
of ministers negatively affected the later Board. However, it reported to the government
on the development of the information society a couple of times over its mandate period.
In essence the reports were reviews summing up past developments rather than futureoriented documents guiding policies on information society issues.
The most recent effort to co-ordinate information society issues at the level of the
central government is the launch in autumn 2003 of the Information Society Policy
Programme and the assignment of the Information Society Council by the government of
Prime Minister Vanhanen. One of the programmes major aims is to increase the coordination of information society activities and actors. The programme is horizontal in
nature and seeks to orchestrate and articulate the interests and demands of various groups
and organisations. The programme has a specific institutional position within the central
government. It is chaired by the prime minister and the programme director, whose office
is administratively located in the Prime Ministers Office. This arrangement helps, at least
in principle, to place information society issues high on political agenda and diminishes
sector and ministry disputes.
The Information Society Council is composed of a ministerial group, representatives
of stakeholder organisations, associations and companies, permanent experts, the programme director and the secretariat. It has seven sub-sections covering the thematic areas
of the Information Society Policy Programme. Members of these sub-sections represent
both external interest groups and ministries. The broad base of the Council is thought to
support the co-ordination of the information society programme. Compared to another
body led by the prime minister, the Science and Technology Policy Council, the
Information Society Council has a wider spectrum of stakeholders.
Horizontal issues, promotion of inter-sectoral co-operation and development of
interaction between business life and the administration in information society development projects are important parts of the Councils mission. There is also a certain
continuity with the tasks of the former Information Society Advisory Boards, as the
Council is tasked, among other things, with anticipating, monitoring and assessing the
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development of the information society and related impacts, possibilities and threats;
following international information society developments and putting forward proposals
on Finlands policies; and assessing the Information Society Policy Programme and its
progress and reporting to the government on the state of the development of Finlands
information society.
At the time of its appointment in autumn 2003 there were strong expectations among
interested parties concerning the new Information Society Council. It was supposed to
provide guidelines for developing the information society, improve co-ordination of
information society activities, and help administrative sectors to take information society
issues into consideration in their policies. The Council is seen as a forum where different
sectors of the administration as well as Finnish businesses and other stakeholders meet.
On the other hand, its broad membership base means that it cannot be an operative body.
There seems to be some uncertainty about the prospects of success of the Information
Society Policy Programme. Some interviewees expressed concern that the programme is
under-resourced, which adversely affects its ability to support horizontal activities. It is
also asked whether the new programme is more than a repackaging exercise drawing
together, and in some cases renaming, existing information society projects of different
administrative sectors. The latter criticism may, of course, be levelled against most of the
so-called umbrella programmes that encompass a large number of (often ongoing)
projects.

Policy formulation and co-ordination in the HST project12


The electronic identification project (HST case study) offers an enlightening view on
policy formulation, implementation and co-ordination in practice. The project is a
textbook example for good and for bad of the challenges of co-operation and
collaboration between administrative branches in implementation of a policy. From a
purely bureaucratic perspective, the HST project followed well-established administrative
procedures in the sense that a number of participants representing ministries and other
interested parties were involved in the working group assigned to prepare and implement
the project in 1996. After the initial phase, however, substantial disagreements between
the key ministries surfaced. The ministries widely diverging perspectives on electronic
identification reflected sector-based rationales and the actors frames of reference.
Creation of a common vision became extremely difficult and this was reflected in the
implementation.
In spite of the highest political backing since the mid-1990s successive governments had committed themselves to develop both e-government services and an electronic identification infrastructure for which the electronic ID card became more or less
synonymous in policy debate some ministries and state agencies with a large customer
base were never really convinced of the feasibility or rationale of the so-called single card
policy. These actors supported a more flexible user identification policy for e-government
transactions that would allow demanding strong identification through the use of
solutions in addition to the Certificate Authority solution (FINEID) developed during the
HST project.13
Co-ordination was made even more difficult because the rules determining ministries
mandate to issue orders concerning the adoption of electronic transactions and egovernance within the public administration were imprecise. The main rivalry, between
the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Interior, was about which ministry has

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competent authority to issue guidelines for the development of electronic transaction in egovernment services.
The HST project also provides an interesting example of co-operation between public
and private stakeholders. At the turn of the millennium, it had become evident that the
diffusion of electronic services and identification services was taking place much more
slowly than anticipated a few years previously. In this situation, the Population Register
Centre (PRC) started actively searching for partners interested in the FINEID electronic
identification service. In the aftermath of the bursting of ICT bubble, a small group of
committed individuals (the director general of PRC and a couple of high-ranking
representatives of the insurance and banking sector) saw an opportunity for promoting
electronic services and the diffusion of the PRCs FINEID certificate in Finland. Thus,
the Pro-HST group was founded in 2001, composed of the central authorities and service
providers from the public and private sectors. In this way industry and trade became a
main driver of the diffusion and promotion of the electronic identification solution, after
earlier co-operation by state authorities had failed. All in all, the activity of the Pro-HST
Group and its successor HST Group has demonstrated that successful co-operation
demands commitment at the executive level of organisations, personal contacts and
mutual trust among partners. This creates good conditions for tackling emerging
problems and challenges and finding compromises for the sake of common good.

Use of benchmarking, experiments and evaluation in the policy cycle


International influences have had a visible impact on the path taken by the
information society in Finland. For instance, the OECD has carried out a number of
reviews of national policies affecting the information society. Without a doubt, some of
these reviews have been influential, like the OECD review of Finlands information and
communications policies, published in 1992, which pointed out Finlands lack of a clear
ICT strategy, an area in which it had achieved a high level of competence.
Since the mid-1990s, the Finnish government has paid a lot of attention to monitoring
and evaluation of activities aiming to further the information society. For instance, an
evaluation scheme is an integral part of the current governments Information Society
Policy Programme, which is part of the new system of programme management tailored
essentially for implementation and evaluation of horizontal policies.14 The main
principles include the need for better steering and management and closer networking
between ministries (by extension implying better horizontal integration of different policy
sectors), as well as closer co-operation between ministries and organisations and actors
from the broader society (stakeholders), better adaptation capability, and more
structured and organised monitoring and evaluation of policies. Partly for this reason, the
role of the Prime Ministers Office has been strengthened to make resources available for
follow-up of the horizontal policy objectives such as the implementation and impact of
the Information Society Policy Programme.
For the highly contested HST (electronic identification) project no official evaluation
has been carried out. It has however attracted a lot of interest and short reviews on its
progress and failures have been produced during the last few years. The Information
Society Advisory Board reviewed the HST in its reports to the Finnish government in
2001 and 2002. In the latter report the Board found that the HST project and particularly
the electronic ID card has not progressed as expected. Also in their Annual Report for
2001 the Parliamentary State Auditors reviewed the state of e-government services and
transactions. The HST project and the electronic ID card were highlighted in the review.
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A recently published OECD study (2003) on e-government in Finland includes a case


study on the electronic citizen identification card.

Reflections and conclusions


The development of the information society and science, technology and innovation
policy making are closely related in Finland. Both policy fields stress common issues,
mainly the move towards the knowledge-based society, the growth and competitiveness
of Finnish industries and the national economy, and the development and utilisation of
ICT. Also the information society is usually discussed in a manner that underlines the
significance of decisions, policies and measures that are usually understood as the core of
science, technology and innovation policy.
Regarding the features of decision making and policy in general, both innovation
policy and the information society are based on a strong commitment to and protection of
consensus. A great deal of effort has gone into developing strategies and programmes for
the information society at the national, regional and local levels. The preparation of
strategies and action plans has often involved a number of actors from various administrative sectors as well as stakeholders representing the views of the enterprise sector and
civil society. However, there has been an apparent lack of leadership and co-ordination in
the implementation of information society activities. The horizontal co-ordination of
information society policies across sectors and the vertical integration of local, regional
and state authorities has been seen as insufficient. Improving co-ordination is a main goal
of the new Information Society Policy Programme launched by Prime Minister
Vanhanens government in autumn 2003 and the new Information Society Council.
Co-ordinated and coherent policy making does not occur in a vacuum. Decision
makers and other actors in policy formulation and implementation operate in an institutional and structural landscape that involves constraints, some of them organisational
and administrative, others economic and socio-political. The implementation of frame
budgeting has not so far supported strategic management and cross-sector horizontal
policy making. It was intended to target strategic issues with socio-political and economic
importance but in practice the frames are based on sectors instead of cross-sector policy
fields. The traditionally strong autonomy of municipalities is also a challenge for coordination of policies across public administration.
A principal driving force both for the information society and innovation policy in
Finland has been concerns about international competitiveness and wealth creation in the
global economy. This is particularly visible for innovation policy but is also part and
parcel of conventional information society policy discourse. The picture is complicated
when information society issues are viewed from a perspective that includes e-democracy
issues. A view of the information society as technology-driven and largely determined by
economic and technological perspectives does not emphasise the capacity of citizens to
actively participate and engage in discussions of the information society, which inevitably
affects their daily lives. It is plausible to argue that the reason for the neglect has little to
do with lack of awareness of the importance of e-democracy issues in S&T and
innovation policy. Rather, it appears to be a consequence of the choice of definition of the
major target and the values behind the policy.

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Overall, it seems doubtful that a new innovation-centred paradigm as a guide for
policy making would succeed without taking into account a broader set of societal issues,
goals and values than has been the case in innovation policy discourse. To be truly
horizontal, innovation policy cannot rely simply on values and goals inherited from
sector-based science and technology policy making.

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Annex 2.A
THE THREE CASE STUDIES OF THE FINNISH MONIT
INFORMATION SOCIETY STUDY

Case study 1: Finnish Information Society Policy Programme and


Information Society Council (2003- )
Following the general elections in March 2003, a new programme management
approach was introduced at the highest political level in order to improve co-ordination of
implementation of the government programme. Preparation of this administrative
innovation began during the previous cabinet period in order to create a tool that would
help the government to set and manage priorities, particularly in the case of horizontal
policies crossing established administrative fields.
The cabinet of Prime Minister Vanhanen decided to launch four cross-sector policy
programmes, which cover the most important horizontal policy issues in the government
programme. One is the Information Society Policy Programme, which is chaired by the
Prime Minister. The programme management includes the director, whose office is
administratively located in the Prime Ministers Office. In principle, this arrangement
places information society issues high on the political agenda.
In tandem with the launch of the Information Society Policy Programme a new body,
the Information Society Council, was set up to provide a platform for steering the
development of the information society and for co-ordinating co-operation between
administration, organisations and business life. The Council is composed of a ministerial
group, representatives of stakeholder associations and companies, permanent experts, the
programme director and the secretariat. In addition, representatives from external interest
groups and ministries are appointed to the seven sub-sections covering the programmes
themes. In mid-February 2005, the Information Society Council published its first report,
which analyses the current state of the Finnish information society and its challenges.
The Information Society Policy Programme aims to orchestrate and articulate the
interests and demands of various groups and organisations. The broadly based
Information Society Council is thought to support the co-ordination function. The
programme and the council also aim at making information society questions more
visible in Finnish society.

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Case study 2: e-democracy
The case study focusing on e-democracy was selected to shed light on those aspects
of the development of the information society which are presumably more sporadically
addressed in the science, technology and innovation policy debate and policy making:
broader societal effects and the impact of the diffusion of ICT on everyday life including
opportunities and threats, as well as the new paths it opens for political participation and
communication.
The concept of e-democracy in the context of the information society is defined in
various ways. Most of the definitions encompass two dimensions or factors, the first of
which is the use of modern ICTs and the second is participation. ICTs are perceived as a
means for participating in the political arena, not as an end in themselves. The alleged
enlargement of possibilities to participate in politics with the new communication
technologies points to the emergence or strengthening of two dimensions. First, there are
horizontal linkages between citizens in civil society as a result of the emergence of edemocracy. Second, vertical linkages are being formed between civil society debates and
policy makers.
The case study does not focus on a specific policy or an instrument tailored for
promotion of e-democracy. Instead, questions concerning potential links and (emerging)
challenges between innovation policy and the development of the information society
were approached through more generic e-democracy trends and topics. Attention has
been paid to more practical issues and challenges faced by actors and involved in the
launch and implementation of information society and e-democracy. In addition, the
study analyses how compatible and conflicting are the values and goals of policies
promoting the information society, innovation policy and e-democracy in Finland.

Case study 3: HST (electronic identification of persons)


The HST project illuminates the challenges of co-ordination, co-operation and
coalition building both among ministries and public agencies and between policy makers
and private-sector actors. The history of the HST project can be traced back to the mid1990s when the first national information society strategy was prepared in Finland and
issues related to data protection and information security were identified as a critical
factor for the diffusion of information and communication technologies.
In 1996, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and
the Ministry of the Interior established a working group (HST Group) to carry out a study
to prepare a proposal for implementation of an electronic identification system based on
the smart card. Recommendations were compiled in a report, Electronic Identification
and the Electronic ID Card published in the same year. The report included a preliminary specification for the use of smart card technology for identification, electronic
signature and the encryption of documents. At that time, there was a strong belief that
diffusion of electronic services is best promoted by developing an electronic identification infrastructure that would clear the path for services. Another goal was to raise the
status of electronic transactions to the level of other service transactions: electronic
transactions have to have the same indisputableness and legal validity as traditional
transactions.

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The Council of Ministers resolution of 5 February 1998 on electronic transactions,


development of services and reduction of data gathering was important for the creation of
a national electronic identification solution and the relevant infrastructure. In the
resolution, the Population Register Centre, which belongs to administrative field of the
Ministry of the Interior, was appointed to work as the Certification Authority responsible
for issuing and maintaining FINEID certificates and electronic ID cards. PRC was also
tasked to promote the preparation of legislative amendments and to require and encourage
ministries and agencies to provide electronic services. The resolution set also a time
frame for the introduction of electronic citizen ID cards.
The implementation proceeded briskly and the electronic citizen ID card was
introduced in the presence of the prime minister in December 1999. However, it soon
became evident that diffusion of electronic services and identification services takes place
much more slowly than had been anticipated. The number of electronic ID cards issued
stayed low until the amendment of the Identity Card Act (299/2003) in autumn 2003.
In order to promote diffusion and use of the newly created electronic identification
infrastructure and the PRCs FINEID certification, a Pro-HST Group was established in
2001 by interested stakeholders. The group drew together high-ranking representatives
from the public and private sectors, from central authorities and service providers alike.
The Pro-HST Group was dissolved in late 2002 when a group, known simply as the HST
Group, was established to continue its work. The new group comprises telecommunications operators, banks, a credit card service company and the PRC. These parties issue
smart cards that enhance the use of qualified certificates, especially the one given by
Population Register Centre.

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60 INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE AND ITS LINKS TO INNOVATION POLICY IN FINLAND

Notes

1.

The Report of the Information Society Advisory Board to the Finnish Government, 11 December 2002
(only in Finnish).

2.

Arguably, describing the policy cycle by dividing it into four neat phases provides an excessively linear
view of policy making. In the policy cycle framework, policy-making problems are defined as
essentially problems of co-ordination, or, in other terms, of collective action. In line with the rational
choice institutionalism, politics is conceived as the process of selecting optimal solutions to collective
problems (Frankel and Hjbjerg, 2004). In the real world, policy making tends to be a much messier
process. Nonetheless, the model provides a useful outline for analysis, so long as its restrictions are kept
in mind.

3.

In a recent column a civil servant of the Ministry of Communication and Transportation argued that
information society policy does not really exist. As he put it there are only good and bad societal
policies: good policy takes into account the opportunities and threats of information technology, a bad
one overlooks them (Harri Pursiainen: Tietoyhteiskuntapolitiikkaa lukutaidottomille, published in
Tietoviikko, 22 April 2004). Another interesting notion was advanced by the Director of the Information
Society Policy Programme in her column, The Year of Attitude Changes, in which she comments on
the public debate about the information society. She suggests that the debate has recently taken a new
form and information society terminology is being called into question. She welcomes this development
and notes that when the programme was launched, the staff of the Office of the Information Society
Policy Programme set as a goal that at the end of programme there would no longer be any need to speak
about the information society as a separate (policy) concept (Katrina Harjuhahto-Madetoja: Asennemuutosten vuosi).

4.

Since 2000 Tekes is known as Tekes, the National Technology Agency.

5.

The governments programme is a strategy document in which the new government defines the focus
areas for the coming mandate period. The official definition to be found at the Finnish governments
Web site states that the Government Programme is an Action Plan agreed by the parties represented in
the government. The government must without delay submit its programme to Parliament in the form of
a statement. The Prime Minister co-ordinates the implementation of the Government Programme.

6.

Tekes has been involved in development of health-care technologies since the 1990s. It currently runs a
FinnWell technology programme (2004-09) the objective of which is to improve the quality and
profitability of health care, and to promote business activities and export in the field. FinnWell was
preceded by the iWell technology programme (2000-03).

7.

Titles of the latest tri-annual reviews of the Science and Technology Policy Council are revealing in this
respect: Finland: A Knowledge-based Society (1996); The Challenge of Knowledge and Know-how
(2000); and Knowledge, Innovation and Internationalisation (2003).

8.

According to the document in many respects, the construction of the information society relates to the
development of the national innovation system and thereby also to the terms of reference of the Science
and Technology Policy Council. The Councils subcommittees have dealt with relevant issues. In

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61

publishing this opinion, the Council wishes to support the development of the information society and to
draw attention to questions which it thinks essential in this development work.
9.

See for example Report of the Information Society Advisory Board to the Finnish Government on
20 June 2001.

10.

The Finnish government commissioned three international experts to assess which areas most urgently
required reforms. The report submitted by Geert Bouckaert, Derry Ormond and Guy Peters (A Potential
Governance Agenda for Finland, 2000) formed the basis for the subsequent programmes.

11.

However, the validity of this Finnish model as a basis for co-operation has recently been questioned. In
the Information Society Councils first report, published in February 2005, the sub-section on working
life notes that, contrary to popular belief, Finnish actors in business, research, development and education tend to work independently and genuine cross-boundary collaborative working habits are rare. The
sub-section recommends the establishment of cross-sector forums that would draw together people from
different backgrounds and branches in order to facilitate creation of new knowledge and know-how.

12.

In publications in English the term FINEID rather than HST is used to refer to a project on electronic
identification of a person. Here, the Finnish acronym is used for the project and the term FINEID is
reserved for the certificate issued by the Population Register Centre.

13.

For instance, the Finnish Bank Associations identification service for authentication of online
transactions which is based on user code and password lists. In 2003 Kela (the National Social Security
Institution) together with the Finnish Tax Administration and the Labour Administration signed a mutual
agreement on co-operation on electronic services and on a common approach for identification when
using these services. In practice, the consortium relies on two methods through which the customer can
identify him/herself in a service transaction either by using the Population Register Centres
identification service developed in the context of the HST project or the Finnish banks Tupas service.

14.

A number of key documents were commissioned by the Ministry of Finance within which the Public
Management Department has responsibility for public management reforms in central government. New
models for the reforming central government was outlined in a report published 2001 (Sirpa Kekkonen:
Hallituksen yhteisen poliittisen johtamisen vahvistaminen - keinona ohjelmajohtaminen. Valtiovarainministerin selvityksi 2001). Later in the same year the Ministry of Finance launched a Council of
States simulation project for programme management. The results of the simulation project were published in autumn 2002 (Ohjelmajohtaminen valtioneuvostossa. Uusi menettely ja uudet asiakirjat.
Valtiovarainministeri, tyryhmn muistio 2002).

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Chapter 3
INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY CO-ORDINATION:
A MOULD FOR INNOVATION POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY?
Trond Einar Pedersen
NIFU STEP, Oslo, Norway

Competition policy and framework conditions are central components of Norwegian


economic policy and prescribe a hands-off approach to information society policy implementation. But core challenges of Norwegian information society policy (eNorway),
e.g. an electronic identification standard and boosting e-commerce, probably call for
more hands-on policy making. This situation represents a delicate policy dilemma. While
the overall economic policy is hands-off, the current organisation and competence of
eNorway suggest more hands-on implementation and co-ordination. The co-ordinating
body, located in the Ministry of Modernisation, has a good overview of the information
society policy area, and the conditions for proactive co-ordination and implementation are
good. However, personnel and competence resources within the co-ordinating body may
prove scarce. Co-ordination requires on the one hand large, comprehensive and financially independent policy measures, and, on the other hand, more specific policy initiatives, processes and schemes. The former type of measures has often subcontracted
implementing organisations with the relevant sectoral ministry as a co-ordinating actor. In
the case of policy learning it is an option for the co-ordinating body to operate stronger
co-ordination and exert influence on large outsourced policy schemes in relation to
overall but concrete aims in the eNorway framework. The latter type of policy measures
is typically operated and hands-on co-ordinated by the co-ordinating body. Existing wellmanaged processes can prove more efficient if the co-ordinating body can take stronger
decisions that can become important milestones, in particular on issues of technology
standardisation.

Introduction
The interrelation between information society policy, innovation policy and economic
policy receives attention in horizontal policy-making initiatives, at the European as well
as the national level. The aim of this study of Norwegian information society policy is to
contribute to the policy learning process between policy domains by exploring some of
the central conditions under which information society policy evolves. The main lesson
from this study is that Norwegian information society policy making may prove to be a
relevant example of good practice for the development of a comprehensive Norwegian
innovation policy. Norwegian information society policy documents are up to date in
terms of vision, strategy and targets. The policy mix and policy co-ordination, operated

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66 INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY CO-ORDINATION: A MOULD FOR INNOVATION POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY?
by the centrally located co-ordinating body, is a good example of how to organise policy
making, implementation and co-ordination for an extremely wide-ranging policy domain.
Information society policy often faces a dilemma. The bureaucratic capability to coordinate information society policy may be present, and the ministries in charge of sectororiented policy measures are often willing to make consensus-based, co-ordinated, crossministerial policy, but the overall political signals prescribe a hands-off approach. In
other words, high quality policy implementation and co-ordination require hands-on
policy processes. Such policy implementation calls for an overview and requires general
and specialised competence in the staff of the co-ordinating body.
This chapter builds on a study of Norwegian information society policy and aims at
addressing the issues introduced above. It studies the dilemmas arising out of the
interface between horizontal policy, co-ordination and institutional factors, on the one
hand, and a macroeconomic context and market-orientated policy stance, on the other.
The study combines information about the co-ordination of the implementation of a
specific policy area with general information about how the co-ordinating body operates.
Both parts are based on information from interviews with policy actors and from studies
of policy documents. Particular use is made of an evaluation of the Norwegian broadband
roll-out scheme, HYKOM, in 1999-2003.1 HYKOM is one of the main instruments
for ensuring that widespread broadband roll-out meets national targets concerning
infrastructure and Internet access.
The following section describes Norwegian information society policy today and its
historical development. Next, the policy reference points and links between other policy
domains and information technology (IT) policy are presented. The final two sections
address co-ordination and present conclusions and implications for innovation policy
development.

Norwegian ICT policy and its history


During the 1980s and the early 1990s Norwegian information and communication
technology (ICT) policy was shaped as a policy area with broad effects on societal
change. Despite divergent perceptions based on sector-specific interests, a comprehensive
national plan that took account of the broad effects of ICT was created based on a climate
of consensus among the key actors in industry, research and public life. Norwegian ICT
policy has over the last 20 years been made against a background of relatively high scores
on indicators benchmarking ICT performance. In 2004/2005, Norway can still refer to
positive technology penetration indicators, but the picture is perhaps a bit more disturbing
for Norwegian policy makers. Patterns of private use are stronger than patterns of
business use. ICT-based public service supply, public sector modernisation, e-commerce
and e-government represent areas in which it is possible to excel in the near future, but
results seem to be long in coming. The most recent peer review of ICT diffusion to
business in Norway identifies the need for increased policy attention particularly in
advanced business applications and business organisation (OECD, 2004).
The Norwegian e-society policy, eNorway2005, is an action plan that establishes a
framework for how Norwegian authorities shall orchestrate (prepare, organise, arrange)
the emergence of the e-society. The department of IT policy in the Ministry of Modernisation is the co-ordinating body of this comprehensive policy framework covering most
areas of importance concerning societal production, exploitation and use of ICT. The core
documents present a coherent hierarchy of targets and operative objectives within each
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policy area and there are dedicated co-ordinators responsible for each area, in addition to
the top co-ordinating body. Each policy area is operated by means of overall targets.
Concrete policy making for each area involves a package of measures, in which flagship
(prioritised) projects are defined. Below the nicely designed surface and fluency of
eNorways visions, strategies and targets, there exists a multitude (more than 100) of
policy initiatives, programmes and schemes. The portfolio of policy tools is a heterogeneous mix of large, comprehensive and financially independent policy programmes and
smaller, more specific policy initiatives, processes and schemes. The large programmes
have often subcontracted operative and co-ordinating organisations, with the relevant
sectoral ministry as co-ordinating actor. The co-ordinating body of eNorway does not
have hands-on managerial or governing functions, but represents an additional coordinating level that currently seems to fulfil objectives relating to strategic coherence.
The co-ordinating body has relatively little influence on agenda setting, prioritisation,
implementation and policy learning in the large policy schemes. The smaller policy
initiatives, processes and schemes are typically operated and co-ordinated hands-on by
the co-ordinating body. Co-ordination implies a multitude of types of interaction and a
multitude of forms of communication (for example, interdepartmental processes,
processes of legal change and standardisation, forums and arenas for dialogue and
collaboration between industry and stakeholders, etc.). The paper-based co-ordination and
marketing activities of eNorway represent a relatively large part of the work of the coordinating body. Box 3.1 presents the action plan in more detail.

How and why horizontal ICT policy became possible in Norway


There is a relatively clear tendency in Norways recent history of ICT policy for
policy making to repeat itself. During the 1980s a cross-ministerial consensus was
achieved concerning the importance of ICT in society. Two national strategic efforts have
been replaced by a range of less centralised, targeted sector efforts. The eNorway2005
national strategic effort follows this historical line. It is largely an overall framework
listing the variety of policy measures and policy actions that have been introduced over
the last years. What is new in the eNorway framework is a dedicated authority that coordinates the policy efforts. The eNorway action plan and the workings of the established
co-ordinating body are described below.
In the first years of the 1980s industrial policy thinking changed in Norway. The
transformation is particularly important when one looks back at the initial stages of
Norwegian information society thinking. It implied the establishment of innovation policy
as a relevant concept at the macro level (traditional political actors and channels). And it
led to the definition of research as a central industrial policy instrument. In concrete terms
the result was the definition of the main policy priorities for Norwegian research. The
macro political level was necessary but not sufficient to influence what was to become
the most important milestone on the way to the adoption of the information society,
namely the big concerted IT plan that was launched in the second half of the 1980s.

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Box 3.1. The Action Plan: eNorway2005


The prevailing Norwegian IT policy action plan is called eNorway. It contains qualitative objectives rather than
quantified targets. It includes a hierarchy of overall priorities, areas of effort, sub-areas priorities, and a range of
different policy programmes, policy instruments and policy actions with more or less specific aims. Following
advice from the European policy level, the Norwegian government responded to the eNorway 2005 action plan.
The Norwegian plan sets three main priorities and objectives:

Creating value in industry.

Efficiency and quality in the public sector.

Involvement and identity.


Involvement to achieve the main goals is divided into five areas:

A good framework for eNorway.

Accessibility and security.

Skills for change.

Attractive contents.

A modern public sector.


In the main policy document, each of the five areas is described in detail, including sub-areas of priority
connected to concrete targets. A so-called flagship project is assigned to each sub-area, the responsible
institution(s) is defined, and a deadline for target achievement is defined.
Two types of policy instruments
The plan has currently more than 100 projects and different types of actions, and 14 of the 17 Norwegian
ministries are engaged in projects and actions. Use of flagship projects seems to be a way to present the most
important effort in each policy area. A flagship project is synonymous with a prioritised task. The portfolio of
projects can be arranged in two types. On the one hand, there are the large and comprehensive policy
programmes with a specified budget, external (external to the co-ordinating body) administrative, operative staff
and often a co-ordinating panel. On the other hand, there is a smaller and more heterogeneous range of policy
initiatives and policy processes.
Large, comprehensive policy programmes
eNorway consists of a few large, complex policy programmes that concern specific ICT policy domains. In
addition to the ICT in Norwegian education scheme, which has been running since 1997, the HYKOM
scheme is also a typical example of a large-scale policy effort. Both schemes have outsourced administrative and
operative organisations (outside the co-ordinating body in the Ministry of Modernisation).
ICT in Norwegian education is organised by highly competent professionals who take care of the array of
nation-wide projects, schemes and network-building processes. The project portfolio represents examples of
good policy practice across the nation and is supposed to function as a policy guide for potential participants.
The aim is to establish, develop and contribute to national and international, multidisciplinary and networkbuilding research and competence development. ICT in Norwegian education has an intermediate coordinating level in the Ministry of Education and Research.
HYKOM, the scheme for stimulating broadband demand in Norway, is a comprehensive, complex and
outsourced policy scheme and the same type of policy effort as ICT in Norwegian education. It is a policy
instrument aimed at stimulating public and semi-public enterprises to invest in and employ broadband
infrastructure and applications. In the main eNorway publication, the target is formulated as follows: Good
offers for broadband shall be available on the market in all regions of Norway. During 2005 primary schools,
public libraries and local authority administrative services shall be given the option of broadband connection at a
competitive price.
Grants are approved for public enterprises, under the condition that at least 50% of the total investment is selffinanced.

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Box 3.1. The Action Plan: eNorway2005 (continued)


Smaller schemes, liaison committees, policy processes and initiatives
The eNorway project and activity portfolio clearly indicates that day-to-day tasks and activities of the staff of the
co-ordinating body are dominated by network-building processes and the operation of measures with relatively
concrete aims. Across the five policy areas (A good framework for eNorway, Accessibility and security, Skills
for change, Attractive content, and A modern public sector) eNorway operates and is involved in an array of
activities aimed at establishing good conditions for the emergence of the information society. The main types of
measures include co-ordination of and participation in network building on specific issues such as common
sector-specific interfaces, e-commerce, electronic signatures, IT security and IT research; formal initiatives and
activities in relation to themes, and processes such as changes in the law, other juridical issues, re-regulation and
standardisation, establishment of framework conditions (strategies, action plans building common perceptions
and objectives), studies and analyses of specific issues such as how e-commerce can affect transport and the
localisation of trade of goods and environment.

Macro policy dynamics of the 1980s


The policy debate in the early 1980s was dominated by arguments about the future
role of the telecommunication monopolist Televerket. The majority of the Norwegian
parliament voted for extended use of tenders in industrial demand and supply, a
resolution that de facto started the process of splitting up the state-owned telecommunication monopoly. This decision marks the start of the trend towards liberalisation and reregulation or deregulation in telecommunications. It can be seen as a paradox that while
maintaining and developing a strong will to make the best information technology policy
for the nation, politicians arguably started the process of decreasing ownership and
control over their best IT research policy tool, the national telecommunication monopolist
Televerket and its huge research facilities. Historically, it is plausible to argue that the
policy of liberalisation in telecommunications moulded national policy conditions so that
it became more and more difficult to govern and exploit publicly funded research in
other words, to politically build and exploit Televerket as a driver for Norwegian
industrial development of an information society.

The IT plan 1987-90


The IT plan ran from 1987 to 1990. It was a comprehensive public initiative aimed at
growth in the production and application and use of IT in most areas of the Norwegian
economy and society. The plan had a very broad scope. It included education at all levels,
public application of IT, basic research, strategic and applied research in product
development and application of IT, regional policy measures and telecommunications.
Looking back, the plan was the predecessor of the current Norwegian policy plan,
eNorway 2005.

The 1980s and inter-ministerial collaboration: the foundation for horizontal


policy making
co-operation and co-ordination between actors in the bureaucracy is an aspect of the
foundation for horizontal policy processes in the area of information technology.
However, the transformation of policy thinking at the macro level and the IT plan could
not have been realised without unifying initiatives from the micro level. The unifying
initiatives that fed into a concrete innovation policy in the shape of an IT plan came from
peripheral actors and individuals and units in research and education more than from the
ministries. Based on initiatives from these peripheral actors and experts, several
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independent initiatives emerged at the ministerial level, pointing in the direction of an IT
plan. The initiatives were quite different, but may be seen as an emerging network of
ministerial interests in IT. The network was dominated by the professional experts and
individuals with specific interests in technology, often at a peripheral location. It was
above all the view that information technology was a key technology that was similar
across ministries. Initiatives and contributions from each ministry were naturally
specified as themes corresponding to their area of responsibility, but a 1983 green paper
about telematics reflects the tendency towards horizontal policy thinking by suggesting
concrete policy initiatives across several ministries.
The committee behind the green paper put strong emphasis on the role of the
Norwegian telecommunication monopolist Televerket. It suggested strengthening its
internal research activity and boosting collaboration between Televerket, industrial actors
and other research institutes. Moreover, it emphasised rapid expansion of infrastructure
and investment in services that could improve the competitiveness of Norwegian industry. Televerket was to play the role of driver. Worth mentioning is the committees
recommendation that investment in and acquisition of technological solutions should not
necessarily take a cost-based view. The committee suggested that (more expensive)
solutions could be preferred if the socio-economic effects were expected to be higher.
Education policy related to information technology was also strongly emphasised. On the
one hand, modern information technology tools and solutions were to be used to improve
the efficiency of education. On the other hand, education was seen as crucial in order to
exploit the opportunities afforded by R&D in the field.
In the period between the 1983 green paper on telematics and the launch of the IT
plan in 1986-87, two different political directions were visible in the inter-ministerial
processes that led to consensus about the plan. Strong political forces pulled in the
direction of emphasising IT policy as (a tool for) industrial development. This policy
interest was brought forward by representatives of industry, technology and technological
research and backed by the Ministry of Industry. Exploitation and acquisition of IT in
existing industries was a topic for this side, but the development of a new and emerging
IT industry was emphasised even more as the solution to Norwegian industrial challenges. In the mid-1980s this kind of political interest, involving industry modernisation,
had as its counterpart a notion of IT as a more comprehensive driving force in the
information society. The interest in modernisation of industry took concrete form as a
committee proposal (a proposal from the so-called Kuvs committee) that was to give
input into work on a national IT plan. The political interests that supported a broader view
of diffusion and exploitation of IT existed above all in other ministries. The message from
this side came from an advisory board consisting of senior public servants, which was
established by the government with a mandate to protect objectives and values other than
those related to industry and commercial life. In compliance with the boards mandate,
called Datapolitisk Rd, it commented in particular that the proposal from the Kuvs
committee could be characterised more as a programme for Norwegian industry and
commerce than a comprehensive national IT programme. Rather than national objectives
within economic variables and productivity, Datapolitisk Rd was of the opinion that
several issues were missing, in particular:

Competence accumulation, research and investigation of the interface between IT


and social science.

Cultural and social implications of IT, in particular humanistic and social


scientific areas.
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Competence accumulation in broader spheres of education and research, not only


IT, such as law, medicine, and agricultural science.

Competence accumulation and exploitation of IT in the public sector.

A special effort in rural Norway, in particular education and industry in the


northern part of the country.

In other words, the variety of ministerial suggestions, which were reflected in the
committees statement, included education at lower levels, use of IT in the public
sector/administration, and IT and regional policy measures. Despite the differing views,
the Ministry of Industry saw it as its responsibility to gather together the different
interests in an effort to propose a national IT plan that could build on consensus with the
governments political signals and objectives. In practice, this meant that the Ministry of
Industry understood that all interests expressed by ministries and other stakeholders had
to be taken into consideration in the proposal for a national IT plan. A couple of
important points can be made from this brief description of Norwegian IT policy in the
making during the 1980s:

The constructive process of balancing power between different political interests


and objectives prior to the big IT action plan 1987-90 resulted in a plan that was
comprehensive, nation-wide and not limited to industrial and commercial
interests.

The understanding of the broader significance of how IT could be exploited and


diffused in society had reached both the government and the most important
actors in IT policy making at that point in time: representatives from the most
important ministries and the expert committees with a mandate to develop IT
policy.

The result was that all actors could agree on five main areas for an IT action plan:
1. Education, vocational training, universities and colleges, in-service training.
2. Equipment for education and research.
3. Knowledge production and accumulation: research (basic and applied) in central
and specialised areas.
4. Product development: measures supporting industry, grants for R&D and innovation.
5. Technology acquisition and diffusion: demonstration projects, productivity programmes, IT in the public sector.
The proposal was built on the consensus achieved and common understanding at the
ministerial level that IT has societal effects and implications (an information society
perspective) that go beyond potential industrial development. However, observers have
pointed out that policy making at the ministerial level made the mistake of including both
the information society perspective and the industrial development perspective. Looking
to the 1990s, IT policy went in the direction of detailed and comprehensive policy
implementation based on inclusion of both aspects. Even though the lessons from this
extremely wide-ranging and comprehensive policy making are mixed, it seems reasonable
to see the consensus-making efforts at the ministerial level in the 1980s as a prerequisite
for the fact that hardly any interests or policy domains were excluded.

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72 INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY CO-ORDINATION: A MOULD FOR INNOVATION POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY?
The role of the Finance Ministry
In the balance of power of the 1980s the Finance Ministry clearly played a
consolidating role in relation to existing sectoral budget allocations. Having less interest
in the policy dimensions of IT in terms of the societal effects, and more interest in
keeping the overall national budget in balance, the Finance Ministry demanded that every
new proposed policy initiative should be financed by the existing budgetary limits of the
relevant ministry. In the consensus-seeking processes, the Finance Ministry can be
characterised as a hindrance to be overcome in order to realise the plans that were made.
The historical dynamics between ministerial consensus and departmentalisation in strong
ministries with specialised sector interests are discussed below.

The 1990s: detailed and comprehensive policy planning


Buland (1996) emphasises that negotiations between ministries involved in IT policy
efforts resulted in a sufficient degree of consensus to achieve the IT plan 1987-90. The
framework of policy efforts and the five main areas of attention defined in the action plan
seem to have traced the paths of policy efforts in the 1990s. These paths were much less
collaborative and much more sector-specific. The national plan 1987-90 was succeeded
by other, more sector-specific plans. Although the activities defined in the most highly
profiled policy documents of the last 15 years seem to add up to a coherent whole, in fact
each area of implementation was subject to ownership and control by the responsible
ministry. The fact that consensus had been established did not mean that opinions about
the plan did not differ. And it did not imply that every policy area was developed with
strong reference to a common and co-ordinated development path.
From the opposite perspective, it can be emphasised that the inter-ministerial
consensus and collaboration that led to the big action plan succeeded despite the fact that
sectoral interests in each ministry were and still are particularly strong in Norway
compared to many other countries. There is no doubt that the patterns of strong sector
interests and departmentalisation in the Norwegian bureaucracy did not change in its
nature just because the ministerial level managed to agree to the overall IT plan. The big
IT action plan included ministries specific activities and plans.
In sum, during the 1990s, the IT plan of 1987-90 was followed by a period of far less
centralised activity. Different ministries contended to be the central IT ministry, and the
various IT policy work was carried out in relative calm as part of several smaller
sectoral plans. In some of these areas, for example education and infrastructure, good
results were achieved, a strong indication that big national efforts are not necessarily
crucial. It is possible to achieve good results with determined work.
During the last part of the 1990s, the national dimension again came to the fore. In
1996, a report by a panel of deputy ministers formulated a new national strategy.2 In
isolation, this was of course a positive effort and had significance for the whole nation.
There was an evident need for an IT policy. The problem was that, once again, the
strategy by and large took form as statements of intent instead of measures and action.
The report represented a range of good ideas without any concrete plans pointing to how
to reach the targets. It noted that the revolution we live in the middle of implies
possibilities and perspectives to be taken care of, and that it is necessary to exploit
information technology for the sake of:

Growth and value creation.

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Reduced proximity.

Culture and the media.

The global school.

A simpler life for all.

Protection of privacy and vulnerability.

The public sector and the future.

Improved organisation and collaboration in the health care system.

In this way, the top policy level presented its views. An inter-ministerial consensus
was presented, and the formulation (and implementation) of concrete action was handed
over to those who knew how to do it. However, one could argue that it was disappointing
that such a comprehensive policy document contained little more than general overall
aims. To the extent that the document had a strategic method, it seemed to be the
principle of addition. The report was mainly a summary of everything that had to do with
IT in the mid-1990s. Difficult choices, decisions about direction, prioritisation and
content, were basically lacking. And, above all, no co-ordinating body with concrete
responsibility was set up.

Relevant policy contexts


European policy as reference point
The Norwegian e-society policy is organised within a framework that follows in the
footsteps of European initiatives and action plans.3 The European plans and core documents emphasise infrastructure, skills, access and exploitation of ICT. Moreover, they
include strong statements about the continuous need to evaluate, benchmark and develop
policy. It is stated that eEurope will facilitate the exchange of experience, good practice
and demonstration projects, but will also share lessons to be learned from failures. Policy
measures are to be monitored by benchmarking progress made in achieving the objectives
and the policies in support of the objectives. To understand governance, it is highly
relevant to study how nations implement and co-ordinate information society policy
within the EU context.
In the context of the MONIT project, the paragraph in the eEurope 2005 document on
co-ordination is particularly important. It emphasises that overall co-ordination of
existing policies can create synergies among the proposed actions. It also states that there
is urgent need for political commitment to this central initiative at the national level.
Targets and objectives at the European level can only be reached if nations are able to set
new priorities, to provide adequate funding and to remove obstacles to achieving the
targets. In Norway, the information society policy initiative is formally included in the
eNorway action plan.

Norwegian politics and information society policy


Most of the parties represented in the Norwegian parliament are engaged in ICT
policy and information society policy matters. As in the Norwegian political context in
general, the information society policy debate has been consensus-oriented and not
subject to much interference or disagreement. The reason is, among other things, the fact
that the Labour Party has been in power most of the last 25 years, and only occasionally
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74 INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY CO-ORDINATION: A MOULD FOR INNOVATION POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY?
replaced by a conservative government coalition. Moreover, the same period of time has
been characterised by minority governments, and this too encourages the orientation
towards consensus. Although commentators argue that a policy change towards marketbased policy thinking and policy making certainly involved the last social-democratic
governments because of the trend towards globalisation and deregulation that started in
the 1980s and 1990s, the conservative-dominated government (2001) undertook radical
policy change more explicitly than the preceding social-democratic governments. It is
increasingly evident that the current Norwegian government is strongly in favour of
letting the market rule.

Current Norwegian politics and eNorway 2005: conservative political principles


The Bondevik government reveals through its legislative proposals, budgets, policy
priorities and guiding principles a strong desire to shift policy towards a market
orientation. Based on the comparison of new competition law proposals in the EU and
Norway, commentators argue that the Norwegian government is more liberal more
willing to let the market rule than the European Union currently is. The Norwegian
government proposes that competition should be a central policy aim and principle in all
public as well as private domains of society. The EU is proposing exceptions from
competition laws in the health and social sector, in education, in collective transport and
in culture. In Norway, the market orientation is increasingly visible in policy making in
general and in the eNorway initiative but perhaps even more so at the level of
implementation. Market orientation and belief in what competition can accomplish are
very noticeable in certain policy solutions for broadband roll-out and are somewhat clear
in ICT and innovation/modernisation processes in the public sector.
European information society policy and the Norwegian version are formulated at the
qualitative, general and main policy levels. The policy sets objectives in terms of
universal concepts about access to and exploitation of ICT by human beings and society
at large, independent of the stage of technological development or maturity and of the
policy instruments to achieve the objectives. This kind of formulation of key concepts
and aims in central policy is crucial in the sense that it arranges for a policy process that
is flexible and adjustable. It is open to changes in technology and to changes in peoples
preferences and it can be adjusted in response to different types of political regimes and
different types of policy measures. eNorway 2005 seems strong in terms of covering an
extremely wide array of relevant policy areas and it can exhaustively cover different types
of implementation measures, programmes and instruments. Looking ahead, the policy
framework should therefore not embody obstacles to meaningful and co-ordinated policy
innovation (policy learning) in the field. Policy innovation certainly depends on political
insight and vigour, and on human preferences and properties of the political system.
After more than three years in office, the Norwegian centre-conservative coalition
government increasingly demonstrates that its policy represents a clear-cut alternative to
what used to be known as Norwegian social democratic policy thinking. This is evident
across policy fields, it is not limited to the tax policy and general economic policy. The
belief in competition and individual choice is obvious in education policy for example.
Evidence of the governments intentions also became clearer in the overall innovation
policy plan launched late in 2003. This policy tendency can be described as market
orientation, with a strong belief that shaping framework conditions is one of the most
important policy mechanisms. This latter point has had a bearing on social democratic
thinking as well, but social democrats in opposition criticise the governments lack of will
to intervene actively to develop knowledge-based policy measures. The conservative
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government is generally more sceptical (than opposition parties in parliament) of a policy


that implies allocation of money to specific measures and policy programmes. In broader
economic policy the government asserts that the best policy making is to shape good
external conditions without allocating money directly. There can be no doubt that market
orientation and a focus on external conditions is a strong policy mechanism in
eNorway 2005 but not the only mechanism in this comprehensive area of policy making.

Norwegian information society policy and its link to innovation policy


Reflecting the perceived relation between IT policy and policy areas such as
innovation policy and education policy, the department of IT policy in the Norwegian
Ministry of Trade and Industry4 stated in its initial document on IT policy:
Todays modern, knowledge-based information society is at the hub of the IT policy.
The [IT policy] departments drive is to create a practical framework to promote
reform and modernisation, as well as boost value creation through effective
deployment of information and communication technologies.
and
The IT revolution entails innate social and economic changes; social and cultural
patterns are being altered, national legislation and regulations are being contested and
new products are being taken into use. The burgeoning growth of the digital society
eNorway heralds tremendous opportunities, which command targeted work for
realisation. A pro-active policy is crucial here. eNorway is the Norwegian
Government's IST/ICT policy.5
Without addressing explicitly the concept of innovation policy, the eNorway policy
nevertheless captures the general objective of boosting value creation. The new
innovation policy plan that was launched by the government in October 2003 has value
creation as its main target, in addition to targets concerning knowledge, technology and
innovation. Moreover the innovation policy plan includes in its formulation of overall
objectives exploitation of ICT in a broad sense. The link between the plans of eNorway
and Norwegian innovation policy is clear.
The text referred to above emphasises that the IT policy departments core tasks are
in the areas of e-commerce, IT deployment and broadband roll-out, as well as policies for
electronic content and IT security. The overall objective is for Norway to be at the
forefront of the knowledge-based information society through the promotion of advanced
IT development and deployment. The governments eNorway 2005 action plan,6 launched
in May 2002, provides more in-depth information on the primary objectives of the
governments IT policy.

Co-ordination of eNorway
The characteristics of eNorway 2005 as a policy action plan
The eNorway action plan and its co-ordinating body is an innovative organisational
operation aimed at making ICT policy co-ordinated and coherent. Compared to the
history of ICT policy in the Norwegian context, which indicated a lack of credible
visionary perspectives and aims, the eNorway action plan provides a hierarchy of targets
and objectives related to five policy areas and a corresponding set of policy schemes and
initiatives. It is visionary as well as concrete in its formulation of policy tools. The policy
cycle contains large, comprehensive, complex policy schemes that are outsourced (from
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76 INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY CO-ORDINATION: A MOULD FOR INNOVATION POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY?
the eNorway co-ordinating body), and it contains an array of policy initiatives, processes
and smaller schemes that are operated by the co-ordinating body itself.
The eNorway co-ordinating body has as its aim to motivate and orchestrate
information society policy as a whole. With the exception of legal competence and
knowledge and skills related to the functioning of the political and bureaucratic system, it
does not have specialised competence to handle sector-specific policy domains, and the
large and comprehensive schemes seem to live a life of their own without specific
influence or co-ordination from eNorway. The responsible co-ordinating authority for the
large and complex schemes, which often is the relevant sector-specific ministry, is
responsible for operation, implementation and policy learning related to these large
schemes.
Policy initiatives and smaller schemes are by and large co-ordinated by the coordinating body, even though there are cases in which sector-specific ministries are the
most important co-ordinators. Co-ordination implies the establishment of communication
platforms, physical and electronic interfaces and routines between stakeholders and the
co-ordinating body. From the side of the co-ordinating body it requires the design of
measures for interaction between stakeholders that affect existing, traditional systems,
technologies and solutions. It implies a pedagogic effort that engages stakeholders and
participants in the opening of doors to digital solutions and corresponding network
requirements. The emergence of the information society encounters a range of
impediments in the existing structures and solutions of society. It is eNorways role is to
co-ordinate the necessary changes in conditions. In many ways one can argue that the
portfolio of policy initiatives and the smaller policy schemes that depend on networkbuilding activities, taken together, are similar to one of the larger policy schemes that are
outsourced.
The eNorway2005 action plan was until mid-2004 managed by the department of IT
policy in the Ministry of Trade and Industry. From mid-2004 the department of IT policy
(the co-ordinating body of eNorway) and responsibility for and management of eNorway
is under the new Ministry of Modernisation. This places the co-ordination of the
Norwegian governments IT policy or information society policy7 within the Ministry of
Modernisation and in close liaison with other government ministries with different areas
of responsibility. The close liaison between eNorway and the ministries and communication between them take a variety of forms depending on the policy domain and the
type of policy scheme in question. In other words, the intensity of communication and
collaboration between the eNorway co-ordinating body and the sector-specific ministry as
co-ordinating body, depends on the kind of policy scheme being operated. The following
discussion identifies two general types of collaboration pattern, roughly corresponding to
the two types of policy schemes described above.
In policy domains dominated by large complex schemes with separate budgets
(e.g. HYKOM and ICT in Norwegian education), which are mainly supervised and coordinated by sector-specific ministries, eNorway plays a defensive, relatively marginal
role, at least concerning the activities under the scheme. This does not mean that the coordinating body does not participate in liaison committees between the actors (eNorway,
sector-specific ministries, implementing actors and stakeholders). On the contrary, for
policy schemes and domains that are outsourced and co-ordinated by sector-specific
ministries, networking functions and the exercise of influence by the co-ordinating body
are by and large done through participation in liaison committees that deal with overall

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relevant policy making (governance, management, reporting, evaluation, policy learning


and planning of activities).
In the policy domain that is characterised by networking activities, liaison committees, and more specialised policy processes and schemes (e.g. e-commerce networks,
standardisation processes, re-regulation, juridical processes), the co-ordinating body plays
a more central role, leading the processes as chairman with responsibility for the variety
of liaison committees, collaboration forums and policy processes. This implies keeping an
up-to-date view of network participants, communication with core actors and stakeholders as well as agenda setting, responsibility for progress, for reporting and for evaluation and policy learning.

Patterns of interaction between co-ordinating body and stakeholders


The co-ordinating body operates a multitude of arenas and forums for co-ordinating
policy initiatives, processes and schemes. Some processes are dominated by meetings and
dialogue between the co-ordinating body and relevant ministries (for example interaction
leading to propositions for changes in legislation). Some forums work on political and
bureaucratic processes and include only higher level bureaucrats (for example, the IT
panel of deputy ministers and the interdepartmental panel on e-commerce). In the case of
e-commerce, there is a Web site (www.ehandel.no) which serves as a market and a
gateway for the initiatives in eNorways scheme for electronic commerce for projects
and activities that promote the development of electronic commerce in and with the
public sector. Other forums are arenas for dialogue and collaboration between industry
and stakeholders, such as the Forum for IT security and the national public key
infrastructure (PKI) forum (e-signatures).
The many of arenas for interaction require many types of communication between the
staff of the co-ordinating body and its contact points. They require communication across
ministries and ministerial hierarchies and communication with a range of people with
different status in society. This work is done more easily by telephone calls, e-mails and
face-to-face contact than the typical bureaucratic mode of formal letters. In order to
manage all the arenas between different actors, the department of IT policy (the formal
label of the organisation that includes the eNorway co-ordinating body) works as a rather
flat organisation. Although a hierarchy exists, formally speaking, this is a department that
is different from many other ministerial departments in the bureaucracy.

Sectorisation and departmentalisation


Although the co-ordinating body certainly plays a central role in working towards the
overall coherence of the eNorway action plan, responsibility for implementation of the
five policy areas is partly distributed to relevant sector ministries or to constellations of
ministries.8 The concept of departmentalisation strong ministries and government
agencies promoting sector interests has strong roots in Norwegian politics and
bureaucracy and is an important observation in the context of the MONIT project. The
drive towards more horizontal policy may encounter impediments due to sectorisation.
The following discussion will refer to the above-mentioned description of the coordinating bodys activity: on the one hand as relatively peripheral co-ordinator of
outsourced schemes that are strongly influenced by sector-specific interests and coordinated by sector-specific ministries; on the other hand as a central actor in policy
initiatives, policy processes, smaller schemes and the strategic level of eNorway.

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Downstream and upstream co-ordination in the policy cycle
The mandate of the co-ordinating body is limited to political and bureaucratic
processes in Norway and in relation to the EU system. Its main task is to implement,
follow up and develop the action plan. As pointed out above, for the variety of policy
schemes and initiatives that include comprehensive areas, the co-ordinating body can
only fulfil its objectives by running different types of co-ordinating activities.
In the context of the MONIT project, the study of the information society explores the
subtleties in the distribution of responsibility among actors for the formulation, coordination and implementation of policy, and for evaluation, policy learning and reformulation of policy. For the policy schemes and initiatives that have to be co-ordinated,
two types of co-ordination tasks can be identified. On the one hand, there is the coordination of implementing activities. This requires what can be called a downstream
policy exercise or policy execution. On the other hand, there are development and
evaluation activities that require what can be called upstream policy learning capabilities. Both types of activities are necessary components of a policy system that aims at
development, at staying attuned to political preferences, and at maintaining a long-term
perspective and a flexible but continuous drive towards the overall objectives.

A stylised table of co-ordination in the policy cycle


This chapter has presented two stylised types of policy schemes or policy activities in
eNorway: on the one hand large, complex outsourced policy schemes, and on the other
hand specialised policy initiatives, actions and smaller schemes that are implemented
with stronger internal control and co-ordinated as network processes. It has also presented
two stylised types of co-ordination tasks: on the one hand the downstream co-ordination
that concerns policy agenda setting, prioritisation and implementation, and on the other
hand upstream co-ordination that concerns policy learning capabilities, policy analysis
and evaluation. To assess the degree of influence and therefore the role of the coordinating body, Table 3.1 presents these stylised policy activities and co-ordination.
For agenda setting, prioritisation and implementation (downstream co-ordination), the
co-ordinating body appears to have a low degree of influence on the large complex,
outsourced policy schemes. Its influence and co-ordination appear stronger for the
internally based schemes and policy processes.
Table 3.1. A stylised perspective on the influence of the eNorway co-ordinating body in
the information society policy cycle
Type of policy scheme
Co-ordination type
Downstream co-ordination in the
policy cycle
1. Agenda setting and prioritisation
2. Implementation
Upstream co-ordination in the
policy cycle
3. Policy analysis and evaluation

Type 1: large complex, outsourced


policy schemes

Type 2: policy initiatives, actions,


smaller schemes

1. Low degree of influence


2. Low degree of influence

1. High degree of influence


2. Medium degree of influence

3. Strong marketing function Low


degree of influence, but potentially
stronger influence

3. Strong marketing function, strong


influence

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For upstream co-ordination, i.e. the influence on the dimensions of policy analysis
and evaluation, the co-ordinating body appears to be an important marketing tool for
large, outsourced schemes. eNorway places large-scale Norwegian policy measures
within the wider aims of information society policy. Moreover it has a currently low but
potentially strong influence on policy learning. Documentation of the co-ordinating
bodys ability to co-ordinate and influence policy analysis and evaluate the large outsourced schemes is weak, because it is recently established and has undergone only a
couple of evaluations. There is no information available on eNorways policy learning
since the evaluation of one part of ICT in Norwegian education and the evaluation of
HYKOM, the broadband roll-out scheme.
For agenda setting, prioritisation and implementation and the co-ordinating bodys
influence on type 2 policy schemes, it appears to be relatively strong, because the coordinating body actively runs most of these policy processes. Its influence on the
marketing function and policy learning for type 2 schemes is strong, as it can follow these
policy processes and schemes closely.

A multitude of actors in eNorway 2005


The Norwegian government and the Norwegian parliament obviously play important
roles as overall driving forces in the development of the information society policy. From
the perspective of policy making, there is no doubt that the key actors in the information
society policy area are the co-ordinating body and the involved ministries. The links to
the political level are strong. The co-ordinating body and the ministries are strongly
influenced by and carriers of policy signals, policy guidance, governance and control
from the government and parliament. Above, the current Norwegian governments
conservative political principles were viewed as the most fundamental policy signal.
Links to the policy cycle and the level of implementation are relatively strong, although
not as strong as to the political level. Figure 3.1 sketches eNorways key players in a
hierarchical perspective.
Figure 3.1. Key players in the eNorway policy system

Norwegian Parliament

Norwegian Government

The co-ordinating body of eNorway


in the Ministry of Modernisation

Ministerial level
The ministries as co-ordinating and implementing bodies

Implementation level
Ministries, government agencies, outsourced agencies, commercial and public actors and stakeholders

The key player at the policy level is the co-ordinating body in the Ministry of
Modernisation. The responsibility for eNorway 2005 was transferred from the Ministry of
Trade and Industry to the Ministry of Modernisation, and the Ministry of Trade and
Industry now co-ordinates e-commerce. The other key players include the ministries
involved as responsible participants and/or co-ordinating actors in specific areas of
implementation of the action plan. In a few cases other public institutions play key roles
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80 INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY CO-ORDINATION: A MOULD FOR INNOVATION POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY?
(the Norwegian Research Council is an important stakeholder in certain policy domains
for example). In addition to the Ministry of Modernisation, which is active in most areas
because of its overall responsibility as co-ordinator, the involved actors include the
following ministries with designated co-ordination tasks:

The Ministry of Labour and Government Administration has designated tasks for
regulation, electronic signatures, skills, and public sector policy.

The Ministry of Justice and the Police has designated tasks for regulation policy.

The Ministry of Education and Research and the Research Council have designated tasks for research, security and education policy.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has designated tasks for electronic communication policy.

The Ministry of Finance has designated tasks for tax incentives.

The Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs and the Ministry of Children and
Family Affairs have designated tasks for content policy.

The Ministry of the Environment has designated tasks concerning content,


i.e. spatial information policy.

Implementing institutions below the ministerial level also play an important role in
this policy system. Implementation of policy is the most important task. At the end of the
day the co-ordinating body depends crucially on the implementing institutions ability to
reach the defined eNorway objectives.

The Norwegian IT committee of deputy ministers


In the past, the committee of deputy ministers in the domain of IT has played an
important role. The committee was established in 1995 and was the result of political
pressure arguing that IT policy needed political vision and concrete co-ordination.
Accordingly, there were high expectations at the political level about what the deputy
ministers could contribute to IT policy. After political arguments among different
ministries that wanted to take part, the six participants9 concentrated on producing a
report, which drew together existing IT policy schemes and initiatives, arranged according to a number of visionary statements and reflections.10 The report introduced a
public debate about Norwegian IT policy. Between 2000 and 2002 the committee of
deputy ministers was actively involved in work to prepare the launch of the eNorway
action plan in 2002. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has headed the committee since
1995.
The committee is currently involved in different aspects of IT policy and issues
relevant to eNorway. It convenes annually for a lengthy meeting, in which themes and
schemes relevant to the inter-ministerial level of governance are presented and discussed.
HYKOM, the scheme for broadband rollout, was a main theme around 2000 and was
immediately included in the eNorway action plan. The committee also holds shorter
workshops. It is supported by a forum, the e-contact group (eKontaktgruppen), which has
senior official representatives from the same ministries as the committee. The e-contact
group prepares the work of the committee, as well as tasks that it is natural to keep within
the ministry, such as policy evaluations. A forthcoming theme and task for the committee
and the e-contact group relates to implementation of EU directives with relevance to IT
policy.
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The work of the IT committee of deputy ministers has various functions for eNorway
and different levels of utility for the different ministries. The participating deputy
ministers engagement in the work of the committee partly reflects their individual
engagement, and partly reflects the tasks, schemes and status of each ministrys role in
and contribution to IT policy and eNorway as a whole. This means that some deputy
ministers may use the committee work to actively influence issues and processes that are
important for their ministries interests. Other deputy ministers may use the committee
work to stay up-to-date on issues of importance for their ministrys share of eNorway.

The co-ordinating bodys work: sector interests versus co-ordination


The questions that are opportune to ask are related to mechanisms of interaction and
organisation in the system described above, which is meant to establish and ensure
coherence between the policy-making and the policy-implementing level. The interaction
between the policy-making level, the policy-co-ordinating level and the policy cycle (the
implementing level) have been explored above. An attempt has been made to see how
interaction between key players sets the conditions for agenda setting at the policy level
and how priorities are set. What are the dynamics of influence and information flow? To
what extent do the policy level and the co-ordinating body influence and control the
extent to which the policy cycle delivers results in accordance with the objectives? How
do the ministry and its co-ordinating body fulfil their role as the co-ordinator of
eNorway?
This chapter will argue that co-ordination efforts encounter impediments owing to the
way political power is structured and the way sectoral interests are protected. Policy
coherence at a strategic level seems possible, but once one goes into the more specific
context of implementation there are indications that policy coherence in eNorway is
impeded by sectoral interests and lack of information flows between large policy domains
and the co-ordinating body. This is not necessarily visible from the outside and may not
be negative at an aggregate policy level. A central part of the co-ordinating bodys
mandate is to stay up to date vis--vis the information society policy processes in
Norway, Europe and globally. At this level eNorway seems to be a success.
However, when approaching the policy cycle and the day-to-day work of eNorway as
co-ordinator, it becomes evident that the large policy areas and programmes that eNorway
is supposed to co-ordinate are generally controlled by programme-level co-ordinating
actors, which in turn are strongly influenced by the sector interests that once established
the policy instruments. Moreover, even though there are different degrees of coordination intensity in some policy areas the co-ordinating body is very actively
involved, in other areas it is not sector interests in general and the financial structure of
policy implementation in particular seem to represent important impediments to coordination.

Mandate and target formulation


A discussion of co-ordination in this policy domain necessarily addresses how coordination affects target formulation and fulfilment. A main objective of the Norwegian
authorities is to organise and drive eNorway-2005 and reach its targets. This intention is
formulated in the eNorway action plan. It is stated that the development of eNorway is
supposed to be driven by individuals and enterprises creative application of ICT, with
active participation by the authorities (www.enorge.org). Moreover, and addressing the
more concrete executive role of the co-ordinating body, the authorities express the
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82 INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY CO-ORDINATION: A MOULD FOR INNOVATION POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY?
intention for it to be orchestrator, organiser and driving force. These terms refer directly
to the targets in each of the sub-areas within the five main areas of effort described above.
An interesting question related to the defined targets and the possibility of
successfully fulfilling them has to do with wording and formulation. The wording of the
overall targets as well as the sub-targets in each area is relatively general. The positive
aspect is that this type of formulation is more visionary than precise target formulations.
Moreover, it is easy to make rough estimates of whether or not the targets are reached.
The negative side is that the relative lack of precision may make it difficult to use such
targets as they may imply more varied policy solutions. Consequently, estimates of
fulfilment are difficult to quantify and may become politicised. A foreseeable result is
political disagreement about whether or not targets are reached.11
With relatively vague target formulations, co-ordination implies activities that range
from no influence to strong influence (by the co-ordinating body). Rephrased, the coordinating body may fulfil its objectives by any type of co-ordination. It can be argued
that this may be necessary. The information society policy system involves very different
areas of effort, policy instruments and schemes, which consequently imply very different
implementation settings in which actors and stakeholders take different positions and
have dissimilar bargaining power and possibilities to influence the processes.
While broad target formulations may be acceptable at the overall eNorway level, one
would expect more specific formulations at the level of particular policy schemes. It is
not the case for HYKOM. The evaluation report states that the formal and overall
targets in HYKOM are complex and not stringently operationalised. In the light of the
different types of policy guidance, commands and control that have had effect during the
process (for example annual political signals about priority areas from the government
and ministries), targets have changed and been prioritised differently. In the case of
broadband implementation, the ambition of the political level has been to enable and
obtain development in public enterprises and institutions, a stronger focus on user needs,
and a stronger focus on efficiency and productivity gains in administration and services
through the use of applications and services based on broadband technology. Thus, if
public enterprises did not have a broadband connection, HYKOM was to contribute to
such a connection. If there was no access to (no supply of) infrastructure to which the
enterprises could attach, demand from enterprises should stimulate investment in
broadband infrastructure. The supply of broadband solutions and the development of
applications is supposed to be ensured by commercial actors. Moreover, it has been an
important intention to support ICT competence and industrial development related to
broadband services and broadband-based services across the country, in particular in the
periphery.
Given its complex mandate and overall targets, HYKOM is an instrument with
much wider implications than what is intuitively captured by the notion broadband rollout. HYKOM can be seen as a scheme for the modernisation of the Norwegian public
sector, for industrial development, for regional development and for upgrading competence related to broadband applications in the knowledge society. HYKOM grew out of
concrete target formulations about Internet access and applications and IT policy at the
turn of the century, but, as with ICT policy in general, the scheme has developed into a
multi-sector policy instrument with targets that correspond to national targets for horizontal innovation policy.

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The evaluation of the HYKOM scheme concludes that it has functioned well in
some cases and less well in others. The scheme has addressed a range of aspects linked to
broadband acquisition and application: infrastructure investments, competence flow,
acquisition and application, development in and between institutions, production of
content, stimulation of demand, competition and planning. Although to have national
penetration rates among the best in the world is a declared objective of the overall
eNorway framework, the main idea in the HYKOM scheme has been to stimulate
institutions that mainly want to work on their own development. As a scheme for
boosting broadband penetration across the nation, it seems to be lacking mechanisms that
ensure access in the periphery. HYKOM has worked well at one end of the market, but
has not been able to operate efficiently where the market has not already invested in
infrastructure. With a stronger influence from regional authorities (channelled through
eNorway as co-ordinating body) HYKOM could probably have developed into a
programme that strongly supported broadband investments and access in peripheral areas
that lack possibilities for connection.
In fact, HYKOM has focused on positive results from planned and ongoing
development processes in the institutions that took part. It would appear that the political
signals from the government and the ministries that finance HYKOM limit the use of
public money and engagement. This implies that it is appropriate to release public money
when market mechanisms have ensured access to the technology. On the contrary, it is
not politically acceptable to let policy schemes fiddle with the market through public
investment in infrastructure.
There is much more to the story of broadband implementation in the Norwegian
context. The evaluation of HYKOM indicates that the policy of letting the market,
i.e. the actors with ownership and control of infrastructure investment and co-ordination
in the municipalities, take care of fulfilling broadband penetration targets in rural areas
implies at least an acceptance that Norway will not be among the best broadband nations
by 2005. If this is so, what role does the co-ordinating body play? It remains to be seen in
the process of policy learning.

Dimensions of interaction
Competence
Competence in the co-ordinating body certainly sets the conditions for interaction
with other co-ordinating actors and with actors with operative responsibility and tasks in
implementation processes. It is a task of the co-ordinating body to give other ministries
support for their sectoral IT policy areas. Considering the broad scope and open-ended
nature of eNorway there is evidently a need for a broad competence base in the coordinating body to be able to co-ordinate the different parts. The question is the extent to
which the co-ordinating body should have in-depth competence for each implementation
area or each policy instrument. It is easy to say that its staff should have specialised
competence in all of the professions and technology areas covered in eNorways
programmes and schemes. Realistically it is impossible.
An orchestra conductor, for example, needs to have a minimum of insight into the
properties of the different instruments and how they work together, but need not be able
to play all instruments. In the same manner, the co-ordinating body has to have a minimum of knowledge and competence about the different policy areas, corresponding
implementation instruments and underlying technologies, and their current and potential
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interaction. However, it largely lacks the deep competence base on each implementation
area and on specific technologies for the concrete and detailed management of a specific
policy instrument. This does not mean that the co-ordinating body cannot be competent
enough to control specific technology or policy areas in order to identify a misfit between
the political principles that underpin policy instruments and the concrete possibility of
reaching declared targets. Moreover it does not mean that the co-ordinating body cannot
become competent to make decisions that can set a standard. This last point implies for
example choosing one technology platform or solution in a technology area that is in
urgent need of standardisation in order to become a public good. It can in fact be argued
that centralised administration of specific policy instruments is not useful in an
organisation that is focused on maintaining an overview and co-ordinating different
policy areas into a coherent whole.
The most important tasks of the co-ordinating body include keeping an up-to-date
view of the overall policy portfolio of eNorway, and identifying, following up and coordinating measures across areas with sector-specific characteristics. This means that the
co-ordinating body intervenes in and co-ordinates the different policy areas and
instruments. Moreover, it has a particular responsibility to intercept political signals and
is responsible for co-ordinating and influencing legislative changes in relation to changes
made necessary by eNorway. Intercepting political signals requires a considerable effort
to stay up to date on political processes at different levels, because of the need to adapt
eNorway to continuous changes in technology, society and political priorities. With the
department of IT policys scarce resources and relatively small staff of fewer than
20 persons, this is a demanding task in view of the comprehensive scope of eNorway and
the number of activity areas and tasks.
The co-ordinating body operates more or less like an orchestra conductor, with at
least one exception. Specialised legal competence can be considered as a type of
competence that is needed across many of the policy areas operated by eNorway. This
area is covered by the two or three employees with a law degree. In general they take care
the need for changes in the law or regulations in order to implement policy. They work as
legal advisors both in general and on specific issues, and they interact with regulatory and
juridical units in other parts of the Norwegian political system. This includes for example
taking the initiative and following up the process of making a new law that takes into
account new formal and legal aspects of e-mail, e-signatures and e-commerce. In concrete
terms it implies collaboration between the co-ordinating body and the relevant ministries,
in this case the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, responsible for content policy,
and the Ministry of Justice.

Management, co-ordination and intercepting guiding political principles


Several interesting issues related to management and co-ordination of eNorway
emerge when one looks at details of the co-ordinating bodys interaction with specific
policy areas, their schemes and instruments. At the overall level, guiding principles from
the political authorities strongly influence the co-ordinating body. The current main
guiding principle is that policy making shall keep away from the selection mechanism
that is supposed to work in a well-functioning market. It may well be that political signals
may prevent the co-ordinating body from intervening actively, selecting a technology
platform or a path-breaking and standardising technological solution, for example in the
case of electronic commerce and electronic signatures. Even though the co-ordinating
body probably has the competence to reach a conclusion regarding electronic signatures,
and to set a standard that could boost electronic commerce, the political ideology that
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considers the market the best selection mechanism appears to work against this. In
addition, the same ideology generally influences policy domains affected by standardisation.

Co-ordination in a context of strong sector interests and sector-based financial


resources
The consensus about ICT reached over the years makes it appropriate to ask whether
ICT has gradually become depoliticised in Norway. The question is not easy to answer.
The co-ordinating bodys ability to govern eNorway depends on the specialised interests
that characterise a parliamentary political system and its stakeholders. It is a common
perception among political analysts that strong sectoral interests are a dominant feature of
the Norwegian system of ministries and the government agencies. The interests of
ministries and government agencies, their strategies and patterns of action, reflect the
strong influence of their specialised stakeholders, but, above all, this system of strong
sectoral interests is interwoven in a rigid system of financial allocations from the Ministry
of Finance. The allocation of financial resources to ministry budgets normally does not
encourage or arrange for collaboration. On the contrary, ministries budgets reproduce the
sectoral interests of each ministry. The possibility for co-ordinated action across ministerial borders is therefore not high. There appears to be a lack of financial resources, for
example in earmarked cross-sectoral policy domains such as ICT, that encourage
compromise across ministerial and sectoral interests. When it comes to the eNorway coordination body, the available resources cover its operation and its main activities, which
include helping stakeholders and different sectoral interests to meet and discuss the
possibilities for co-ordinated action. However, the budget of the co-ordinating body does
not include funds earmarked for concrete co-ordinated implementation of policy. Consequently, the actors have to consider their specific budgetary constraints when considering
a common solution. Co-ordination in this context implies making the different sectoral
interests meet but it does not imply giving them money to implement common solutions.
Information from the co-ordinating body and from other ministries that try to coordinate specific areas of implementation indicate that it is hard work to bring together
actors from government agencies and other institutions that at least theoretically should
have a common interest in co-ordinated policy implementation. Seminars and meetings
aimed at achieving co-ordinated policy implementation require specialised competence in
order to be able to convince each of the actors that they will profit from joint processes
and should spend money from their budget on projects that offer additional value. In the
effort to modernise the public sector through ICT, it is not easy to influence strong
government agencies to release scarce resources from their budgets. Another example is
investments by local authorities in Web-based services for inhabitants and customers.
Such decentralised solutions, which depend on constrained budgets and strict priorities,
may lead to differences in local service levels that may not be politically desirable.
These aspects of sector-specific interests and departmentalised financial allocations
point to the problem as due to the Ministry of Finance. It has not been possible to study
how strongly its influence shapes processes of common, co-ordinated thinking and action,
and how strongly sector-specific financial allocation is in the hands of the ministry. The
general impression from conversations with bureaucrats in the ministries is that the
ministry is in fact powerful.

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Co-ordination and policy schemes of different complexity
Activities towards the end of the 1980s ensured that ICT policy was seen as a broad
policy area that included basically what is contained in eNorway today: a policy domain
for creating value in industry, efficiency and quality in the public sector, and involvement
and identity. The IT committee of deputy ministers may be seen as the current political
institutionalisation of high-level cross-ministerial consensus and collaboration. However,
the culture that makes it possible to reach consensus on the overall ICT policy has not
hindered the parallel existence of strong sector-specific interests that have shaped subareas of ICT policy. The 1990s have seen the flourishing of ICT policy schemes, some of
which are very complex, some of them less so. This section looks at how co-ordination
routines seem to relate to different levels of complexity in policy schemes.
A complex scheme is here defined as large enough to necessitate separate
administration (it cannot be run and managed by the co-ordinating agency, for example)
and it needs its own steering committee. A complex programme has a mandate and
targets that cross sector-specific interests and policy areas. Examples are HYKOM, the
scheme for broadband roll-out, and ICT in education. Such programmes by and large take
on lives of their own, in the sense that the co-ordinating agency has no specific influence
on their operation. This often relates to the establishment of the programme, which often
predates eNorway and its co-ordinating body. As described above, the portfolio of ICT
policy schemes and programmes was initially drawn together by the co-ordinating body
into a coherent whole. eNorway is by and large not the force behind the large ICT policy
programmes. Instead, a number of large existing policy programmes gave substance and a
flying start to the eNorway framework. The co-ordinating body has not been actively
involved in policy programmes established before eNorway was launched.
For example, co-ordination of HYKOM by the co-ordinating agency has not
implied making use of the technical competence and technical understanding of
broadband infrastructure or broadband applications. The operation of HYKOM has
been subcontracted to the Norwegian Research Council, which has experience, routines
and administrative resources to grant money based on external applications.
Results from these large policy programmes are reported back to the co-ordinating
body. Realising that the co-ordinating body cannot take on a role in the operation and
concrete co-ordination of this type of programme, the co-ordinating agency should
nonetheless be able to monitor and influence the overall effect of a programme, with
reference to how it meets targets under the umbrella of eNorway.
In contrast to the lack of interaction between the co-ordinating agency and large
policy programmes, the agency often plays operative roles in more specific eNorway
initiatives and policy processes. In the portfolio of policy initiatives, the co-ordinating
agency is the leading actor in a range of cases. Typical activities in this category include
sector-specific or technology-specific efforts such as the diffusion and application of
geographical data and information, challenges related to changes in legislation and
standardisation, adjustment of Norwegian regulations to EU directives, and a range of
network processes, e.g. related to changes of attitude with respect to e-commerce, esecurity, e-content, etc.

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Concluding discussion and implications for innovation policy


It is one of the main aims of the MONIT project to uncover good policy practice and
derive lessons from specific policy domains such as IT policy for the formulation and
implementation of a third-generation innovation policy. This concluding section considers the above study with a view to how horizontal innovation policy can be developed.
It is the aim of the Norwegian authorities to motivate and orchestrate the comprehensive portfolio of ICT policy initiatives, schemes and programmes. ICT policy and
eNorway are a means to obtain the following political objectives: value creation in
industry, efficiency and quality in the public sector, and involvement and identity. The
overall objectives of eNorway and its policy instruments include policy domains such as
economic policy, research and education policy, regional policy, welfare policy, etc.
Finally, eNorway is a part of the newly launched horizontal innovation policy plan. The
comprehensive portfolio of policy making for the information society is thereby
intimately linked to third-generation innovation policy thinking, i.e. horizontal and coordinated innovation policy. It is in a sense a part of the innovation policy plan. It is
therefore a paradox that the innovation policy plan does not have an operative coordinating body. This is perhaps the most important good practice lesson for innovation
policy makers, given the observation that the eNorway co-ordinating body is successful.

Influence on the implementation of larger, outsourced policy schemes


The findings indicate that the co-ordinating body for eNorway generally has little
influence on the downstream co-ordination of large, complex, outsourced policy schemes.
This should be taken into consideration if innovation policy is equipped with such a coordinating body. Co-ordination is attained far more easily if new financial resources are
allocated or responsibilities and power are advantageously redistributed. This makes it
easier to formulate demands and provides strong incentives for changing behaviour. This
chapter has explored what eNorway consists of, and whether and how the co-ordinating
body intervenes in components of eNorway to ensure fulfilling overall targets, but the
answers are anything but straightforward. First, because the aims of eNorway imply
identification and follow-up of issues that cross sector borders, the co-ordinating body
initiates and co-ordinates cross-sectoral measures and brings different sector interests
together (ministries, government agencies, important stakeholders in research and technology, market actors, programme level co-ordinating agencies, etc.) to make them aware
of and collaborate on issues involving common interests related to eNorway targets.
Impediments to collaborative action due to sectoral interests and the fact that specific
actors choice of action is strongly controlled by budget constraints have been discussed.
Within eNorway there is a way to bring such actors together, but generally no financial
means are available to implement specific projects and processes for collaborative action.
It is noted that the degree of co-ordination of specific policy schemes and programmes in eNorway varies with the characteristics of different policy schemes and programmes. Comprehensive policy programmes by and large often depend on programmespecific co-ordination agencies and interaction of often strongly sectoral interests. The
co-ordinating body of eNorway generally plays an insignificant or less important role for
the day-to-day operation of the large, outsourced schemes.

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Influence on policy learning in outsourced policy schemes
However, eNorway may have greater influence on policy learning in large, complex,
outsourced policy schemes, for which it works as a marketing tool. Moreover, it is the coordinating bodys task to communicate with the operative units of programmes about
issues of cross-sectoral importance. It is more important for the co-ordinating body to
monitor and revise eNorway through evaluations and changes in programmes than to coordinate implementation concretely. Because the co-ordinating body does not have the
qualifications to exercise concrete co-ordination of implementation, it can exercise its
influence with reference to how well large outsourced schemes work towards the overall
targets of eNorway. More than any other national actor dealing with IT policy, the coordinating body is in a position to capture political signals, evaluation results and
important stakeholders needs. It can work towards policy analysis by considering carefully and accurately the specific national targets related to each policy scheme and relate
the results to political processes in the EU and globally. It can influence and adjust the
effects and target area of the policy schemes.

Influence on implementation and policy learning in policy initiatives and


smaller schemes
In addition to large complex policy programmes, eNorway represents and runs a
range of more specific policy initiatives and policy schemes. While some are outsourced,
many are not only co-ordinated but governed and controlled by the co-ordinating body.
This includes specific policy areas linked to regulatory, juridical, technological and
market-related ICT issues, relating, for example, to digital content, standardisation and
property rights. In particular, the co-ordinating body has a mandate to co-ordinate broadband policy, ICT security, electronic signatures, etc. For such schemes, the co-ordinating
body has a high degree of influence on downstream co-ordination; agenda setting and
prioritisation, and a medium degree of influence on implementation. The co-ordinating
body has the power to set and control agenda priorities, but it is more difficult to control
the implementation process because of the uncertainty related to actions by stakeholders
in strong sectors.
With both ownership and control of agenda setting and prioritisation in many policy
processes, initiatives and smaller schemes, the co-ordinating body can influence policy
learning strongly as well. Standardisation has been mentioned as a policy area that is very
difficult to deal with under the current market-oriented political principles. For example,
IT policy commentators argue that the co-ordinating body should be able to adjust to the
need for setting a standard for e-signatures, which probably would boost e-commerce.

eNorway as a co-ordination body: role and potential for improvement


In both the large complex policy programmes and the smaller, more specific and
more specialised policy domains, there seem to be good processes of co-ordination that
link important stakeholders together with interests across sector domains. However, given
the recent establishment of the co-ordinating body, there has not been much time for
policy analysis, evaluation and policy learning. This study suggests that the current
eNorway organisation might exercise more co-ordinating influence if its focus is on
policy learning and the overall eNorway targets. However, this probably requires explicit
political acceptance. While the co-ordinating body cannot have its hands on the wheel
in the large programmes and make independent decisions about technological standardisation in specific policy domains, it should be able to organise its work so as to ensure
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that the different policy initiatives, schemes and programmes address and attempt to reach
the overall targets of eNorway. For example, co-ordination of broadband diffusion could
have included signals that HYKOM did not sufficiently address broadband infrastructure in rural areas. In this case fundamental policy principles from the centreconservative government made this impossible, although policy learning processes are
likely to show that rural areas have to be favoured in one way or another if broadband
access targets are to be reached. Again, in working towards standardisation of an
electronic signature, there has been space for a relatively early statement about preferred
solution from the co-ordinating body.
Grande (2001) argues that the tendency towards increased complexity has a negative
impact on states capacity to implement policies successfully and that such capacity is
being eroded. In that perspective the the eNorway policy system would appear to have
such features. Moreover, the assumption would be that not only eNorway but also
horizontal innovation policy, if it is developed, are complex and comprehensive policy
systems that have weaknesses but also potential strengths in their co-ordination
mechanisms. How do the observations and findings in this chapter shed light on these
assumptions?
The Norwegian information society policy certainly has the comprehensiveness and
complexity that Grande refers to. The strategic level and wording of the eNorway action
plan have been emphasised, and the plan is certainly broad enough to be included in the
recently launched Norwegian horizontal innovation policy. Even at the level of specific
policy schemes, target formulations correspond to innovation policy targets as they
appear in the national innovation policy. Moreover, the co-ordinating body exercises coordination by means of a multitude of processes and arenas of dialogue and collaboration
for the two types of policy schemes.
Given this complexity and the challenge of fine-tuning the degree of influence and
adjusting the co-ordination process to the different policy schemes and processes, the
Norwegian information society policy is certainly experiencing the strategic policy
dilemma that Grande (2001, p. 916) describes:
Policy strategies which have been feasible within the existing institutional structures
turned out to be under-complex and, hence, inadequate to improve industrial
competitiveness in the IT sector; however, more adequate comprehensive innovation
policy strategies tended to be over-complex and overstrained the states institutional
capability, in particular its capacity for horizontal and vertical policy co-ordination.
Looking ahead, and in relation to the three options Grande presents for providing a
way out of the policy dilemma, how can co-ordination of Norwegian information society
policy improve its performance? The first option is to concentrate and centralise the
competencies and resources in the institutional setting of co-ordination. The Norwegian
co-ordinating body has juridical, political and bureaucratic competence and skills, and is
probably more concentrated and centralised than in other OECD countries. An even more
concentrated and centralised co-ordinating body would have to be far larger and would
require restructuring the specialised competence that is currently located in the sectorspecific ministries. It would probably also require moving competence that is currently
located in powerful government agencies and in subcontracted organisations that operate
specific policy schemes to the co-ordinating body.

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90 INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICY CO-ORDINATION: A MOULD FOR INNOVATION POLICY DEVELOPMENT IN NORWAY?
The second option, to decentralise policy, goes in the opposite direction and may be
more promising. Norwegian information society policy is not currently very
decentralised. The large, complex policy schemes are outsourced from the co-ordinating
body, but local and regional governments are probably not as involved and influential as
co-ordinating actors as they might be. Nevertheless, local governments have a good deal
of freedom for their technology investments, as seen in HYKOM. However, the local
and regional levels in Norway are relatively small compared to regions in larger European
countries. They are arguably far from being able to be core actors in implementation,
because of lack of resources and competence.
The third option is to adopt a policy strategy that is better suited to the countrys
institutional framework. This may be what has happened for Norwegian information
society policy. Discussing this option, Grande distinguishes between deliberate
strategies, i.e. plans intentionally designed and implemented, and emergent strategies,
i.e. an unintended order emerging from activities of individual actors or organisations,
referred to here as stakeholders. Deliberate strategies emphasise the implementation of
pre-set goals. Emergent strategies emphasise results as the product of a process. The two
types of schemes described in this chapter as typical of eNorway roughly correspond to
the deliberate strategy (the large complex schemes) and to the emergent strategy (the
smaller ones).
The potential for improvement would appear to require a policy learning process by
the Norwegian government and the co-ordinating body and consideration of a reallocation
and reorganisation of the policy tasks in the current policy cycle (policy portfolio) into
one of the two types of strategies. Certain policy tasks (for example standardisation) that
currently are run and managed as a policy process/emergent strategy by the co-ordinating
agency could be improved if defined as deliberate strategy. This requires stricter decision
making and co-ordination according to the defined aim. Another example implies greater
awareness that schemes defined as deliberate strategies, i.e. with clearly specified aims,
need to be implemented in accordance with their aims. The example emphasised in this
chapter is the broadband roll-out scheme and the lack of effect in peripheral areas,
whereas it is the overall objective of the government to ensure broadband infrastructure in
all parts of Norway. In this case, and perhaps across policy making in generic technology
domains, the political principle of the conservative government, which can be summarised as a market orientation and no desire to disturb the market by means of direct
public investment, represents a counteracting principle and a challenge to co-ordination.

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Notes
1.

SINTEF STEP Report 02-2004, Bredt band i tynn trd? Evaluering av HYKOM, by Hkon Finne,
Anders Ekeland and Yngve Seierstad Stokke.

2.

Den norske IT-veien. Bit for bit, Rapport fra Statssekretrutvalget for IT, January 1996.

3.

http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/2005/all_about/action_plan/index_en.htm

4.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry was in charge of eNorway until summer 2004.

5.

Ministry of Trade and Industry, Department of IT policy, December 2003,


http://odin.dep.no/nhd/engelsk/

6.

The eNorway Web site is www.enorge.org and the eNorway 2005 strategy document can be found at
http://odin.dep.no/archive/nhdvedlegg/01/03/eNorw040.pdf

7.

This text uses the terms IT policy, ICT policy and information society policy. The concepts are roughly
equivalent, even though information society policy is certainly broader and IT policy may be more
specific.

8.

In some schemes two or more ministries collaborate as responsible co-ordinators.

9.

The Ministries of Trade and Industry, Administration, Transport, Church Affairs, Education and Research, Culture and Finance.

10.

Den norske IT-veien. Bit for bit, Rapport fra Statssekretrutvalget for IT, 1996

11.

The evaluation of the HYKOM scheme contains a discussion of the wording in relation to targets in
broadband roll-out in Norway. The authors make a point of the fact that access to is used instead of
connection to broadband infrastructure and services. It is an example that indicates the problem with
vague or inaccurate targets.

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References
Buland, T. (1996), Den Store IT-planen, Norges Satsing p Informasjonsteknologi
1987-1990, Report 27, Senter for Teknologi og Samfunn, NTNU.
Finne, H., A. Ekeland and Y. Seierstad Stokke (2004), Bredt band i tynn trd?
Evaluering av HYKOM, SINTEF STEP report 02-2004.
Grande, E. (2001), The Erosion of State Capacity and the European Innovation Policy
Dilemma: A Comparison of German and EU Information Technology Policies,
Research Policy, 30.
Ministry of Trade and Industry (2002), The eNorway Action Plan.
OECD (2004), ICT Diffusion to Business Peer Review, Country Report: Norway,
internal working document.
OECD (2002), Dynamising National Innovation Systems, OECD, Paris.
Statssekretrutvalget for IT (1996), Den norske IT-veien: Bit for bit, January.
Technopolis Group (2002), The Governance of Research and Innovation: An
International Comparative Study, December.

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INNOVATION AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE IN IRELAND

Chapter 4
INNOVATION AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY:
POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE IN IRELAND
Paulina Ramirez, Murray Scott and Willie Golden
Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC)
National University of Ireland, Galway

Recent discussions on the need for a new generation of innovation policy point to the
need for greater integration between innovation and other policy domains. The challenge
is how to establish national systems of policy governance which lead to greater horizontal
co-ordination and coherence between innovation and other policy fields. To improve
understanding of the issues raised by cross-departmental policy governance, this chapter
presents the results of a study on the policy-making process for the information society, a
policy area that requires co-ordination across many government departments and
agencies. It also looks at the linkages and coherence between the information society and
science, technology and innovation (STI) policy. It is found that though the information
society agenda crosses departmental boundaries, Irelands information society policy is
mainly developed and implemented along traditional departmental lines. While interdepartmental co-operation takes place on concrete issues it does not occur when a longerterm, continuous commitment is required. No evidence was found of horizontal policy
co-ordination between the areas of the information society and STI. An important reason
for the lack of coherence between the two policy areas is the science-push character of
Irelands present STI policy which makes co-ordination with other policy domains
difficult. A broader innovation policy is needed before effective linkages can be made
between STI and other policy fields. The link between innovation and other policy areas
might better be made by innovation champions within the policy system whose task
would be to identify synergies between policy areas and with the authority and resources
to implement cross-departmental initiatives.

Introduction
This chapter reports the findings of a study on policy governance in the area of the
information society and the extent of horizontal linkages and coherence between the
information society and science, technology and innovation (STI) policy. The research
was undertaken in the context of recent discussions on the need for a new generation a
third generation of innovation policy that would integrate STI with other policy
domains (EU, 2003; OECD, 2002). The challenge is how to establish national systems of
policy governance which lead to greater horizontal co-ordination and coherence between
innovation and other policy fields.

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94 INNOVATION AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE IN IRELAND
The premise for the present study is that the development of a third generation of
innovation policy would gain from greater understanding of how the policy-making
process is governed in an area that requires co-ordination across many government
departments and agencies. One such policy area is the information society. At the same
time the study made it possible to identify characteristics of the policy governance system
that supported or hindered the development of horizontal linkages and policy coherence
between the information society and STI. The study focuses on the governance of the
policy cycle defined in three broad stages, namely: i) agenda setting, policy formulation
and prioritisation; ii) policy implementation and co-ordination; and iii) policy evaluation
and learning.
National systems of policy governance are contingent on countries history, traditions
and culture as well as the formal mechanisms of the policy-making process. Irelands
history of industrialisation and the recent decade of exceptional economic growth have
been major influences behind perceptions of the main policy challenges for the
information society and STI and have played an important role in shaping the governance
system in both policy areas. The next section presents the context of Irelands recent
development, the background to the two policy areas and the main STI policy bodies. The
following section sets out the information society policy structures before turning to the
governance of the information society policy cycle. Then, the links between the
information society and STI policy are discussed. A final section draws the main conclusions of the study.

Background to Irelands national system of innovation


Ireland is a small, open economy, situated in a peripheral location with respect to the
main European and world markets. The countrys history of industrial development dates
from the 1960s when it adopted a development strategy centred on foreign direct
investment (FDI) and export-led growth. This strategy for industrial development
succeeded in attracting various waves of manufacturing and services FDI, above all from
US multinational corporations (MNCs) looking for a low-cost location from which to
enter the European market. At this stage, innovation was not seen as an important part of
Irelands industrialisation strategy. One of the areas in which Ireland proved particularly
successful in attracting FDI was information and communication technologies (ICT), a
sector which has become central to the countrys development.
Until the end of the 1980s the FDI-led model of industrial development had a mixed
history in terms of investment, employment and economic growth. While the 1970s were
characterised by years of FDI inflows, the international economic crisis of the 1980s
resulted in a fall in US investment, high levels of unemployment, emigration and brain
drain. Increasing concerns were voiced about the lack of sophistication of much of the
foreign investment and the absence of mechanisms that would allow Ireland to move
towards higher-value businesses (Trauth, 2000). The crisis of the 1980s brought home the
vulnerability of a FDI-dependent economy with weakly embedded MNCs, a concern that
still prevails in many Irish policy circles.
From the late 1980s, Ireland once again experienced major flows of inward FDI. The
1990s was a period of unprecedented economic expansion, the decade during which
Ireland became known as the Celtic Tiger. US multinationals in the ICT sector provided
much of the new investment, employment and exports that underpinned the Celtic Tiger.
By the mid-1990s Ireland had become the favourite location for US electronic hardware
overseas investment and was the main location for the production of software products
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for the European market (Sweeney, 1999). The 1990s also saw important FDI growth in
ICT-intensive internationally traded services with the establishment of pan-European call
centres in a number of services areas. It was the success of the internationally traded
service industries which led Frfas, the policy advisory body of the Department of
Enterprise, Trade and Employment, to identify ICT-intensive services as a key sector for
future economic growth, and it was also central to the singling out of the information
society as a distinct policy area from the mid-1990s (Frfas, 1996). Another major
development of the 1990s was the emergence of a number of indigenous software firms
built around product innovation.
In spite of the recent successes in terms of employment and export growth, policy
circles have consistently voiced concerns about two aspects of Irelands pattern of
development over the years. The first is the failure to build an internationally competitive
indigenous sector (Frfas, 1996; Culliton Report, 1992; Telesis Consultancy Group,
1982). In fact, outside the recent successes of the Irish software sector, one feature of
Irelands FDI-led economic development model has been the emergence of a dual
economy characterised by a very productive but weakly embedded foreign-owned sector
and an underperforming and uncompetitive Irish-owned sector.
The second, and related, feature of Irelands economic development has been the
weakness of the countrys national innovation system (NIS) (see Box 4.1). A recent
report by the Inter-departmental Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation
acknowledged that R&D activity in Ireland (both the public and the business sectors)
lagged behind that of leading countries (IDC Steering Group, 2004). Of special concern
was the fact that, in the business sector, performance lagged in terms of number of firms
with sufficient minimum scale of R&D activities and with sustainable absorptive capacity
for scientific and technological advances. This reflects the fact that, while innovative
activities of MNCs are central to Irelands NIS, most of these firms undertake the bulk of
their R&D investment elsewhere. At the same time indigenous industry does little in the
way of innovation. Another factor to note is the highly concentrated nature of R&D in
terms of industrial sectors. As Box 4.1 shows, the weight of the ICT industry in the
countrys NIS has made this sector an influential stakeholder in the countrys STI policy.
Box 4.1. Some characteristics of Irelands NIS
In 2001, business expenditure on R&D in Ireland was 0.9% of GNP compared to an EU
average of 1.25%.
Approximately two-thirds of R&D carried out in Ireland is performed by MNCs. The
majority of is accounted for by 19 firms.
One-third of Irish-owned industry (about 1 000 firms) have some expenditure on R&D.
Most of this investment is very small.
Approximately 70% of MNC R&D investment in Ireland is in computers, electronics and
software.

Approximately 50% of R&D-performing indigenous firms are in the software industry.


Source: IDC (2004).

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96 INNOVATION AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE IN IRELAND
Policy background: the shift towards an information and knowledge economy
The rise of the information society as a distinct area of policy and recent developments in the field of STI date from the late 1990s. The origins of both policy initiatives
are rooted in increasing concerns in Irish policy circles about the sustainability of the
economic model that underpinned the success of the Celtic Tiger. The need to make a
transition towards a higher-value information or knowledge economy as an alternative to
the previous low-cost-location model of international competition began to gather
momentum from the mid- to late 1990s and underlies recent information society and STI
policy initiatives.

Information society policy


Initiatives in the area of information society policy were the result of discussions
within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) in the mid-1990s
on the need to develop a long-term framework for enterprise development (ISSC, 1996).
The policy document that summarises these discussions identified the coming together of
a number of factors that posed a challenge to Irelands future economic development
(Frfas, 1996). The factors identified included changes in the organisation of international
production as a result of developments in ICT, increasing trade liberalisation, and the
entrance into the world economy of a number of low-cost locations. It was argued that,
together, these factors would result in the intensification of international competition for
FDI, a serious predicament considering the role of these investments in Irelands economic development.
Policy discussions also acknowledge however that ICT could open new opportunities
for Ireland, above all because the new technologies diminished the constraints of distance
and time. This was seen as particularly important given the countrys peripheral location
with respect to the main world markets and its high dependence on exports. Among key
elements for a future long-term strategy for enterprise development, the document
identified the central role of ICT (with a big emphasis on telecommunications policy).
One result of these discussions was the establishment of an Information Society Steering
Committee (ISSC) with a mandate to propose a strategy for the development of an
information society in Ireland (ISSC, 1996). Later sections will discuss the development
and governance of information society policy in more detail.

Science, technology and innovation policy


STI policy, as distinct from industrial policy, only really began in Ireland in the late
1980s; in fact some would say that the Irish NIS only emerged in the 1990s (Cogan,
2003). During the 1980s and 1990s, Ireland introduced a number of measures to enhance
the technological sophistication and innovative performance of Irish-owned industry;
these measures were not perceived to have been particularly successful (Cogan and
McDevitt, 2002). The most dramatic change in the Irish NIS has occurred since the late
1990s, with a powerful drive to build the countrys academic scientific and research
capability. The five-fold increase in resources for STI in the National Development Plan
2000-20061 underpins this major policy initiative. The motivation behind this policy shift
is the need to prompt a move towards a knowledge-based economy; this is seen as
Irelands only possible response to increasing international competition for FDI. The
main objective of the new STI policy is to attract R&D investment from the MNC sector
by creating advanced academic scientific research. A related goal is to stimulate the

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creation of an innovative indigenous sector through the emergence of clusters of internationally competitive high-technology Irish-owned firms.
The major commitment of resources for science and technology spending in the
National Development Plan 2000-2006 represents a new departure towards strengthening
the innovative capabilities of Irish society. It is important to note, however, that the recent
STI policy model is far closer to first-generation science-push models than to the secondgeneration innovation policies associated with the NIS concept of the 1990s. One
consequence is that the present emphasis on science and technology has gone hand in
hand with a scaling back of non-R&D innovation measures (Cogan, 2002). This could
have serious implications for the majority of Irish-owned industry that still requires
assistance to monitor, adopt and adapt technology. Moreover there seems to be little
awareness among policy makers of the role of demand-led innovation policies based on
interaction between users and producers. As will be argued later in this chapter, the
science-push character of present STI policy makes it difficult to develop horizontal
linkages or create policy coherence with other policy fields.

STI policy-making bodies


In Ireland, the original impetus for both information society and STI policy came
from the government department associated with industrial policy, the Department of
Enterprise Trade and Employment. Within the DETE, Frfas is responsible for providing
advice to government on enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation policy.
Under Frfas, three state agencies are responsible for enterprise development and STI.
They are: the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), responsible for initiatives relevant
to the MNC sector; Enterprise Ireland (EI), focused on the development of indigenous
industry; and the recently founded Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), responsible for
managing new STI funds under the National Development Plan 2000-2006.
While there are numerous government departments and agencies with some
involvement in STI, the two government departments most closely associated with STI
policy are the Department of Education and Science (DES) through the Higher Education
Authority (HEA) and the DETE. Of the two, it is the DETE that is identified as the
champion of the shift towards a knowledge economy and the source of recent initiatives
in the area of STI policy. As a result of the major increase in resources allocated to STI, a
number of new bodies have been established to manage these funds. These include the
Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and the Irish
Council for Humanities and Social Science (IRCHSS) at the DES and Science
Foundation Ireland (SFI) at the DETE.
Figure 4.1 gives a simplified picture of government bodies involved in STI policy.
The policy structures for the information society are discussed in the next section.

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98 INNOVATION AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE IN IRELAND
Figure 4.1. Departments and agencies involved in STI policy
Government of Ireland

Department of Education and


Science (DES)

Higher Education
Authority

IRCSET

Department of Enterprise, Trade


and Employment (DETE)

Agriculture & Food


Communications
Marine & Natural Resources
Health & Children

Office of Science
and Technology

IRCHSS

Other government departments

Frfas

Science
Foundation
Ireland (SFI)

Enterprise
Ireland (EI)

Industrial
Development
Agency (IDA)

Policy structures for the information society


Public policy engagement with the information society, as a distinct policy area,
began in the mid-1990s (see Table 4.1 for a chronology of the main events). Following
the recommendation of the Information Society Steering Committee, set up by Frfas to
come up with proposals for the development of the information society in Ireland,
political responsibility for the implementation of information society policy was taken on
by the Department of An Taoiseach, a powerful government department with responsibility for providing an overall vision and strategy for government policy. The task of
designing an implementation strategy for the information society was taken on by a highlevel Inter-departmental Implementation Group on the Information Society convened by
the Department of An Taoiseach.
Towards the end of the 1990s, the Inter-departmental Implementation Group
recommended a plan of action which identified key areas for government policy. This
plan of action, published by the Department of An Taoiseach in early 1999 under the
name Implementing the Information Society in Ireland: An Action Plan, became the
main information society policy document until 2002 when a revised version, New
Connections, was published (Department of An Taoiseach, 2002). The action plans not
only identified the major areas of policy but, as will be seen, provided the basic implementation and co-ordination framework for the information society. As a consequence,
the policy structures for the information society developed around the execution of the
action plans. At the same time, in order to facilitate progress of the initiatives set out in
the action plans, an Information Society Fund, managed by the Department of An
Taoiseach along with the Department of Finance, was created.2

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Table 4.1. Chronology of main events in information society policy


Date

Government department/agency

Main event

Document

1996

Frfas

Establishes Information Society Steering


Committee (ISSC) to propose a strategy for
development of the information society in
Ireland.

Shaping Our Future: A Strategy for


Enterprise in Ireland in the 21st Century,
Frfas.

Information Society Steering Committee

Publishes information society strategy.

Information Society Ireland: Strategy for


Action.

Department of An Taoiseach

Political responsibility for information


society policy taken on by Department of
An Taoiseach.

1997

Department of An Taoiseach convenes


Interdepartmental Implementation Group on
the Information Society

An Interdepartmental Implementation
Group on the Information Society
established to propose implementation
strategy for the information society.

1997

Independent

Establishment of Information Society


Commission.

1998

An Interdepartmental Implementation
Group on the information society

Interdepartmental Implementation Group


proposes Plan of Action.

1999

Department of An Taoiseach

Department of An Taoiseach publishes


Action Plan recommended by the
Interdepartmental Implementation Group.
Plan of Action becomes main information
society policy document.

1999

Department of An Taoiseach

Establishment of information society policy


implementation structure.

1999

Department of An Taoiseach &


Department of Finance

Information Society Fund

2001

Department of An Taoiseach

New set of structures created to improve


interdepartmental co-operation.
ISPU main government body responsible
for information society policy.

2001

Independent

Establishment of Second Information


Society Commission.

2002

Department of An Taoiseach
ISPU

Second Information Society Action Plan,


New Connections.

2005

ISPU

Dissolution of ISPU.

Implementing the Information Society in


Ireland: An Action Plan, Department of An
Taoiseach.

New Connections: Government Action Plan


on the Information Society.

New policy structures to increase policy coherence


In the initial period, horizontal co-ordination across government departments and
agencies for the design and implementation of information society policy was in the
hands of the Interdepartmental Group. Departments and agencies also co-operated on an
ad hoc basis. There was however no single agency responsible for the overall implementation of the government strategy and it was increasingly felt that this affected the
coherence of the information society agenda. To strengthen the implementation of the
1999 Action Plan, new structures based at the Department of An Taoiseach were put in
place in 2001 to improve interdepartmental co-operation and develop a more coherent
policy approach. These high-level structures were still in place at the time of this research
and consist of:

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The Minister of State. The minister has responsibility for the co-ordination of
the information society agenda across all government departments.

The Cabinet Committee on the Information Society. This is the main political
body driving implementation of the information society agenda. Its role is to take
a high-level political view of information society policy. It brings together
ministers with responsibility for policy areas set out in the revised government
action plan, New Connection (2002). The Committee is chaired by An Taoiseach
and is convened by the Minister of State.

The eStrategy Group of Secretaries General. This group addresses national


strategy issues and is responsible for high-level administrative decisions. It is
made up of the Secretary General, the highest civil servant, of each of the ten
departments with responsibility for information society policy.

The Assistant Secretaries eGovernment Implementing Group. The objective


of this group is to ensure that information society policy is implemented in a coordinated manner across all government departments and agencies. It is made up
of senior civil servants from ten departments.

The Information Society Policy Unit (ISPU). This unit, based at the Department
of An Taoiseach, has overall responsibility for developing, monitoring, coordinating and driving the implementation of the information society agenda. The
ISPU also has functional responsibilities for e-government and the eCabinet
Initiative. The ISPU, in conjunction with the Department of Finance, also has the
task of evaluating submissions to the Information Society Fund.

Figure 4.2 shows the high-level information society policy structure, the role of the
committees and the frequency of meetings. According to the government the new
arrangements were:
designed to deliver a more coherent overall approach, at the highest levels of
government, to formulation and implementation of policy on a wide range of
issues that increasingly cut across traditional departmental boundaries between
departments and agencies and between central and local government (New
Connections, 2002).

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Figure 4.2. High-level structure of the information society


Department of An Taoiseach
ISPU

High Level
Political

High Level
Administration

Cabinet Committee on the


Information Society

Taoiseach
Minister of IS (convenor)

10 Departments

Meets every three months

EStrategies
Secretaries General

Central eGovernment Group


Depts. of Finance & An Taoiseach

10 Departments

Meets every month

Assistant Secretaries
Detail implementation issues

Meets every three months


Implementation Group

Conflict resolution

Ad hoc groups

Department of Taoiseach

Governance of the information society policy cycle


Agenda setting
The government department with political responsibility for information society
policy is the Department of An Taoiseach. Since 2001, the Information Society Policy
Unit, within that department, has been the main government body responsible for
managing the information society policy cycle of agenda setting, implementation and
learning (see Table 4.2 for the main characteristics of the information society policy cycle
in Ireland). Contrary to other countries, Ireland has had no White Paper or policy
document outlining the governments general strategy or vision with respect to the
information society. While the general implementation outline developed by the
Interdepartmental Implementation Group and the ISPU (in the case of the 2002 action
plan) has been effectively conveyed in the two action plans, there has been no general
strategy or roadmap underpinning and unifying the various strands of information society
policy.
In 2002, a new action plan, New Connections, produced under the leadership of the
ISPU, replaced the 1999 action plan as the main information society policy document.
The main areas of policy prioritised by the two action plans are set out in Table 4.2. In the
case of both action plans, however, the actual development of the policy agenda in each
of the prioritised areas was delegated to the departments with jurisdiction over those
policy fields. Along with its responsibility as overall policy co-ordinator, the Department
of An Taoiseach and the ISPU also took responsibility for the development and implementation of the e-government agenda, a complex policy area that crosses all government
departments.

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102 INNOVATION AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE IN IRELAND
One result of this agenda-setting structure is that the different strands of information
society policy have, in essence, been developed and implemented by individual
government departments and agencies along traditional departmental lines. Though all
departments report to the ISPU the progress being made in their respective areas of
responsibility, interviews indicate that the ISPU engages little in the formulation of
information society policies outside the area of e-government. This departmentalisation of
the information society agenda, with measures conceived, designed and implemented
following the established rationale of existing departments, limits the possibility for
developing a more integrated approach to information society policy. The lack of a
general roadmap providing a unifying framework for the constituent elements of the
information society adds to the fragmented nature of the policy-making process.
A second important issue related to this agenda-setting structure arises from the dual
role of the Department of An Taoiseach and the ISPU as both overall co-ordinators of
information society policy and bodies with responsibility for e-government. Along with
the information society, the Department of An Taoiseach also has political responsibility
for the modernisation of the public sector. E-government fits very well with the agenda
for transforming the public sector and both agendas cross all government departments. It
is clear from interviews that the e-government agenda, in conjunction with the
modernisation of public services, had become the primary focus of attention of the ISPU.
While this has given the ISPU leverage to push the e-government agenda forward, it has
also meant that both the ISPU and the high-level information society policy structures
(Figure 4.2) are mainly identified with e-government rather than overall information
society policy co-ordination.
How policies for the information society are conceived, developed and prioritised
within departments is not clear. In the interviews undertaken for this study policy makers
played down the role of the European Union (EU) in the formulation of information
society policy. However, because of membership in the EU, at least some areas of Irish
information society policy (for example e-business) are guided by policy decisions made
at the European level. Within departments and agencies, much of the initiative for
specific information society policy measures is left to the heads of e-units (e.g. the ebusiness units within the DETE and Enterprise Ireland) who have responsibility for
developing concrete policies. At this level, the process of designing policy and setting
priorities seems to be relatively haphazard and contingent, subject to a number of
immediate pressures. Important factors that influence the formulation of information
society policy here include: the availability of funds for specific policy initiatives, the
amount of resources in terms of people and time dedicated to that policy area, the
pressures from well organised stakeholders as well as the particular motivations of the
individuals in charge of that policy area.

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103

Table 4.2. Summary of main characteristics of the governance of the information society policy cycle
An arrow indicates that the initiative was carried through to the next period
Important features of policy
governance
Agenda setting
Policy document

1999 information society Action Plan

2002 New Connections, 2nd


information society Action Plan

Government level

Interdepartmental Implementation
Group on the Information Society
identifies main policy areas.

ISPU identifies main policy areas.

Departmental level

Each department takes responsibility


for the formulation of information
society policy in their specific areas
of jurisdiction.

Body responsible:

Information society policies are


designed and implemented along
traditional departmental lines.
A number of departments and
agencies create dedicated e-units to
develop and implement information
society policy.

Within departments and agencies


the process of policy formulation and
prioritisation is contingent on
numerous immediate pressures

ISPU takes responsibility for overall


information society policy coordination and for e-government.
Stakeholder level
Main Policies

1st ISC

2nd ISC

1999 Action Plan focused on five


policy strands:
Telecommunications
infrastructure
Legal and regulatory
environment
e-business
e-government
Enabling measures

New Connections focused on seven


policy strands:

Telecommunications
infrastructure

Legal and regulatory


environment

e-business

e-government

R&D

Lifelong learning

e-inclusion

Policy implementation and co-ordination


Government level

Action Plan provides co-ordination


framework for implementation of
information society policy.

ISPU and high-level information


society structures fail to develop as
co-ordinators and integrators of
overarching information society
policy agenda.

Ad hoc interdepartmental groups


formed around specific policy issues.

Interdepartmental co-ordination
takes place over specific issues but
fails when longer term commitment
is required.

Information Society Fund catalyst for


interdepartmental projects.

ISPU develops as mediator when


there is conflict between
departments and agencies.
Departmental level

Informal social networks are


important mechanism for information
exchange between and within
departments.

Units within departments.

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Table 4.2. Summary of main characteristics of the governance of the information society policy cycle
(continued)
An arrow indicates that the initiative was carried through to the next period
Important features of policy
governance
Policy evaluation and
learning
Government level

Departmental level

Department of An Taoiseach
monitors and appraises progress on
specific actions set out in Action
Plan

ISPU within Department of An


Taoiseach

Main evaluation criteria are the


target dates for the completion of
projects set out in Action Plans.

Learning from participation in


international forums

International benchmarking and


participation in international forums
can lead to learning by comparing.

Dedicated e-units within


departments monitor and appraise
measures leading to the successful
meeting of the Action Plan targets.

Targets and international


benchmarking can lead to policy
learning but it depends how these
tools are used.

Learning from participation in


international forums and
international networks.

There are important differences in


the use of targets and international
benchmarking across the information
society policy making system.

Link between information society and Innovation policy


Government level

Importance of innovation referred to


in Action Plan.
No link between information society
and Innovation Policy.

In New Connections R&D is one of


the seven information society policy
strands.
STI policy left to DETE and DES.
No link between information society
and innovation policy.

STI policy is recent in Ireland. A


number of new institutions have
been created to implement STI
policy but as yet these are not
operating in a coherent fashion.
STI policy agenda has still not been
fully understood or accepted by
important sections of government.
Science-push nature of present STI
policy hinders horizontal policy coordination between STI and other
policy areas.

Departmental level

No link between information society


and innovation policy.

No link between information society


and innovation policy.

The influence of stakeholders in the setting of the policy agenda


The official forum for stakeholders outside government to influence the formulation
of information society policy is the Information Society Commission (ISC). The ISC is
made up of representatives from some of the large MNCs operating in Ireland, industry
associations, chambers of commerce, trade unions, county councils, non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), and numerous regional bodies. Up to now there have been two
ISCs, both of them nominated by the Department of An Taoiseach. The first ISC
established a number of working groups on issues relating to the implementation of the
information society; however, as an advisory body, the ISC found it difficult to make a
clear contribution in this area. The second ISC has focused on topics such as the
development of better understanding, and establishing a broader consensus, around the

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meaning of the information society. One of the issues the ISC was discussing at the time
of this study was the role of the information society in Irelands transition towards a
knowledge-based society (see for example ISC, 2002).
The ISC has produced a number of reports for consideration by the Assistant
Secretaries Implementation Group. It is unclear to what extent the deliberations of the
ISC influence policy. Some members of the ISC interviewed for this project indicated
that the ISC was not a powerful stakeholder in the information society policy-making
process. It is also clear that some interest groups represented in the ISC are more
influential than others. For example, the large MNCs operating in Ireland have a far more
powerful voice than the smaller indigenous firms and certainly more influence than
consumer groups.
Since much of the information society agenda is being developed and implemented at
the level of individual government departments, agencies or units, a less official way for
stakeholders to influence the development of information society policy is through their
contacts and relationships (both formal and informal) with relevant government bodies. It
is clear from the interviews that powerful interest groups, such as MNCs with large
investments in Ireland, have access to ministers and senior civil servants and have exerted
their influence to shape particular aspects of the information society policy agenda.

The evolution of the information society agenda


In its initial stages, the information society policy agenda was strongly influenced by
the development of the Internet. At that stage the dominant notion was that the Internet
was the information society and the expectation that as long as there was widespread
engagement with this medium a successful information society would inevitably follow.
Central to this thinking was the notion that improvements in productivity and value would
occur automatically with the introduction of these new technologies. The collapse of the
dotcom bubble and the slowdown of economic growth rates (resulting in a slowing down
of the move towards Internet adoption), as well as difficult experiences with egovernment and e-business in the indigenous sectors of the economy, have led to further
discussions about the meaning of the information society and the priority that should be
given to this policy area.
According to a number of policy makers interviewed for this project, one of the issues
that is increasingly being discussed at the highest level of information society policy
making is the link between ICT (including the Internet) and productivity. Discussions
about the relationship between the new technologies, organisational and managerial
innovation, and investment in human capital and between all these factors and
productivity have only crystallised in the recent period. A number of interviewees
identified a lack of a shared understanding or consensus in the policy-making system on a
number of these issues.
E-government is an area in which the relationship between the introduction of ICT
and organisational change has increasingly dominated discussions (see Box 4.2). The
objective of the 1999 Action Plan was the online delivery of integrated public services.
However, since the publication of New Connections in 2002 there have been increasing
attempts to shift the emphasis away from a focus simply on adoption of the Internet to
one in which the introduction of ICT is linked to the programme of modernisation of
public services. At the time of this research, the ISPU leads efforts to focus attention on
the reorganisation of business processes in government. The ISPU (to be dissolved in
2005) is now calling for the establishment of two separate offices: first a government
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106 INNOVATION AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE IN IRELAND
central information officer (CIO) with responsibility for developing the technology
strategy within the public sector and second, the establishment of a new body the Office
of Innovative Government to oversee the introduction of process change in government
departments.3
Box 4.2. The developing agenda in e-government
One of the central developments in agenda setting for the information society was the
introduction of strategies for the implementation of e-government. The initial objective of this
agenda was to provide integrated public services on line, facilitated by the introduction of
centralised, Internet-enabled technology. The initial policy focus, contained in the 1999 action
plan, encouraged the development of front-end online access to services, but gave little
emphasis to re-organising back-end processes.
The first action plan spearheaded the drive to make better use of the Internet for information
dissemination and introduced the concept of a portal as the possible architecture of a public
service access interface. Towards the end of 2000 the Reach agency was officially established
to implement e-government strategy. The Reach agency adopted the concept of a portal-based
public service broker (PSB) as a technical solution to providing a front-end interface for
services.
Two main problems emerged in the implementation process however: technical issues in
providing services through the PSB and organisational obstacles hampering the necessary
managerial and work-process changes. As a result of a lack of technical development and
compatibility, very few local authorities are technically able to receive and fully process forms
submitted electronically by citizens. Furthermore, local authority IT managers acknowledge
that local authority managers were resistant to initiatives that required changes to existing
power structures and displayed aversion to committing funds to experimental projects.
As a result of these barriers to implementation, policy focus has recently shifted from a reliance
on the Internet to provide a mechanism of co-ordination, to prioritise the reorganisation of
business processes in government. The focus of previous modernisation policies had
encouraged individual departments to use IT to gain process improvements; the e-government
agenda differed in that it further demanded interdepartmental integration, thus creating a need
for a more comprehensive approach to process change. The ISPU and the Department of An
Taoiseach have indicated that the development of e-government policy will highlight the need
for innovative improvements to government processes and better co-ordination between
government departments and agencies. Information technology will play an enabling but not
central role in this strategy.

Horizontal policy co-ordination and implementation


Though large parts of the information society agenda have been developed and
implemented on a departmental basis, there are important areas of information society
policy that have required horizontal co-ordination between departments and agencies. As
mentioned, the co-ordinating framework for the implementation of the information
society was largely given by the two action plans, which not only identified the main
policy areas but also designated the departments and agencies that would take
responsibility for developing each strand of information society policy. Where policy
action crossed traditional departmental boundaries, the action plan nominated a lead
department with responsibility for taking the initiative in that policy field as well as the
supporting departments. At the same time, since policy bodies had to report regularly on
progress in their respective areas of responsibility, a reporting system developed around
the action plans.

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As discussed earlier, the high-level interdepartmental structures created in 2001 are


mainly associated with e-government but are not perceived as effective as overall coordinators of information society policy. Instead, the main mechanism for crossdepartmental co-ordination has been the numerous interdepartmental working groups and
committees formed around specific policy issues in areas such as telecommunications,
skills needs, e-business and e-inclusion. These interdepartmental committees have been
formed on an ad hoc basis as the need for co-ordination arose and are seen to have been
the most effective vehicles for cross-departmental collaboration. The Information Society
Fund has also acted as an important catalyst for many information society projects that
crossed departmental boundaries.
The role of the ISPU in co-ordinating the implementation of the information society
agenda across government departments is complex. While the ISPU and the high-level
information society structures have formal responsibility for the co-ordination and
integration of the overarching information society policy agenda, in fact these bodies
have not developed into that role but have increasingly focused on e-government.
Nevertheless, the fact that the ISPU is located within the Department of An Taoiseach has
given it the authority to act as mediator between departments when there is conflict over
the implementation of information society policy. There are in fact no formal processes of
arbitration when disagreements arise departments; the procedures are entirely informal. In
this context the ISPU has often played an important role in oiling the wheels on interface
issues.
Although there are numerous examples of co-ordination problems and difficulties in
the development and implementation of information society policy, the interviews
conducted give a mixed picture of the extent to which departmentalisation impedes
horizontal policy co-ordination. Some interviewees expressed the view that there were no
major structural or organisational barriers to policy co-ordination across departments. The
many interdepartmental working groups and committees formed around the information
society action plans were given as examples. It was argued that access to the various
levels of decision making was relatively easy and that the system was quite flexible from
the point of view of interdepartmental interactions. Other interviewees in senior positions
in the policy making system, however, pointed to difficulties in getting departments to
work together on a continuous basis. It was argued that, in part, a history of weak
strategic decision making at top government levels and a political system that was shorttermist in outlook created difficulties for policy cohesion. It was suggested that groups of
ministers would have to work together for significant periods of time for a culture of cooperation and consensus to build up and filter down the policy system. The study suggests
that while interdepartmental co-operation takes place on specific issues it fails when it
requires a longer-term, continuous commitment.
Information society policies have also required horizontal co-ordination and
collaboration within government departments. In a number of departments the role of coordinating intra-departmental initiatives across the various divisions and groupings has
been taken on by dedicated information society policy units specially created to drive the
development of this policy area. At the DES, for example, the ICT Policy Unit manages
the formulation and implementation of information society policy for that department.
Within the DETE and affiliated agencies, e-business units have been created and work
closely together. In this respect the information society agenda has created a number of
collaborative initiatives within as well as across government departments.

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108 INNOVATION AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE IN IRELAND
The difficulties of horizontal policy co-ordination even within the same government
departments should not be underestimated. One example is the DETE and the work of the
two industrial development agencies (the IDA and EI) under the aegis of Frfas. A close
working relationship exists between these three bodies, and strategy is shared at the
senior level. However, at the operational level, the extent of policy coherence and coordination often depends on the specific project. Recently for example, the three agencies
took the decision to focus attention on the development of policies for the digital content
industry. However, from this shared overall strategy, the IDA and EI picked different
flavours. The result is that the two agencies are focusing their efforts on different sectors
of the content industry, with an ensuing loss of opportunities for synergies. In this case
the lack of policy coherence is not a product of the lack of horizontal co-ordination
between agencies but a reflection of different needs in the two (foreign-owned and
indigenous) sectors of industry. This example indicates that in some instances a lack of
policy coherence reflects different stages of development, different needs and/or time
horizons. In such situations, the achievement of policy coherence across or even within
government departments may not only not be possible but may not even be desirable.
The organisational arrangements discussed above represent the more or less formal
co-ordination structures of the policy system. Informal networks, however, are just as
important. Ireland is a small country in which social networks are often the mechanisms
for information exchange and contact both inside and outside government. Interviews
carried out for this study confirm that much of the contact between departments and
agencies and between the policy making system and stakeholders is in fact informal.

Policy evaluation and learning


The modernisation of the public sector and the adoption of concepts such as evidencebased policy making has been part of Irelands policy agenda for the past ten years.
Interviews indicate that over this period a number of reforms have been introduced in the
civil service that have made the policy-making process more professional, more flexible
and more agile. It is probably the case, however, that important differences exist in the
governance of the policy-making process between government departments and even
within different units of the same departments.
With respect to policy evaluation and learning in the information society field, the
Department of An Taoiseach, and specifically the ISPU, constantly monitors and
appraises progress on the implementation of information society measures. The main
mechanisms for these appraisals are the progress reports structured around the specific
actions set out in the two action plans. The main evaluation criteria are the target dates for
the completion of projects set out in the action plans. Within the various departments,
agencies and units responsible for information society policies, the main evaluation
criteria are the implementation of measures leading to the successful meeting of the
action plan targets.
The key issue that arises from these methods of evaluation therefore is how targets
are set. Some of the interviews indicate that targets are often set without real discussion
about their meaning and relevance or how they are to be achieved. In these cases, targets
are not used as a mechanism for policy evaluation and learning but have more of the
characteristics of an accounting exercise. This would tend to happen when managers
responsible for information society policy are under-resourced and/or when this particular
policy area is not their main concern. In other cases, however, the development of targets

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is a serious exercise related to expectations from particular policy initiatives. In these


cases meeting or not meeting targets does lead to policy learning.
International benchmarking is also used as a mechanism for policy evaluation and
learning. Again, some interviews indicate that international benchmarking exercises are
often not coupled with policy learning but are mainly used as basic indicators to rank
Irelands performance in relation to other countries. In other cases, however, international
benchmarking has led to more in-depth discussions about the reasons for international
differences in performance. In these cases learning by comparing does take place. What
the interviews indicate is that target setting and international benchmarking can open up
discussions about performance and lead to policy learning; however, much depends how
these tools are used. It is also clear that there are important differences in the use of
targets and benchmarking exercises across the Irish information society policy making
structure.
The exchange of experiences with policy makers from other countries facing similar
challenges, through participation in international, and above all EU forums, was another
important mechanism for policy learning. This refers not only to official meetings but
also to numerous unofficial international networks resulting from participation in
international forums. In order to monitor international developments in their fields, a
number of government departments and agencies have opened offices in the United States
and Asia; their task is to inform about developments outside Europe. The Department of
Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, for example, has offices in the United
States and Singapore; the same is true for EI and the IDA.

The lack of co-ordination and coherence between information society and


innovation policy
As discussed earlier in this chapter, policy engagement with the information society
agenda started at a time when the idea of developing Ireland into a knowledge-based
economy began to crystallise in influential policy circles. The late 1990s saw the opening
of a period of important policy initiatives in the Irish science and research system. The
emerging concern with STI policy was reflected in the two information society action
plans, above all in New Connections which explicitly singled out R&D as a major
information society policy area. However, though the action plans acknowledged the
importance of STI, there has been no attempt to co-ordinate or integrate these two policy
areas.
No doubt, the very recent nature of Irelands initiatives in the area of STI policy is
one reason for the current lack of horizontal co-ordination and coherence between
information society and innovation policy. Since 2000, a number of organisations have
been created within the DETE and the DES to manage the new funds allocated to STI.
Most of these bodies have only recently been established and are still in the process of
clarifying their fields of operation. Moreover, the organisational overload (Hilliard and
Green, 2005) associated with the new STI policy initiatives raises questions about the
extent of coherence of the STI system itself, let alone coherence with other policy areas.
More important, however, from the point of view of coherence between the two
policy areas, is the fact that the STI policy agenda has still not been fully understood,
accepted or adopted by important sections of government. Debates are still taking place
about the pertinence for Ireland of the present strategic shift towards the knowledge
economy and the priority that should be given to STI policy. Among policy makers
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110 INNOVATION AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE IN IRELAND
responsible for the development of indigenous industry, for example, there is widespread
questioning of the relevance of STI for this part of the economy. It can be argued that the
basis for their scepticism is the science-push character of Irelands present STI initiatives
which have mainly focused on the university research system. This focus has made it
difficult for policy makers outside this system to see the relevance of innovation policy to
their fields of operation. At the same time, the adoption of a science-push model has
meant that there is little awareness in policy circles of the importance of demand-led
innovation policies (see Box 4.3).
There are however important areas for which the concerns of the information society
fit well with those of enterprise development and innovation policy. For example, one of
the priority areas of Frfas and Enterprise Ireland is the development of an indigenous
digital content industry (see the ITS 2007 of Enterprise Ireland, 2000). Today, this policy
area is being developed with no involvement from, or link with, the policy bodies
developing the information society agenda. This has meant that in at least the area of
government procurement, where policies for the information society could have had a
powerful impact on innovation, opportunities have been lost (see Box 4.3).
At present, the only formal link between the ISPU and the departments responsible
for innovation policy (mainly the DETE and DES) is high-level policy-making bodies
such as the Cabinet Committee on the Information Society and the e-Strategies and
Assistant Secretaries groups. Interviews for this study indicate that possible synergies
between information society and STI policy have not been discussed at this level. It is
also the case, however, that even government departments and agencies that do have a
clear mandate in the areas of both innovation and the information society (for example
the DETE and EI) seldom link these two fields in the design and development of policies.
The e-business units at the DETE and EI, for example, have not included innovation as
part of their e-business best-practice recommendations for indigenous SMEs on the
grounds that such firms do not have the capability to innovate. The point to stress here is
that even when there are no institutional obstacles for horizontal policy co-ordination, the
integration of the two policy areas is hindered by the character of Irelands present STI
policy.
In discussing horizontal co-ordination and coherence between policy fields, one
should not underestimate the complexity of the various agendas that are simultaneously
pursued by individual government departments and agencies. These agendas frequently
require difficult trade-offs and there are often synergies with other policy fields. In these
circumstances linkages with innovation policy will only develop to the extent that policy
makers understand where innovation presents a way forward for the challenges they face.
This issue relates to the understanding of the role of innovation rather than the existence
of co-ordinating mechanisms. In Ireland, creating awareness of the role that innovation
can play in different policy areas is a precondition for the development of horizontal
policy co-ordinating mechanisms. Rather than formal co-ordinating structures, the link
between innovation and other policy areas can better be made by individuals well placed
within the system who can see where synergies between policy areas exist. This argues in
favour of the creation of an innovation champion, that is, an individual, or group of
individuals, within the policy system whose task is to identify synergies between
innovation and other policy areas and with the authority and resources to get departments
to work together on a longer-term basis.

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Box 4.3. The development of a knowledge-intensive indigenous industry


and government procurement
Public technological procurement1 is an important demand-side instrument which improves the
technological competencies of firms through their interactions with a sophisticated user. There
are at least two areas, the digital content industry and e-health, in which government technology
procurement activities, as part of the information society policy agenda, could have a major
impact on the innovative capabilities of Irelands indigenous software industry.
In its report on the information society, the Information Society Steering Group (ISSC, 1996)
singled out the digital content industry as an area of potential development for Irish software
firms. One of the difficulties has been Irelands relative distance from large sophisticated
markets. In a recent study on the digital content industry, Frfas (2002) singled out the role of
government sponsorship of specific projects as an important tool for the development of this
industry. Among examples of the governments potential role were contracts by public libraries
(as part of the information society agenda in the public sector) to indigenous firms with digital
content capability. Though the potential for such initiatives has been recognised by Frfas and
Enterprise Ireland, no concrete steps have been taken to develop this area of policy.
E-health and the development of innovative products for remote diagnosis have also been
identified as an area of potential growth for indigenous software firms. However, neither the
ISPU nor the DETE considered co-ordinating with the Department of Health or local health
boards to explore possibilities for developing e-health software by indigenous firms. According
to policy makers with responsibility for the information society, the main reason for the lack of
government procurement policies to stimulate the innovative capabilities of indigenous software
firms is that these measures would come into conflict with EU competition policy.2
It is clear however that in general, public sector organisations outside the STI field are not
aware of the links between their activities and innovation. Though the difficulties associated
with departmentalisation and weak organisational co-ordination for policy coherence should not
be underestimated, the problem runs deeper and has much to do with the nature of Irelands
present STI policy which does not create awareness of the importance of demand-led innovation
policy. The lack of coherence between information society and STI policies means that Ireland
is not taking advantage of a possibility to strengthen its national innovative capabilities.
________________
1. The placing of an order for a product or services which do not exist but could be developed within a
reasonable time period.
2. One of the issues being pursued by the Irish Software Association (ISA) is that the government eprocurement programme should mandate that 25% of purchases be made from SMEs. This would give
Irelands indigenous software SMEs a chance to compete for government contracts and would not violate
EU competition policy.

Conclusion
The purpose of studying the policy governance processes in the area of the
information society was to see what lessons could be learned for the development of
horizontal linkages and policy coherence in the area of STI. The first point to note is that,
even in the case of the information society, a policy area that crosses all government
departments, the establishment of horizontal linkages between departments and agencies
represents a major challenge to traditional ways of organising the policy making-process.
While the Department of An Taoiseach, has taken overall responsibility for the
information society agenda, the development of information society policies has taken
place along traditional departmental lines with little interdepartmental co-ordination. The
departmentalisation of the information society agenda, with policies conceived and
implemented following the established rationale of existing departments, has placed
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112 INNOVATION AND THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: POLICY COHERENCE AND GOVERNANCE IN IRELAND
limits on the potential for the development of a more integrated approach even within this
one policy area.
The second point relates to the difficulties in getting government departments to work
together on a longer-term or continuous basis. In the case of the information society, the
high-level interdepartmental policy structures established to push forward the
implementation of the Action Plans could have become catalysts for initiatives requiring
longer-term (or continuous) horizontal policy co-ordination. These bodies, however, have
played a more limited role, becoming associated mainly with the area of e-government. It
is likely that giving the small ISPU responsibility for e-government as well as the coordination of the information society agenda detracted from its role as overall policy coordinator. As a result, where policy co-ordination between departments and agencies has
been needed, the main mechanism for cross-departmental collaboration has been ad hoc
interdepartmental groups and working committees. While these committees seem to have
been effective in co-ordinating cross-departmental collaboration on specific issues, they
cannot ensure overall long-term policy cohesion.
The study shows that policies for the information society and STI are conceived and
implemented totally independently. Yet, important benefits could be gained by linking
these two policy areas. The fact that STI has only really begun to crystallise as a major
policy area since the late 1990s is a factor explaining the lack of horizontal co-ordination
between the two policy fields. Moreover, the importance of STI policy for Irelands
future development has as yet not been fully understood or accepted within Irish policy
circles. More importantly, however, obstacles for policy coherence arise from the nature
of present STI policies. One of the difficulties for creating linkages and coherence
between policies for the information society and innovation is the fact that Irelands
present STI agenda is more akin to first-generation science-push models than to the
broader innovation system approach identified with second-generation innovation policy.
One implication is that for many in the policy-making system, the relevance of innovation
policy to the information society is not at all clear. This is true even for the departments
most closely associated with the innovation agenda. In the case of Ireland, therefore, a
broader innovation policy is needed before coherence and effective linkages can be
achieved between the two policy fields. Moreover given the complexity of the two policy
fields, the creation of an innovation champion within the policy system with the authority
and resources to encourage cross-departmental initiatives could play an important role in
establishing horizontal co-ordination and policy coherence between the information
society and STI.

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Annex 4.A
Research methodology
This study was based on a detailed review of policy documents in the areas of the
information society and STI over the last ten years, as well as semi-structured interviews
with representatives from a number of policy-making bodies in the areas both of the
information society and STI. The interviews were conducted in the early months of 2004
and included people at various levels of seniority in both policy-making areas. For both
the information society and STI, however, policy makers from the most senior levels
were interviewed.

Organisations interviewed
Information Society Policy Unit (ISPU)
Information Society Commission (ISC)
Enterprise Ireland (EI)
Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment (DETE)
Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources
Frfas
Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)
Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ICSTI)
Irish Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET)
Higher Education Authority (HEA)
Irish Software Association (ISA)

Notes
1.

Government investment in STI increased from EUR 0.5 billion during the period of the previous
National Development Plan (1994-99) to EUR 2.5 billion in the current National Development Plan.

2.

Up to the end of 2001, EUR 109 million had been made available to support approximately 150 projects
across government departments and agencies.

3.

At the time of interview the ISPU was still formulating the roles and locations of both the CIO and the
Office of Innovative Government.

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References
Cogan, J. (2003), Building a System of Innovation: Reflections on the Irish Experience,
mimeo, Science Policy Research Centre, UCD.
Cogan, J. and J. McDevitt (2002), Review of Irish Industry-oriented R&D and
Innovation Policies: The Link between Low R&D Performance and Poor Technology
Absorptive Capacity, report to Frfas for ICSTI Commission on RTD Policy
Framework.
Culliton Report (1992), A Time for Change, The Industrial Policy Review Group.
Department of the Taoiseach (1999), Implementing the Information Society in Ireland:
An Action Plan.
Department of the Taoiseach (2002), New Connections: A Strategy to Realise the
Potential of the Information Society, Government Action Plan.
Enterprise Ireland (2000), ITS 2007: Opportunities for Irelands High-Technology
Internationally Traded Services (ITS) Sector to 2007.
European Union (2003), Innovation Tomorrow.
Frfas (1996), Shaping Our Future: A Strategy for Enterprise in Ireland in the 21st
Century.
Frfas (2002), A Strategy for the Digital Content Industry in Ireland.
Hilliard, R. and R. Green (2005), Governance and Institutional Change in Ireland, in
OECD (2005), Governance of Innovation Systems, Volume 2: Case Studies in
Innovation Policy.
IDC Steering Group (2004), Building Irelands Knowledge Economy: The Irish Action
Plan for Promoting Investment in R&D to 2010, Report to the Inter Departmental
Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation.
Information Society Commission (2002), Building a Knowledge Society: Report to
Government.
Information Society Steering Committee (ISSC) (1996), Information Society Ireland:
Strategy for Action.
Lundvall, B.A. and S. Borras, (1997), The Globalising Learning Economy: Implications
for Innovation Policy, Directorate-General Science, Research and Development, EU.
OECD (2002), Dynamising National Innovation Systems, OECD, Paris.
Sweeney, P. (1999), The Celtic Tiger: Irelands Continuing Economic Miracle, Oak Tree
Press, Dublin.
Telesis Consultancy Group (1982), A Review of Irish Industrial Policy.
Trauth, E. (2000), The Culture of an Information Economy: Influences and Impacts in the
Republic of Ireland, Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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Chapter 5
HORIZONTAL CO-ORDINATION OF INNOVATION POLICIES:
INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICIES IN THE NETHERLANDS1
Pim den Hertog and Hilde de Groot
Dialogic, the Netherlands

This chapter analyses Dutch policies relating to the information society and information
and communications technologies (ICT) at the central government level. It addresses
processes of agenda setting, policy co-ordination and evaluation. As in most other
countries, information society/ICT policies in the Netherlands have gradually become
broader in scope. ICT has enabled broad transformation of processes in both industry and
public domains. However, not all actors develop an information society/ICT policy
agenda to increase innovation or develop the knowledge economy. Most see ICT as an
enabler in their primary processes without any clear link to innovation. Although much
energy is invested in formulating an integrated ICT/information society strategy, the
ministries most involved have a good deal of autonomy in shaping and implementing
their information society/ICT policy. This leads to the question of whether it would be too
complex to formulate an overall ICT/information society strategy. This chapter concludes
that interdepartmental practices do not as yet allow for a further broadening of information society/ICT policy making. However, new co-ordination and governance mechanisms are under discussion and experiments with some new governance mechanisms are
under way.

Introduction
A broad and complex policy area2
In the Netherlands as in most developed countries the past two decades have seen the
introduction first of ICT policies and then, from the early 1990s, information society
policies. Over time these policies have increased in both scope and complexity, making it
sometimes difficult to see where specific information society/ICT policy ends and more
sectoral policies begin. The most recent (central) government-wide ICT White Paper
makes the central goal of ICT policy to address major economic and societal issues with
the help of ICT. It notes that ICT not only can improve productivity levels, but also
facilitate new forms of co-operation and increase the quality of (public) services
(Ministry of Economic Affairs, 2004). It states that in both private and public domains
there is a need for new combinations of actors and services, new organisational concepts
and new business models.

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116 HORIZONTAL CO-ORDINATION OF INNOVATION POLICIES: INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICIES IN THE NETHERLANDS
There have been a variety of policies, schemes and initiatives over the years. While
there have been isolated successes, the complexity of the task has made it difficult to
facilitate the development and use of the potential of ICT throughout the economy and
society. The complexity is associated with the following factors:

ICT is a pervasive technology3 which has triggered quite complex technological


and organisational transformation processes in almost all technological, economic, societal and policy domains. In addition to technological innovation,
application of ICT requires massive investments in non-technological changes
and innovations. Implementing ICT generally requires more time than anticipated
and steering these developments is a complex process.

ICT policy is not an isolated policy area, but an aspect of a great many policy
areas. This raises questions regarding the design of ICT policies. How does
innovation policy relate to ICT policy? To what extent can there be separate ICT
and broadband policies? How do policies for public government envisage ICT?
As a result, ICT policies most likely involve considerable inter- (and intra-)
departmental co-ordination. This requires a clear overall ICT policy strategy and
the ability to use other policy areas to achieve policy goals.

Dutch information society/ICT policies are increasingly defined by European


information society/ICT policies.4 Likewise, attempts to influence the EU ICT
agenda are increasingly important.5 Nonetheless, important parts of the more
sectoral or ministry-specific information society/ICT policies seem to develop
more or less autonomously and their development and implementation differ
considerably.6

Both politicians and ICT policy makers experience this complexity on a daily
basis. They are involved in changing existing regulations, in developing and
applying broad and more focused policy plans, and in taking stock of best
practices and benchmarking initiatives. In most countries (and indeed at the EU
and other levels) attempts are made to derive an overall information society/ICT
policy agenda or action plan, by selecting new priorities and revising existing
policies. Increasingly, information society/ICT dossiers require the co-operation
of various ministries, as emphasis shifts to using ICT and facilitating innovation
in all domains. Beyond interdepartmental co-ordination and coherence in STI
policies, new interdepartmental coalitions seem needed in specific sectors. Some
countries have in fact chosen to co-ordinate information society/ICT policies at
the highest political levels.

Focus, approach adopted and structure


This chapter on Dutch information society/ICT policies is aimed at illustrating processes of innovation governance. It focuses on the way in which three basic phases of a
policy cycle (i.e. agenda setting, policy formulation and policy evaluation, see Figure 5.1)
develop in practice. The discussion will show how policy co-ordination, policy learning
and horizontalisation of innovation policies take place both formally and informally and
result in more or less coherent policies. The following questions are addressed:

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As a prerequisite for answering subsequent questions, how has information


society/ICT policy, as initiated from an innovation perspective, evolved over the
years?

How is information society/ICT policy organised (formally)?

How is the information society/ICT agenda set in practice?

How can the process of information society/ICT policy formulation be characterised?

How does information society/ICT policy seek to raise innovativeness and to


what degree does horizontal, i.e. interdepartmental, co-ordination take place?

Are there processes of policy learning and evaluation that can be identified in
information society/ICT policy aimed at furthering innovation government-wide?

The case study reported here was restricted in scale and scope. One limitation is
restriction of the coverage to information society/ICT policy initiated at the central
government level. Another is that the principal focus is on the link between information
society/ICT policy and innovation in an attempt to see how the former has worked to
raise the innovativeness of the Dutch economy and society. The discussion is therefore
biased towards policy initiatives in which the Ministry of Economic Affairs plays a
dominant role. Finally, attention is given to processes of agenda setting and policy
formulation, emphasising horizontalisation, policy learning and interdepartmental coordination.
Figure 5.1. Phases in a simple policy cycle and aspects addressed in this contribution

Agenda setting

Evaluation

Aspects:
Co-ordination
Policy coherence
Horizontalisation
Policy learning

Policy formulation
and
implementation

The chapter is organised as follows. First, there is a brief historical overview of how
information society/ICT policy has developed since 1970 and the main characteristics of
the formal organisation of information society/ICT policy are described. The discussion
then turns to the setting of the information society/ICT policy agenda and some insight is
provided into the policy formulation process, the co-ordination mechanisms used and
how horizontal co-ordination takes place in practice. Then, the policy evaluation phase is
discussed and some observations regarding policy learning are made. Finally, some
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118 HORIZONTAL CO-ORDINATION OF INNOVATION POLICIES: INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICIES IN THE NETHERLANDS
concluding remarks are made and some of the findings are linked to the overall innovation governance discussion.

Historical overview of Dutch information society/ICT policy


This section provides a brief overview of how information society/ICT policy has
developed and broadened over the years from an innovation perspective. Although any
periodisation is a simplification of what are more gradual processes, four periods can be
distinguished. They largely coincide with new governments and White Papers that highlight the governments overall views on the role of the information society and ICT in the
economy and society.

1970-94: the development of ICT policy as a separate policy area


Information technology (IT) policy initially started through science policy (e.g.
computer centres at universities) and specific technology policy. As in most developed
countries, policy initiatives were aimed at the creation of (scientific) knowledge,
technology development and the development of an ICT infrastructure. The Information
Technology Promotion Plan, a EUR 770 million (interdepartmental) IT support scheme
that ran from 1984 to 1988, was typical of the technology schemes in most European
countries. In the 1980s a shift towards more diffusion-oriented and even demand-oriented
programmes was already visible. The 1980s and early 1990s were further characterised
by privatisation of telecom incumbents and liberalisation of telecom markets. In addition
to initiatives aimed at establishing an ICT infrastructure, policies to support the development of new services were initiated. There was growing attention to ICT in education and
knowledge transfer programmes (den Hertog and Fahrenkrog, 1993, pp. 28-34).

1994-99: the broadening of ICT policies into information society policies


In the mid-1990s the wider societal implications of what was called the information
society or information superhighway entered the policy agenda, not least through the
publication of the European action plan on the information society (the Bangemann
Report) in 1994. In the Netherlands it led to the publication of a White Paper, Information
Superhighways, and the subsequent launching of a National Action Programme on
Information Superhighways. It was one of the first programmes designed as an interdepartmental, integrated ICT policy programme to be implemented jointly by the
Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the
Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of
Transport, Public Works and Water Management. Each ministry looked after its own
interests in this more widely defined ICT policy. The Ministry of the Interior and
Kingdom Relations emphasised the creation of information government. The Ministry
of Economic Affairs was mainly concerned with the role of the market in ICT (while also
addressing knowledge creation and knowledge diffusion in ICT in industry). The
Ministry of Justice examined whether a new regulatory framework was needed to
facilitate ICT uptake and dissemination, while the Ministry of Education, Culture and
Science addressed the issue of the access of schools to the information superhighway.
Finally, the Ministry of Transport focused on the (deployment) of telecom infrastructures
and its regulation.

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In 1998 the National Action Programme (NAP) was rebalanced. The position of the
Netherlands vis--vis the other EU member states was evaluated and new priorities were
set. In the second half of the 1990s a multitude of government initiatives were taken. At
that point in time, sectoral action programmes defining sectoral ICT policies were published. The impact of ICT in all sorts of domains was increasingly under consideration.

1999-2003: attempts to further co-ordinate and integrate information society/


ICT policies
At the end of the 1990s, the number of individual initiatives increased rapidly (see
Box 5.1), not least because of general political pressure to support and facilitate ICT
uptake in various domains. Gradually the lack of an overall view of ICT policy was felt
at least among outsiders, including parliament and consequently the need for more
integration and co-ordination. This resulted in 1999 in a White Paper, The Dutch Digital
Delta. This was the follow-up to the National Action Programme on Information Superhighways (1994) and its successor, the Review of the National Action Programme on
Information Superhighways (1998). The Dutch Digital Delta is a framework for the
governments initiatives and activities to improve the Dutch ICT base. The report was
organised around five themes7 that were used as labels to structure measures and plans
that were already described in more topical action plans or for which additional action
plans were announced. Over this period a clear shift to addressing (once again) ICT
knowledge and innovation and ICT skills and ICT use was observed. For most sectoral
ministries, ICT is an important enabling technology that is increasingly part of their core
policies. However, their frame of reference is linked more to their respective domains and
less to furthering innovation through ICT. Attempts to co-ordinate and integrate ICT
policies increasingly have to compete with sectoral policies that integrate sector-specific
ICT policies.
Box 5.1. Some ICT/information society policy initiatives taken in 1999-2003
The Ministry of the Interior focused on electronic government. Under the previous government
(i.e. Kok II, the purple coalition) a minister was made responsible for big cities and integration
policy. This minister was based in the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and was
responsible for co-ordinating government-wide ICT policies, promoting ICT policies within the
individual departments (internal ICT policies) and improving relations between government and
citizens through the use of ICT. ICT was presented both as an instrument to renew politics and
democracy and to improve electronic service provision to citizens. This position was not
continued under the Balkenede I and II administrations. Instead, under Balkenende II a new
minister (Minister de Graaf) was entrusted with modernising public sector governance and was
responsible for co-ordinating government-wide e-government. The minister launched a new
White Paper, Andere overheid (Modernising Government), which illustrates how ICT has
developed into a helpful tool for accomplishing the wider goals of governance.
At the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences, the further development of Kennisnet was
emphasised. Kennisnet is the Internet portal or electronic learning environment for primary,
secondary and professional education in the Netherlands. Kennisnet became an independent
foundation in 2001 funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). In fact it
is a massive investment in increasing access to and use of ICT in education. It is an important
way of innovating in education, but is not steered by an innovation policy logic. This again
shows that over the years ICT policies have moved from the science and technology policy
domains to other domains that follow a logic that is not necessarily an STI logic.

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Box 5.1. Some ICT/information society policy initiatives taken in 1999-2003 (continued)
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (actually a department within the Ministry of Transport,
Public Works and Water Management that was soon merged with the Ministry of Economic
Affairs) initiated a smartcity, Kenniswijk, in the Eindhoven region. Started in 2001 Kenniswijk
has developed into a national test bed for consumers in the area of computers, (mobile)
communications and the Internet. For the experiment organised as a public-private venture
the government reserved EUR 45 million in funds over a five-year period, equally divided
between infrastructure and development of innovative services. At the end of 2003/early 2004
the initiative was evaluated and major changes were made, including opening up the scheme for
developing innovative services to applicants from all over the country and focusing the services
to be developed much more on societal areas such as health, education, mobility and security.
As of March 2005 almost 100 services are under development in Kenniswijk and 48 services
have been completed.

2004 onwards: using ICT and the development of a government-wide


ICT agenda
The ICT White Paper, A Government-wide ICT Agenda: Better Performance with
ICT (February 2004) possibly marks a new phase in government ICT policies. It adapts
the eEurope 2005 action plan to the Dutch context. Two action lines are discerned: further
improving the ICT base and better exploiting available ICT knowledge. For the first line,
the government mainly aims at maintaining and improving (new) networks and creating
the right framework conditions (such as safety, legal security, standards, etc.). Further,
the government aims at improving the possibilities for partnering in international R&D
co-operation and promoting the Netherlands as a site for international firms. To improve
the Netherlands position in ICT knowledge, it created a new governance mechanism, the
regieorgaan (co-ordination platform) for ICT research (discussed in more detail below).
For the second action line (better exploitation of the current ICT base), the government
aims at better use of ICT by firms to increase productivity and efficiency, with a focus on
e-business and SMEs. It seeks to improve the application and use of ICT in government
services provided to firms, organisations and citizens and in sectoral domains such as
health, education and traffic and transport. Additionally some studies to see how wider
societal issues can be addressed using ICT have been announced and clearly point
towards more horizontalised ICT policies and the use of the innovative potential of ICT
to help solve societal issues. The resulting agenda is to be reviewed and reassessed mid2005. In the realm of e-government a new, more implementation-oriented White Paper,
Towards an Electronic Government, was presented mid-2004. Actions in seven domains
were mentioned and it was emphasised that improving service provision to firms and
citizens was key. E-government was positioned as a tool, not as an aim in itself.
Table 5.1 summarises the four phases in Dutch ICT policies discerned here, and Box
5.2 sketches how information society/ICT policies in general have broadened over the
years.

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Table 5.1. Main characteristics of Dutch ICT policies, 1970-2004


Phase

Characteristics

Integrated White Papers1

1970- 94:
Development of ICT
policy as a separate
policy area

ICT policy largely part of and originating from science and technology policy.
Focus merely on ICT research and ICT infrastructures and at the end increasingly
on regulatory framework, normalisation and certification.
Gradual shift from predominantly supply-oriented towards diffusion and demandoriented ICT policies.
Privatisation and liberalisation of telecoms feature high on the policy agenda at the
end of this phase.

IT Policies in the 1990s (1993)

1994-99:
Broadening of ICT
policies into
information society
policies

Bangemann Report draws attention to the information superhighway/society and a


gradual shift from pure ICT policies towards broader information society/ICT
policies.
Broader economic and societal impact of ICT is apparent.
Broader perspective on ICT implies multiple sectoral approaches towards
information society/ICT policies. Numerous initiatives in multiple domains.
Relatively more attention to access and skills, innovation and ICT in the public
domain.
Need for a more integrated and co-ordinated approach in information society/ICT
policy.
DDD framework is mostly a cosmetic integration as sectoral ICT policies develop
in practice mostly independently.
Proliferation of more focused action plans.
Continued attention to ICT skills, ICT use and (again) ICT knowledge position.

National Action Programme


Information Superhighways
(NAP, 1994)
Beyond the National Action
Plan: A Recalibration of the
Existing Programme (1998)

A Government-wide ICT
Agenda: Better Performance
with ICT (2004)

1999-2003:
Integrated and coordinated
information
society/ICT policies
2004 onwards:
Using ICT and the
development of a
government-wide
ICT agenda

Further Europeanisation of Dutch ICT policies.


Increased attention to the social and economic return on ICT investments.
Introduction of a new form of governance (regieorgaan ICT).
Beginning of more horizontalised ICT policies aimed at solving societal issues.

The Dutch Digital Delta


(DDD): The Netherlands
Online (1999)

1. Only the major (government-wide) White Papers.

Box 5.2. Four basic policy goals in information society/ICT policies


The four general policy goals in information society/ICT policy making are:
1. Policies aimed at signalling key ICT technologies (strategic intelligence) and policies aimed at excelling in a
certain selection of key ICT technologies. These are ICT policies with a technological perspective and possibly the longest history (especially in the larger countries).
2. Policies aimed at strengthening innovation by and competitiveness of ICT core industries1 (ICT manufacturing, ICT networks, ICT services) as well as the efficient use and diffusion of ICT in all economic
industries. These are ICT policies with a more economic perspective and are well established in almost all
countries.
3. Policies aimed at increasing access to ICT as well as addressing framework conditions to facilitate the introduction and use of ICT.
4. Policies aimed at effective and efficient use of ICT in all societal domains and embedding ICT society-wide.
One may observe that in the Netherlands as in most other countries information society/ICT policy agendas have
gradually become broader in scope, developing from a focus on the ICT-producing industry and innovation and
competitiveness issues towards framework conditions and diffusion and use to a broad range of societal domains.
ICT has become an enabler of broad transformation processes. Not all actors develop an information society/ICT
policy exclusively to increase innovation or move towards a knowledge-based economy. Most see ICT simply as
an enabler in their primary processes without a clear link to innovation.
_______________

1. For a definition of the narrowly defined ICT core industries, see OECD (2002), which defines the ICT core industries as a combination of manufacturing and services industries that capture, transmit and display data and information electronically (pp. 81-83). In
a recently published study comparing UK and Dutch ICT policies, a similar broad definition of ICT policies was provided. ICT
policies concern the development and generation of new information and communication technologies, and their diffusion and application across all types of activity, from manufacturing, public services to leisure and education (Molas-Gallart et al., 2003, p. 18).
Source: den Hertog et al. (2005).

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Formal organisation of central government ICT/information society policy
In the Netherlands no single ministry is responsible for ICT policy. The major White
Papers are signed by various ministers and various ministries may lead depending on the
theme (Figure 5.2). However, the Ministry of Economic Affairs is primarily responsible
for co-ordinating ICT policy at the central governmental level. This is evident in the
government-wide ICT agenda published in 2004.
Over the years the lead or most proactive ministries have varied, and the broadening
of issues is reflected in the actors involved at the central government level. In the first
phase the leaders were the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW, science
policy) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ, firm-oriented policies). The Ministry
of Traffic, Public Works and Water Management (V&W) played a role in the whole
process of the privatisation and regulation of telecoms. However, the department
responsible for this matter was recently merged with the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Since the early 1990s the Ministry of Justice (JUS) has played an important role in setting
the legal framework for ICT, but never a dominant role. With the increased importance of
ICT for government operations, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
(BZK) successfully claimed and actually played a more dominant role. The role of OCW
has increased since the mid-1990s, less in terms of co-ordination than in terms of
spending on ICT skills and ICT use in education. In practice, the three core ministries are
the OCW, EZ and BZK. Not coincidently, these are the only ministries with separate ICT
directorates. The simplified version of the distribution of responsibilities among these
ministries for the various themes is given in Figure 5.2.
Figure 5.2. Distribution of some ICT themes over the five ministries (most) involved in
information society/ICT policy

V&W

EZ

OCW

BZK

JUS

Telecom and infrastructure


e-government/
ICT in public
sector

Knowledge and
innovation

Legislation
e-learning
Access and capabilities

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The recent ICT White Paper, A Government-wide ICT Agenda, does not fully answer
the question of how to deal jointly with ICT challenges in various domains. It notes that
institutional reforms and redesign of work procedures are needed to make better use of
ICT. This implies that the distribution of tasks and responsibilities for ICT within the
central government needs to be reconsidered. The new White Paper notes that to attack
societal issues, the BZK and the EZ will attempt jointly to see what possibilities exist to
improve efficiency and efficacy through the application of ICT (through chance or
opportunity cards). However, it is also mentioned that the responsibility for solving
societal issues, as mentioned in the coalition agreement or working programme of the
current coalition, resides with the sectoral ministry in charge and its partners in society
(2004, p. 19). When it concerns others, government may suggest coalitions to learn to
appreciate better use of ICT. How this will be realised and the appropriate governance
structures are not mentioned (see below for further discussion of this issue).
The pattern is similar for policy implementation, i.e. it is typically a responsibility of
individual ministries. The policy plans in the White Papers are translated into more
specific action programmes, plans and projects. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has
launched an action plan on broadband, BZK published a programme on how to organise
government, Modernising Government (2003), in which ICT is only an enabler. In some
case an individual ad hoc advisory commission is set up to propose a practical strategy on
how to deal with certain topics. For some overarching policy programmes, co-ordinating
platforms (interdepartmental working groups) are created in which the ministries most
involved are represented. There are co-ordinating platforms or committees for ICT and
administrative costs, streamlining of base data, and public key infrastructure (PKI).
Finally it should be remarked that the various ministries operate through various services.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs uses its innovation centres (Syntens) to implement its
ICT policies aimed at SMEs, and the telecoms regulator (Opta) supervises the operation
of the various players in the telecom market. BZK has created a separate body that coordinates and manages large programmes in the area of e-government and has a position
between pure implementation and policy design (ICTU). OCW has created Kennisnet to
implement its ICT policies in education. Thus, at the level of policy design and policy
implementation, various departmental approaches and practices dominate a more coordinated approach.

Agenda setting
Some characteristics of the information society/ICT agenda setting process
In public administration studies a distinction is made between a policy agenda, a
political agenda and a public agenda. The agenda-setting process concerns the ways in
which a certain topic is put on the policy agenda. Some topics are triggered mostly by
external parties (i.e. the public agenda leads), others are initiated internally i.e. by
politicians and policy makers (the policy agenda leads) (van de Graaf and Hoppe, 1996,
p. 182) In the case of the information society/ICT agenda, the agenda-setting process is
not very clear-cut for various reasons:

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The information society/ICT agenda involves a collection of various agenda


items. The ICT research agenda is built differently from the e-business agenda,
the ICT in education agenda, or the e-government agenda. It is hard to speak of an
overall information society/ICT agenda. It is at most is a sum of various ICT
agendas.

Over time attention to the information society/ICT theme varies considerably.


Around 2000 there was intense attention to all ICT-related matters and politicians
were eager to show their willingness to invest in the topic, but today the political
market for information society/ICT initiatives is less crowded. The ability of
actors involved in the agenda-setting process to point at real or perceived flaws in
the information society/ICT landscape partly defines their power in the process of
agenda setting.

Sometimes coincidence plays a more important role than some actors would like
to admit. A study tour or visit of officials of the responsible minister may for
example play a role in setting the agenda.

Some of characteristics of the internal and external processes of agenda setting that
can be observed in the Netherlands are described in more detail below.
As coalition governments are the norm in the Netherlands, the coalition agreement is
an important element of the agenda-setting process. All sorts of interested parties try to
influence those in charge of forming a new cabinet, and the agreement in fact defines the
political priorities. These priorities set in motion a new policy cycle in which a new
budget reflects the new priorities, and a policy White Paper is generally produced that
either reaffirms existing policies with some new emphasis (mostly the case) or announces
new policies or initiatives. Although the length of the policy cycle may differ, a four-year
rhythm is the norm. The White Paper is generally followed by more detailed policy
programmes and actions plans or practical projects.
An important part of the wheeling and dealing takes place between policy makers of
the various ministries that jointly compose and write the White Papers. The ministries
bring their respective building blocks, and along as these are recognised as belonging to
one ministry and one jurisdiction, they are integrated quite easily (the individual
ministries can use their separate budgets). Discussion mostly focuses on new policy
initiatives (that have not been assigned to a specific ministry) or on interdepartmental
programmes. In the latest ICT White Paper, it is stated that funds are put aside on the
departmental budgets for internal application of ICT and for ICT activities in the sector
under the ministrys responsibility. NAP funds (a relatively small interdepartmental
programme) are available for new ventures or new themes as long as there is no
regular budget available. The formulation leaves room for interpretation and further
negotiations among ministries. Encouraging such actions may contribute to better use of
ICT for the most urgent societal problems. NAP seems to be less important as a
mechanism for interdepartmental co-ordination. Not only is the budget limited, but
ministries have some sort of drawing rights and propose projects that cannot be funded
through the regular budget. So far, ministries intervene little in other ministries selection
of projects.
A new ICT White Paper replicated in the more detailed programmes and actions
plans that are, in some case, formulated by more than one ministry takes on a more
formal character when the final drafts are discussed in the committee in which high-level
officials approve (or refuse) the results of the work of the interdepartmental writing
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groups or committees. There is a separate official Commission on Science, Technology


and Information policy (CWTI8) in which decisions are officially prepared and coordinated (the secretariat of CWTI resides with the Ministry of Economic Affairs) before
they go to the ministerial Sub-council for Science, Technology and Information policy
(RWTI). This council is formally chaired by the prime minister but the ICT policy part is
run by the minister of Economic Affairs, the minister of the Interior and Kingdom
Relations, and the minister of Education, Culture and Science. The ministers try to
prepare a joint decision before the dossier is handed to the general meeting or Council of
Ministers that decides on dossiers every week. Members of the RWTI are, apart from the
obvious candidates (OCW, EZ and BZK), the ministers of Defence, Finance and Justice.
The Ministry of Finance is an internal actor, sometimes perceived as an external actor
as well, which emphasises over and over again that, especially regarding technology
policy, market failure is the only rationale for government intervention. As the Ministry
of Finance is powerful in terms of how budgets are spent and where budget cuts are
needed, the market failure paradigm is partly incorporated in much of the policy thinking
beforehand. Some policy actions, instruments or experiments are not considered seriously
because of the potential threat of opposition by the Ministry of Finance.
Various external actors try to influence the political and policy ICT agenda,
sometimes indirectly through the public agenda, sometimes more directly by interacting
with politicians and policy makers. It is hard to assess how effective these efforts are. It
depends on the timing, the coalition of actors (for example, of industries or of knowledge
institutions and related associations) that may unite to request similar changes, and the
sort of channels used. Government officials have regular face-to-face meetings with
certain groups of actors that may play a role, but an active discussion in leading
newspapers in combination with questions in parliament may be effective as well.
Sometimes government actively seeks input and advice for example through an ad hoc
advisory committee. In the information society/ICT domain, many such committees were
formed and some were influential and put themes and possible solutions on the agenda,
while others were soon forgotten after giving their advice. It is this mixture of actors and
channels that sometimes makes the agenda-setting process rather hazy.
Industrys influence depends on its ability to formulate a coherent message or request.
The ICT industry is still relatively young and therefore does not have a long-standing
tradition of strong industry associations that represent the interests of all ICT players. In
practice the larger industrial firms and more general employers associations such as
MKB-Nederland and VNO/NCW influence the policy agenda to certain extent. In 2003
Philips remarked that it considered relocating its R&D abroad and this (at least
temporarily) made an impact on the discussion of innovation. It is not surprising that big
industry is quite well represented on the new innovation platform.9
The influence of research and consultancy firms on the ICT agenda should not be
overlooked. They are active in all phases of the policy cycle, including agenda setting.
They may perform feasibility studies, perform benchmarking studies, provide examples
from abroad and act as secretaries for ad hoc advisory commissions and so influence
policy. By helping to implement and by evaluating existing schemes and policies and
subsequently making suggestions for improvement, these organisations may influence the
ICT agenda.

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Academia and related organisations are important external actors, and are relatively
well organised (NOW, VSNU, TNO). They mostly influence the ICT research agenda.
Recently, academia, organisations active in applied research and the ICT industry have
teamed up in the ICT forum to advise on the ICT research agenda; in the near future they
will bear responsibility in the regieorgaan ICT for organising the ICT research function.

Some reflections regarding the process of agenda setting and prioritisation


The process of agenda setting and prioritisation is not steered top-down, but is more
an implicit process in which policy makers, politicians and various external actors
interact, make proposals or provide (by request or on their own initiative, paid or unpaid)
advice, send warnings, point at foreign experience, discuss ICT matters on various
occasions, ask for new initiatives, provide input to draft White Papers, etc.
At the same time, the overall ICT agenda is the sum of plans and strategies of
individual ministries. Co-ordination mostly takes place at the top and except for budgets
that are administered on an interdepartmental basis, they are administered by individual
ministries. Respecting traditional boundaries and not interfering in each others domains
appears to be the norm. As budgets cannot be changed overnight (not only is there a
multi-annual planning regime, most programmes are multi-annual as well), new initiatives mostly have to be accommodated within current budgets. A few interdepartmental
programmes offer room for new policy actions as well as political decision making which
may lead to an additional budget (incidentally or on a more structural basis). However,
most of the time, budgets and programmes are fixed and respected, so that changes in the
ICT policy agenda are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
The financing of the ICT policy agenda is complicated as well. It is the sum of
various departmental budgets, some interdepartmental schemes (mostly integrated in the
budget of one of the core ministries) and small budgets that can be used for various
projects. If for example a new overall strategy or action plan is presented, the budget is
mostly a repackaging of existing budgets (that are allocated differently or more
specifically) and some new money.
In the public administration literature various theories exist on how topics reach the
policy agenda and how the process of agenda setting develops. The garbage can model
elaborated by Kingdon (1995)10 seems to reflect the process quite neatly. Kingdon
attempts to understand why people pay attention to one subject rather than another, how
their agendas change from one time to another, and how they narrow their choices from a
large set of alternatives to a few. Public policy making is considered to be a set of
processes, including the setting of the agenda, the specification of alternatives from which
a choice is to be made, a choice among those specified alternatives and the implementation of the decision. Kingdon concentrates on the first two of these processes and
argues that, in general, two categories of factors might affect agenda setting and the
specification of alternatives: the participants who are active (inside and outside the
government), and the processes by which agenda items and alternatives come into prominence. Regarding the latter processes a distinction is made between problems, policies
and politics. Each of the three processes can serve as an impetus or as a constraint. They
are largely independent of one another, and each develops according to its own dynamics
and rules. But at some critical junctures the three streams are joined, and the greatest
policy changes grow out of that coupling of problems, policy proposals and politics. This
coupling is most likely when policy windows (opportunities) are open (Kingdon, 1995,
pp. 1-4) (see Figure 5.3).
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Figure 5.3. Kingdon garbage can model of agenda setting in public policy

Source: van de Graaf and Hoppe (1996), p. 198.

This model seems to reflect the Dutch situation. At few moments in the life of a
policy dossier can radical changes be made, as it is the exception rather than the rule to
find a set of problems (the public agenda), politics (the political agenda) and policy (the
policy agenda) aligned so that the agenda can be radically redefined. In practice the
political momentum is generally decisive. When there is a new government and a new
budget and leading politicians are prepared to make a change that is supported by various
external actors (who make practical proposals that are more or less aligned) more radical
changes can be made. Benchmarking exercises increasingly play a role. Both politicians
and policy makers are sensitive to bad ratings in international comparisons and this may
increase their readiness to change an agenda. In the mid-1990s, for example, it was clear
that something should be done about the slow rate of ICT start-ups and the initiative to
establish ICT twinning centres materialised quite easily. In 1999/2000, in the wake of
excitement over the Internet and ICT, extra money was made available for facilitating
ICT/Internet development; ICT policy directed at SMEs still benefits, as detailed plans on
how to spend the money were drawn up in subsequent years. In the period between such
windows of opportunity the overall budget remains quite stable. Currently, as budgetcutting is the norm and ICT has lost some of its political appeal it is harder to put ICT
high on the political agenda, let alone increase the budget for ICT policy.

Policy formulation and co-ordination


Characteristics of information society/ICT policy formulation11
This section focuses on how policies are actually constructed and formulated. In the
policy science literature a distinction is made between top-down and bottom-up or
centralised and decentralised approaches to policy formulation. The general theory was
formulated by Molas-Gallart et al. (2003, p. 14) as follows: The main advantage of a top
down centralised style is that it permits greater and more effective co-ordination of the

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governments policy agenda. Its main disadvantages is that it tends to diminish the
importance of the local environment, which is generally closer to user needs, and it faces
difficulties at the implementation stage when the agencies and departments in charge may
resist the perceived imposition of policy practices... The adequacy of a centralising or
decentralising approach will depend on the policy area and the stage of policy
formulation. In general, policy definition is likely to benefit from central co-ordination
and the clear definition of policy objectives. The pursuit of policy consensus is likely, at
best, to slow down the policy-making process and, at worst result in muddled policy
objectives. Yet to force a centralising top-down process on policy-making implementation is likely to encounter resistance from those in charge of implementing the policy, and
may run counter to the political traditions and practices of countries with a diffuse
distribution of political power. Bottom-up approaches will usually be better suited to the
implementation stages of an ICT policy.
Dutch information society/ICT policies can possibly be best characterised as follows:

Bottom-up approach to policy formulation and a relatively large autonomy for


individual ministries, making a co-ordinated ICT approach hard to accomplish.

Processes of policy making and translating these into practical programmes are
rather slow.

Continued discussion on new co-ordination and governance mechanisms.

The development of information society/ICT policy in the Netherlands mostly has a


bottom-up character. Although quite a lot of energy is invested in formulating an
integrated strategy, the individual ministries most involved in realising information
society/ICT policy dispose of a good deal of autonomy for actually shaping and
subsequently implementing information society/ICT policy. Responsibility for the ICT
agenda is divided in practice among the various ministries and their territories are well
fenced, limiting possibilities for creating more integrated information society/ICT policy.
In fact, many smaller schemes, initiatives and experiments have developed and there has
been some duplication. Even if clear responsibility is given to one ministry it does not
mean that the ministry can steer the policy government-wide. Cross-departmental steering
is limited while advisory roles are quite common.12
Above, better and faster implementation was mentioned as one of the advantages of a
bottom-up approach. Is this true in the case of information society/ICT policy as well? In
practice, policy making is rather slow. In the first place, strategy formulation (and
consensus seeking) is a lengthy process of consultation and discussions in which many
actors participate (without ensuring a really integrated approach). Second, when it comes
to practical co-ordination and co-operation, this is mostly considered when it is more or
less compulsory because other ministries have a clear mandate or responsibility in a
particular area. It is less perceived as a way of organising matters more conveniently or of
speeding up policy implementation. Illustrative in this context is the issue of electronic
identification. An electronic identification system is seen as a prerequisite to help solve
various problems in different societal areas (such as health, public services, safety).
Various ministries in fact work on their own system and co-ordination is mostly ad hoc in
later stages. The lack of co-ordination slows policy implementation. This is a wider
innovation governance problem in the Netherlands. The main problem is the emphasis on
policy formulation and development of a shared vision, instead of the implementation
strategy.

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The ITPS report notes a related trait that is possibly as harmful: hesitancy and loss of
policy coherence. They observe that in seeking as broad a consensus as possible, policy
making and implementation often became hesitant. This is clearly visible in the halfhearted attempts to liberalise the market, steering between maintaining a favourable
position for the incumbent while ensuring non-discriminatory access for new entrants.
The result was an ambiguous policy that in the end satisfied no one. Significantly, the
excessive emphasis on the allocation of responsibilities to the appropriate decisionmaking level has resulted in the loss of policy coherence. (Molas-Gallart et al., 2003,
p. 26)
It seems as if government is well aware of the fact that new co-ordination and
governance mechanisms are needed. More vision, steering and clear-cut choices may be
what is needed most. This could also imply giving up autonomy. Molas-Gallart et al.
remark that the Netherlands recognise that policies have to be co-ordinated horizontally
across different ministries and departments. Yet, they are facing difficulties to put in
place effective horizontal structures as ministries and departments have resisted attempts
to remove their control over ICT policy (2003, p. 12). The 2004 ICT White Paper, A
government-wide ICT agenda: Performing better with ICT, already signals the need for a
more integrated approach. At the same time it notes that better performance using ICT
coincides quite often with institutional adaptations and redesigned working processes (see
Box 5.3). Within government, government leads, whereas in areas where other parties
lead, government may facilitate the forming of coalitions to show organisations and firms
the advantages of better use of ICT. At the same time the White Paper does not propose
many institutional adaptations. It announces that the advisory ICT forum will become a
platform (regieorgaan ICT) that disposes of discretionary power regarding Dutch ICT
research. It also promises that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of the
Interior will jointly screen a number of areas that might benefit from more targeted use of
ICT (2004, p. 19). It does not spell out how this can be organised and to what degree it
might contribute to a new sort of interdepartmental coalition to work on the ICT issue in
various societal areas.
Another example showing that government is struggling with how co-ordination and
governance regarding ICT needs to be shaped is the ad hoc advisory committee on ICT
and government that published the report, Citizen and Government in the Information
Society: The need for institutional innovation (2001). In this report, the committee
presents its vision of the information society and the relationship between the government
and citizens. The Committee argued that in order to strengthen the role of government in
the information society, government had to find new ways of working. Non-hierarchical
approaches should be promoted especially in the field of ICT with its high level of
complexity, its socio-economic pervasiveness and the impossibility to lead the
information revolution. The changing role of government should therefore be based on
the principles of mediation, facilitation and process management. (Molas-Gallart et al.,
2003, p. 138)

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Box 5.3. Rethinking governance in the ICT innovation system


In a recently published discussion paper on the future development of ICT policies in the
Netherlands the need for rethinking ICT governance structures was signalled as one of the key
challenges. It was observed that the steering of the overall ICT innovation system could be
improved. Some of the key problems mentioned in this context are:

A well-established culture of knowledge transfers between knowledge institutes and firms


is lacking. This cannot be attributed automatically to the knowledge institutes, as both ICTproducing and ICT-using firms need to articulate their knowledge needs more precisely.
The regieorgaan ICT might play a role in bringing these two worlds closer together.

The proliferation of intermediary organisations such as research schools, top institutes,


major research programmes, platforms, institutionalised meeting and lobbies. A
considerable reduction in the number of these would help speed up both development and
implementation of ICT in societal sectors.

So far an overall ICT policy strategy is missing. It currently is too much an accretion of the
needs and wishes of individual ministries and the associated budgets. In fact ICT policy
and later information society/ICT policy were never managed top-down in an integrated
way. At the level of policy programmes and White Papers, a layer of interdepartmental coordination exists, but it overlays various departmental bodies and programmes of quite
autonomous ICT/information society policies that are still articulated to a limited degree in
the form of concrete, measurable goals.1 There are some positive signs, such as the recent
foundation of a interdepartmental working group on electronic services and identification
(CEDI).

In the ICT realm, a number of external ad hoc committees have been used over the years.
Some made a real impact, others just caused a temporary ripple. One can question the
extensive use made of this instrument and the resulting committee culture.2

A real evaluation culture with swift adaptation of policy if needed and more policy
learning is not yet widely accepted. The last integral or meta-evaluation of ICT policy
appears to have been performed at the end of the 1980s. There are a number of changes
under way such as the overall move towards more accountability, reformulation of the
overall ICT policy plan, and the overall trend towards monitoring and evaluation.
The same position paper discusses the balance between policy strategy and policy implementation. It is questioned whether a complete and inclusive ICT strategy can be formulated. A
plea is made for more pragmatic, faster and hence lighter forms of strategy formulation with
clear policy goals and a clear focus on removing the major barriers to large-scale implementation of ICT in industry and, from a public policy perspective, in societal sectors. In policy
implementation, the demand side needs to put forward its needs more strongly. This requires
policy makers to use a more varied arsenal of policy tools in addition to financing, and act as
regulator, owner and supplier, governor, facilitator of learning environments and experiments,
knowledge broker and system director.

___________
1. One could also argue that ICT seems to be gradually more integrated into the various sectoral policies because
it has become too important to be shared completely with other ministries. Possibly the momentum for more coordination in information society/ICT policy is already behind us.
2. Without judging the quality of the advice given, quite a number of ad hoc committees were established in the
last few years. In the e-government realm, they include the Commission Cerfontaine (on ICT and the City),
Commission Snellen (on modernising the local administration), Commission Docters van Leeuwen (on ICT and
government). There were several temporary advisory commissions on ICT and innovation/research, for
example: the Commission Risseeuw (on the social and economic return on ICT investments), Commission Le
Pair (on ICT research) and the Broadband Expert Group (public broadband strategy) among others.
Source: den Hertog et al. (2005), pp. 18-20.

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Two examples of interdepartmental co-ordination and steering


The 1990s produced two major interdepartmental information society/ICT policy
initiatives that can be viewed as attempts to formulate a co-ordinated policy approach.
Just recently, a third was published. The following discussion concentrates on the first,
more limited programme (NAP), which still exists but has changed considerably, and a
second much broader attempt to achieve interdepartmental co-ordination, the Dutch
Digital Delta (DDD).

National Action Programme: Information Superhighways (NAP)


This integrated interdepartmental action programme, launched in 1994, was triggered
by the EUs so-called Bangemann Report (1994). It provided for a number of years the
framework for information society/ICT policies. It is an overarching programme with a
budget, co-ordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (the NAP budget is part of the
EZ budget).13 Over the years the available annual budget mostly decided when a new
government comes into power has varied. During the Kok I government (1994-98) it
was EUR 9 million on an annual basis and increased under Kok II (1998-2002) to
approximately EUR 33 million. Under Balkenende I (2002-03) the Internet bubble had
burst in the meantime the amount was reduced to EUR 22 million and under
Balkenende II (from 2003) to the current EUR 20 million. Typical projects financed
through NAP include the public counter 2000, digitisation of libraries, opening up the
cultural heritage, advanced telecommuncations infrastructure for academia (Surfnet), the
research programme IT and Justice, a research programme Society and Information
Superhighways (run by NOW, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research).
Decisions regarding projects to be aided by NAP reside with its interdepartmental
steering group, which is co-ordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, with
representation from six ministries. NAP is among the first policy programmes that are
interdepartmental by design. All members may make project proposals. Although the
criteria have not been made explicit, they must be innovative, address clear societal
issues, lack direct support for individual firms, be anchored in the ministry that runs the
project and in general fit within the relevant framework (that is, DDD from 1999 and
recently the new government-wide ICT agenda). Through NAP 50% of the project costs
are financed as a rule, the other 50% to be financed from the regular budget of the
ministry that runs the project. In practice, after a certain time lag and after the project is
rooted in the host organisation, the funding is taken over by the responsible ministry. In
this way NAP functions as a catalyst. Some projects surpass the means of individual
ministries and are then partly financed through NAP.
It is difficult to assess precisely the importance and effectiveness of NAP as an
interdepartmental steering mechanism. One could argue that although NAP is limited in
size and scope it is one of the few possibilities for interdepartmental coordination of ICT.
Moreover, an increasing number of ministries are involved in NAP14 and projects funded
through NAP increasingly have a more strategic character. Finally, because of its catalyst
function and co-funding principle, the effect of NAP funds is greater than the size of the
NAP budget suggests.
Over the years the interdepartmental working group has not only co-ordinated NAP
and NAP projects, but other ICT policies as well. To some extent NAP is the glue for
interdepartmental co-ordination.

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However, there are also developments that work against NAP as an effective coordination mechanism. As indicated, most information society/ICT budgets are still run
by the individual ministries that are responsible for certain dossiers. Only a small fraction
of programmes and projects is funded through NAP. Further, the interdepartmental
character of a programme or project is not one of the selection critera. In fact, the various
ministries have some sort of drawing rights regarding the NAP budget. They are
relatively free to put forward proposals and are not very critical of other ministries
proposals. Thus, departmentalisation continues even in an interdepartmental programme.
Therefore NAP can be perceived, more cynically, as a fall-back option if policy makers
or politicians fail to fund initiatives completely through regular departmental budgets.
Finally, interdepartmental co-ordination through NAP is sometimes overruled by a higher
level, i.e. CWTI (see above).

The Dutch Digital Delta (DDD)


The 1999 White Paper on the Digital Delta was an attempt, in response to parliaments request for an overview of information society/ICT policy, to provide a
comprehensive and structured overview of the topic (i.e. the static element) and to define
new strategic goals (i.e. the dynamic element). Whereas NAP is fairly limited in scale and
scope, DDD is much broader (like the development of information society/ICT policy).
NAP and DDD differed also on a number of other points, e.g. no separate budget was
attached to DDD and it had no separate (interdepartmental) steering group. Further, DDD
was clearly (as was NAP) triggered by EU policies, but it contained an important element
of benchmarking as well. In 2000 and in 2002, international benchmark studies were
performed on all five pillars and summarised in a central policy benchmarking document.15
It is difficult to assess how important and effective the DDD exercise has been.
According to some interviewees DDD was a broad, integrated policy plan which was
much needed at the time. It provided more steering than NAP. For the first time it became
apparent how substantial information society/ICT policies had become. It further
through its overview character helped to point at gaps and overlaps and possibilities for
merging programmes.
However, more sceptical opinions were voiced as well. In a way, the DDD can be
perceived as a reallocation exercise, as no specific budget was available, or, more
cynically, as a ribbon wrapped around a collection of activities already under way.
Further, the five pillars mostly reflect the departmentalisation of information society/ICT
policies rather than their integration as most can be linked to an individual ministry. So
the vision presented in the White Paper is still dependent on the willingness of individual
ministries, but there is no money to enforce co-operation and co-ordination. Coordination is still mostly left to the political will and readiness of policy makers to initiate
joint programmes and projects.

Use of external commissions to co-ordinate and steer


A typical Dutch custom in innovation governance is the use of external advisory
commissions.16 In fact the use of a group of outsiders can be seen both as a willingness
to bring in fresh ideas or as compensation for weak internal governance mechanisms. In
practice the effect may differ considerably, as the advice can be used to push specific
solutions or, if the advice is found not useful, it can be disregarded. External advisory
committees are used in the field of Dutch information society/ICT policy making as well.
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Over the years various ad hoc advisory commissions headed by mostly reputable persons
have studied and advised on various ICT-related topics.
These commissions may help in the process of agenda setting and policy formulation.
As they are official commissions, the government is obliged to react officially on the
advice they provide. This may lead to a parliamentary debate on the results. However,
such commissions may also delay decision making, can result in advice that sets no
obligations on government and can on some occasions be a way to shift to another body
the task of formulating policy options or to get rid of ideas that appear threatening.
A new development in innovation governance gives external advisors more
permanent tasks or some discretionary power to actually do something. The establishment
of the innovation platform chaired by the prime minister is an example. In addition to the
prime minister and the ministers of OCW and EZ, 15 representatives of the knowledge
infrastructure and industry provide advice on all knowledge economy topics. To some
degree, the agenda of these high-level platforms steers the political and policy process.
While the government has no obligation other than to take the advice seriously, the
advisors are gradually almost getting discretionary power.
This development can be seen in information society/ICT policy as well. The recently
announced establishment of a public-private broadband expertise centre is one example.
The announcement in the recent government-wide ICT agenda (2004) that not only will
the ICT forum advise on the organisation of ICT research, but will also partly steer it is
very interesting. For this purpose, the ICT forum is reshaped into an ICT co-ordination
platform (regieorgaan ICT) that is still composed mostly of independent outsiders but
will decide on the organisation of ICT research in the Netherlands.
The transformation of the ICT forum into regieorgaan ICT was announced in 2004,
and reference was made to experience gained in the Action Programme Genomics in
which this new governance model was introduced for the first time (Boekholt and
Mckibbin, 2004). The regieorgaan ICT was established jointly by the Ministry of EZ and
the Ministry of OCW. There is no overall regieorgaan for the whole information
society/ICT domain; the regieorgaan ICT is restricted to ICT research. It will have
formal responsibility for co-ordinating ICT research (e.g. by establishing programmes),
which should increase the efficacy and efficiency of ICT research.17 This will most likely
involve a streamlining of existing instruments used to finance ICT research. Another
possibility is the creation of (virtual) network institutes with built-in incentives to prevent
overlap and achieve the necessary co-operation. It is not likely that the regieorgaan ICT
will distribute funding on the basis of the criteria it formulates. It is more likely to bring
together actors to define a joint long-term work plan and make the coalition responsible
for the funds and execution of their plan.
The regieorgaan ICT cannot be compared with the NAP steering group as it operates
at some distance from the ministries, includes members from industry and academia, and
has a specific focus (ICT research). As in the case of the innovation platform, it means
greater involvement of industry and academia in policy formulation and funding. How
this will take shape and to what degree insiders who are neither politicians nor policy
makers will be allowed to decide and take responsibility for spending public funds
remains to be seen.

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Some observations regarding the use of benchmarking, experiments and evaluation
There is a general society-wide trend towards evaluation and accountability, not least
in industry where recent administrative scandals have further strengthened the trend
towards corporate governance. In the public domain a similar trend towards new forms of
management (new public management) and related forms of accountability have surfaced.
Politicians and policy makers have greater interest in benchmarking, policy experiments,
monitoring and evaluation. In an EU setting an open method of co-ordination is in
vogue, and the combination of ambitious goals and benchmarking should gradually lead
to more coherence and mutual policy learning. In the Netherlands, the elements of new
public management have been introduced as well. An operation named VBTB led to the
formulation of clearly stated policy goals and the formulation of quantifiable indicators, a
trend that is visible in science and innovation policies as well. In innovation policy the
evaluation function was restructured and there is a trend towards mid-term and ex ante
evaluation as well as more quantitative evaluation.18 In science policy government tries to
steer in a less detailed manner.
As noted in the latest international ICT benchmark (2002), the use of monitoring and
benchmarking in ICT has increased. At the European level, eEurope, Eurostat, EITO and
many individual studies undertake much comparative analysis. At the global level, such
studies are provided by the OECD, universities, market research and consultancy firms.
In the Netherlands there is a separate ICT in education monitor (progress report twice a
year) and the Social and Cultural Planning Office presents international comparative
research on the role of ICT in society. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has, as part of
the Dutch Digital Delta initiative, invested in international benchmarking studies and
funds benchmarking publications like Networks in Figures (2004) (mostly for telecoms)
and The Digital Economy (2001), published by Statistics Netherlands.19 The most recent
ICT White Paper stresses the importance of measuring performance in ICT and verifying
improved performance (2004, p. 2).
Monitoring and benchmarking have developed quickly. However, these documents
are at the same time seen as policy-poor, as benchmarking and monitoring are poorly
linked to policy and the results of policy making, i.e. monitoring and benchmarking are
not coupled with policy evaluation.20 Benchmarking and monitoring are mostly used not
for evaluation purposes or to analyse the impact of information society/ICT policies
which would require more advanced evaluation but to analyse the position vis--vis
competing countries and to motivate adaptations to or intensify policy efforts that are
presented in separate policy documents. Processes of policy design, monitoring and
benchmarking and, where available, policy evaluation are taking place separately. MolasGallert et al. remark that: In the Netherlands general monitoring revolves around a
structured international benchmarking exercise. The degree to which measurable
benchmark indicators that could be attributed to specific policy initiatives is far from
clear and has not been formally explored. Yet, a good benchmark performance is still
taken as an indicator of robust and adequate policy outcomes. (Evaluation must often deal
with difficult problems like the attribution of impacts to a specific initiative, the ways to
identify the additionality of a policy [i.e. identify the effects that would not have taken
place in the absence of a policy), and the timing of the evaluation. There are different
methods and techniques to deal with these issues). (2003, p. 27)

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Learning not only occurs through monitoring, benchmarking and policy evaluation,
but may also be the result of experiments. For the information society and ICT, the
importance of (learning from) experiments has been stressed. However, there is no
culture of systematically evaluating experiments and evaluating them in real time so as to
make changes when needed. If experiments are used, it must be possible for them to
succeed. Otherwise, positive aspects are stressed more than the points for which learning
is possible. Further, there is not yet a culture of real-time evaluation and swift adaptation
that would speed up learning processes. It was pointed out in several interviews that
experiments are not always treated as continuous and interactive learning trajectories. If
problems arise during the experiments, adaptations are only made after the formal
evaluation or mid-term review. Finally, if an experiment or a new approach is successful,
it may be copied quite easily, without always questioning whether it is the best solution or
effective in terms of investing in learning.21
More general integrated or meta-evaluation of Dutch information society/ICT policy
is lacking, for example at the level of NAP or DDD. Evaluations take place at the level of
individual measures and programmes and most ministries have their own approaches to
evaluation. This implies that policy learning also mostly takes place at this level. In
general much more energy is invested in agenda setting, consultation and policy
formulation than in evaluation. Molas-Gallart et al. (2003) mention that neither the
Netherlands nor the UK has been found to follow a systematic approach to ICT policy
evaluation. In both countries there was an element of centrally co-ordinated monitoring,
and, in addition ministries and agencies carried out their own evaluations, mostly on an
ad hoc basis. More often evaluation and policy assessment will be conducted on an ad
hoc, as needed basis. In the Netherlands a strong emphasis on policy analysis can be
seen as part of the consensus-driven approach to policy formation. The Dutch study has
shown that exhaustive policy consultation results in comprehensive documentation on
policy definition. These documents will often include different forms of policy
evaluation, whether implicitly or explicitly (2003, pp. 27, 28).
When evaluations are performed, cost-benefit analyses or quantitative indicators
dominate, and wider societal effects or process-like evaluations receive relatively less
attention.22 It was remarked for example that individual policy programmes were
evaluated, but not the whole policy process (and hence possibilities for policy learning
were missed). It is mostly when a small project group of officials starts working on a new
White Paper that reflection on current policies and the policy package as a whole takes
place.
There is still quite some ground to cover in terms of policy evaluation in information
society/ICT policy. The possibilities for policy learning are not fully utilised. Of course
the various stages at which information society/ICT policy was broadened can be
perceived as the result of subsequent (mostly implicit) processes of policy learning, but
these changes are to an important degree also defined by political developments, not least
the EU information society/ICT policies that increasingly set the scene.

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Concluding remarks
This section links the various aspects of governance in Dutch ICT/information society
policy examined above to the wider innovation governance discussion through some
general concluding remarks. These focus on the need to link various policy levels more
explicitly in terms of temporal coherence, vertical coherence, horizontal coherence, the
issue of policy laboratories and policy learning between policy fields, and the new role
of outsiders in policy formulation and policy implementation.

Linking the various policy levels


A first, rather obvious but still important, observation concerns the fact that Dutch
information society/ICT policies as well as many other policy domains are increasingly
affected (rather than defined) by European information society/ICT policies. The 1994
Bangemann Report and more recently the eEurope action plans have contributed to the
Europeanisation of Dutch information society/ICT policies. Gradually an information
society/ICT policy is emerging that is more and more comparable in terms of its scopeto
those in other countries. At the same time regional and local ICT policies (e.g. for
broadband) have emerged. Having said this, important parts of more sectoral or ministryspecific information society/ICT policies seem to develop more or less autonomously. In
innovation policies, there is a similar development which draws attention to the need to
make sure policies at the various levels are co-ordinated and coherent.

Temporal coherence
One may argue that policy coherence is one of the results of governance. Temporal
coherence is concerned with co-ordination over time. In Dutch information society/ICT
policy, although there may be quite some policy turbulence over time, budgets and
programmes are generally fixed and responsibilities are respected, so that policy changes
are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.23 If a new overall strategy or action plan is
presented, the budget mostly is a repackaging of existing budgets (which are now
allocated differently or more specifically) plus some new money. This seems to be in
line with the garbage can model elaborated by Kingdon (see above). There are few
moments in the lifetime of a policy dossier at which radical changes can be made. It is the
exception rather than the rule that problems (or the public agenda), politics (political
agenda) and policy (policy agenda) are aligned and offer a window of opportunity to
radically redefine the agenda. This observation seems to hold for Dutch innovation policy
as well. In general, one can dispute how much adaptation and change is beneficial.
Sometimes long-term stability, predictability, simplicity (and less so adaptation) may be
preferable to short-term adaptability, constant changes and new forms of governance and
instrumentation.

Vertical coherence
Vertical coherence is about co-ordination of policy formulation and policy
implementation. In the Netherlands, policy-making processes are extremely important but
relatively slow. Strategy formulation (and consensus seeking) involves a lengthy process
of consultation and discussion in which many actors participate (without ensuring a truly
integrated approach). Co-ordination and co-operation are mostly considered when it is
more or less compulsory because other ministries have clear responsibility in a particular
area. It is less perceived as a way of organising matters more conveniently or as a way to
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speed up policy implementation. At the same time, the practical day-to-day knowledge
derived from implementing all sorts of policy schemes is not always used optimally
because of the gap between policy design or developing policy strategies and policy
implementation. Increasing the quality of innovation governance in the Dutch situation
may require the introduction of lighter (hence faster) ways of strategy building that
leave more leeway for sectoral ICT strategies combined with empowered sectoral ICT
(implementing) organisations.
Even more fundamentally, one might wonder if some topics are simply too big and
too complex to formulate an integrated, coherent policy strategy. This consumes a lot of
energy and time, while not necessarily guaranteeing a superior approach. If
departmentalisation is endemic, it might be more productive to accept the fact that an
integrated information society/ICT strategy does not exist and to invest in more
decentralised experiments and hence start processes of policy learning as quickly as
possible. Put differently, some topics may be too important to many policy actors and the
co-ordination costs may outweigh the cost of choosing other strategies. In such cases the
momentum for heavier forms of (vertical) co-ordination is already lost.

Horizontal coherence
Horizontal coherence is about the co-ordination of various policy strands. In
innovation policy this is traditionally about the co-ordination of science, technology and
industry policies. But for third-generation innovation policies it is increasingly about coordinating mainstream STI policies with sectoral policies. Ultimately, horizontal
innovation policies mean that policy initiatives and instruments deriving from various
domains (in practice from ministries) are co-ordinated, strengthen each other and address
wider societal issues through well-co-ordinated policies deriving from various policy
domains. The need is evident in information society/ICT policies as well as in innovation
policy.
A (horizontally) coherent policy requires a basic understanding of who does what
(transparency) and a clear distribution of responsibilities. Over the years transparency in
Dutch information society/ICT policy has increased, mainly owing to the mapping and
streamlining of activities since the late 1990s. As observed above, responsibilities are
spread over many actors and possibilities for enforcing policy are limited, and this
negatively affects policy coherence. Ministries optimise information society/ICT policies
mainly at the level of individual ministries, as cross-departmental initiatives are laborious
and require the sort of exchanges that most policy makers are not used to (or willing to
enter into). Interdepartmental co-ordination takes place when a new overall information
society/ICT White Paper is being formulated, an important window of opportunity for
change. An important part of the wheeling and dealing takes place between policy makers
in the various ministries that compose and write the White Papers. The ministries mostly
bring their own interests, and interdepartmental co-ordination takes place when issues
obviously exceed the responsibility of one ministry (and co-ordination is almost
compulsory). In practice there is only a small layer of interdepartmental information
society/ICT policy on top of a broad base of mainly departmentalised information
society/ICT policies. At the same time, the information society/ICT policy agenda has
broadened from a science-technology agenda to an agenda that addresses societal and
governmental transformation, and horizontalisation of content is accomplished almost
along the way. However, horizontalisation in organisational terms is much slower. In the
processes of agenda setting, policy formulation and evaluation, individual ministries
rather than integrated programmes dominate.
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To achieve the needed horizontal coherence requires putting a premium on
interdepartmental projects where these are needed most. Old-style hierarchies are not
designed for horizontal communication and more mechanisms are needed to deal with
these, not through interdepartmental programmes with departmental drawing rights, but
through interdepartmental budgets that can enforce breakthroughs on key dossiers. This
might even take the form of interdepartmental project teams and dedicated project
directors with power to act. What is important is that interdepartmental vehicles have
enough responsibility or room to manoeuvre to function and execute their tasks well.
Another option might be to designate ICT project ministers or state secretaries for
example for ICT in health or e-government. In Dutch information society/ICT policies,
the need for institutional adaptation and redesign has been noted. In the 2004 ICT White
Paper the need for institutional reforms and redesign of working procedures was noted
as a prerequisite for better use of ICT. Although the regieorgaan ICT is a good example
of renewal in innovation governance, other new forms of governance are needed.
More generally, the goal of increasing the quality of innovation governance requires
new forms of horizontal and mostly interdepartmental co-ordination. In this context, the
government policy to rotate top officials over the ministries (on average a new position
every five years) might have been one of the best decisions to facilitate future
interdepartmental governance.

Role of policy laboratories and policy learning


Innovation governance may also benefit from information society/ICT policies
through the latters policy laboratory. What will happen in innovation policies in
general if the trend towards broadening and horizontalised innovation policies
proceeds can already be observed in the information society/ICT policy domain. In that
respect ICT policy is, like environmental policy, a forerunner of types of policy issues
that will increasingly require interdepartmental approaches or at least other types of
governance.
Unfortunately, policy learning in Dutch information society/ICT policy is not yet
optimal. Although the use of monitoring, benchmarking and evaluation are on the
increase, policy learning is still mainly piecemeal. There is not yet a culture of real-time
evaluation and swift adaptation of experiments to speed up learning processes. Thus far,
integrated or meta-evaluations of Dutch information society/ICT policies are lacking.
Evaluation take place at the level of individual measures and programmes and most
ministries have their own approaches to dealing with evaluation. This implies that policy
learning also mostly takes place at this level.
Policy learning might also mean that approaches and governance mechanisms that
work in one area can be transferred with due care and in an intelligent way to another.
This seems the case with regard to regieorgaan ICT. It is therefore important to invest
sufficiently in processes of policy learning.

Role of outsiders in innovation governance


Finally there is a need in innovation governance to discuss the use and role of
outsiders in policy advice and policy implementation. Certainly in the Dutch case,
external actors (i.e. not policy makers) increasingly play a role in policy processes,
e.g. through the frequent use of ad hoc advisory commissions and external actors (who
are quite often insiders) who are increasingly a part of the policy implementation as
well. The transformation of the ICT forum into regieorgaan ICT jointly established by
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the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences
to steer and streamline research in ICT is a remarkable innovation in governance of ICT.
It will be interesting to see how this new form of governance takes shape and to what
degree insiders who are neither politicians nor policy makers will be allowed to decide
and take responsibility for spending public money. In mainstream innovation policy the
creation of the innovation platform is another example of the new way of involving
ousiders in the policy process. Are these signs that traditional forms of policy coordination have failed and that coherent policy strategies or new forms of governance
need to be welcomed?

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Notes
1.

This is an abridged and partly updated version of H. de Groot and P. den Hertog (2004), Innovation
Governance in the Netherlands as illustrated by Information Society/ICT Policies, case study carried out
within the framework of the Dutch OECD MONIT studies on innovation governance, Dialogic, Utrecht.

2.

This section partly draws on den Hertog et al. (2005).

3.

The phrase pervasive technology was introduced by Freeman in the early 1980s. In the economic
literature, Bresnahan and Trajtenberg (1995) further developed the notion as general purpose
technology.

4.

The Bangemann Report on the Information Superhighway in the early 1990s triggered the publication of
the Action Plan Information Superhighways in the Netherlands (and similar initiatives in other EU
countries). The more recent eEurope 2002 and eEurope 2005 action plans have certainly led to a further
Europeanisation of Dutch information society/ICT policies. R&D policies regarding ICT cannot be made
without taking into account developments such as the 7th Framework Programme, the European
Technology Platforms (ETPs) and discussions on an European Research Council. Many ICT applications
and standards require at least European scale, and EU regulation, action programmes and best practices
in fact steer national agendas.

5.

As during the Dutch EU presidency. The Ministry of Economic Affairs presented a major study by
PricewaterhouseCoopers (2004) entitled Rethinking the European ICT Agenda. Ten ICT breakthroughs
for reaching Lisbon goals. In the EU Telecom Council in December 2004 six new elements were placed
on the European ICT agenda, namely: an excellent ICT sector and innovative businesses; ICT for
Citizens and ICT skills; ICT for public services; content and development of products and services;
development of networks; and trust and security. The fight against spam was tabled.

6.

Similar conclusions are drawn in Molas-Gallart et al. (2003) who performed a highly interesting review
of ICT policy in both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom when evaluating the Swedish national ITpolicy for the Swedish Institute for Growth Policy Studies (ITPS). They observe for example that an
increasing number of countries are adopting similar national ICT policies. This trend towards ICT policy
convergence has been given impetus by the promotion of free trade and competition in global ICT
markets. However, there are a number of countervailing pressures working against convergence, which
may lead countries to follow their own distinctive national ICT policy paths. National policies are
constrained or facilitated by a range of national conditions, such as social and legal norms, the size of the
ICT sector and the pool of ICT knowledge. (p. 22)

7.

These are (tele)communications infrastructure; know-how and innovation; access and skills; regulatory
issues; and ICT in the public sector.

8.

In CWTI and hence in RWTI the separate policy areas of science policy, technology policy and
information policy were merged.

9.

Philips is represented through its CEO, Mr. Kleisterlee.

10.

Kingdons model is actually a revised version of the Garbage Can Model originally developed by Cohen
et al. (1972).

11.

This section partly draws on Molas-Gallart et al. (2003).

12.

Molas-Gallart et al. (2003, p. 155) mention for example that: attempts have been made to organise the
public procurement is such a way that its procedures could be monitored from a central direction unit.

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Until now, their efforts have been blocked by the individual claims from several ministries about
independent policy making in this area. Among the various ministries involved in ICT matters, there is
no central co-ordinator of standardisation policies and practices in the public sector. In theory, the
Ministry of Interior is responsible, but in practice it has been so far unable to execute leadership in the
adoption of XML and open source software.
13.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Ministry of
Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management
started this initiative (1994). In 1996 the Ministry of Justice and in 1997 the Ministry of Social Affairs
and Employment were also active in this interdepartmental programme.

14.

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and possibly the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Housing, and
the Environment will take part in NAP in addition to the ministries mentioned earlier.

15.

Some meso-tests were part of these benchmarking exercises in which a number of industries or societal
themes were internationally benchmarked. In fact these studies can be seen as forerunners of a further
broadening of information society/ICT policy towards more government-wide information society/ICT
policy.

16.

See the innovation governance study on the TNO (den Hertog, 2004).

17.

Substantial ICES/KIS or BSIK funding has been allocated and although it would have been logical to
have the various information society/ICT-related projects co-ordinated by the regieorgaan ICT this has
not been done.

18.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs performed the MAIT study (Monitoring and Assessing the Impact of
the Economic Affairs Technology Instruments) in which the benefits of individual technology schemes
were assessed.

19.

Not surprisingly, one of the action points in the most recent information society/ICT White Paper is to
structure the various quantitative publications on networks and communication sectors and to aim at a
more unambiguous benchmarking of the Dutch ICT position and what this implies for the economy and
society (2004, p. 42).

20.

There is of course a real measurement problem regarding information society/ICT as no proper set of
statistical indicators is available. Those that are available have a considerable time lag, making them less
useful in a rapidly evolving area.

21.

It is not always questioned whether a similar set-up or tool would succeed in a different environment.
This may be phrased as the danger of a tool-push approach, which is as real in ICT as in innovation
policy.

22.

Molas-Gallart et al. observe that in both countries [the United Kingdom and the Netherlands] policy
evaluation remains a challenge. There is no broadly accepted methodology, and the focus on the
collection of measurable indicators appears to be made at the expense of tackling the thornier issues of
impact assessment, like the attribution of observed changes to specific policy actions, and the
identification of the additional effect of such actions (2003, p. 29).

23.

This may also lead to a broad array of policy goals and instruments if the dead wood in the policy
portfolio is not cut. A recently published position paper related to the next ICT government-wide White
Paper (in 2005) includes a reflection on governance and temporal coherence in the ICT innovation
system. One suggestion for improving governance in ICT was to critically review policy initiatives (and
associated organisations) in existence for more than three years. The idea was that policy interventions
should in principal be temporary and policy efforts should concentrate on the issues that are perceived as
most urgent by (potential) ICT users. It was argued that the usefulness and necessity of standing ICT
policies should be reviewed systematically (den Hertog et al., 2005, pp. 34-35).

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142 HORIZONTAL CO-ORDINATION OF INNOVATION POLICIES: INFORMATION SOCIETY POLICIES IN THE NETHERLANDS

References
Advisory Commission, Belgendoenhetbeter.nl (2003), Een kwestie van uitvoering.
Vernieuwingsagenda voor de presterende overheid, The Hague.
Advisory Commission on Citizens and Government in the Information Society (2001),
Citizens and Government in the Information Society: The Need for Institutional
Innovation, The Hague.
Boekholt, P. and S. McKibbin (2004), The Netherlands Genomics Initiative, mini-case
study as part of the Dutch contribution to the OECD MONIT study, Technopolis,
Amsterdam.
Bresnahan, T.F. and M. Trajtenberg (1995), General Purpose Technologies: Engines of
Growth?, Journal of Econometrics (65), 1, 83-108.
Broadband Expert Group (2002), Nederland Breedbandland. Aanbevelingen aan het
Kabinet van de nationale breedband expert groep, Broadband Expert Group, The
Hague.
Brynjolfsson, E. and L. Hitt (2000), Beyond Computation: Information Technology,
Organizational Transformation and Business Performance, Journal of Economic
Perspectives, vol 14, no. 4, p. 23-48.
Cohen, M., J. March and J. Olsen (1972), A Garbage Can Model of Organizational
Choice, Administrative Science Quarterly 17, 1-25.
EITO (2003), European Information Technology Observatory 2003, EITO, Frankfurt.
van de Graaf, H. and R. Hoppe (1996), Beleid en politiek. Een inleiding tot de
beleidswetenschap en de beleidskunde, Coutinho, Bussum, derde druk.
de Groot, H. and P. den Hertog (2004), Innovation Governance in the Netherlands as
illustrated by Information Society/ICT-policies, case study within the framework of
the Dutch OECD MONIT studies on innovation governance, Dialogic, Utrecht.
den Hertog, P. (2004), Innovation Governance and TNO, case study within the
framework of the Dutch OECD MONIT studies on innovation governance, Dialogic,
Utrecht.
den Hertog, P., C. Holland and S. Maltha (2005), Naar een vernieuwde, probleemgerichte
en vraaggestuurde ICT-agenda, Dialogic, Utrecht.
den Hertog, P. and G. Fahrenkrog (1993), IT Adoption: Can Policy Help? Experiences
and Trends in Five EC Member States, discussion paper, TNO-STB, Apeldoorn.
ICT Forum (2003), Innovation through ICT, ICT Forum, The Hague.
Kingdon, J.W. (1995), Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies, 2nd edition, Longman.
Molas-Gallart, J., P. Tang, S. Flowers, W. Hulsink, A. Davies, W. Gooijer and J. Spaapen
(2003), A Review of the ICT Policy in the Netherlands and the UK. A Study for the
Evaluation of the Swedish National IT Policy, ITPS, Swedish Institute for Growth
Policy Studies, stersund.

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Ministry of Economic Affairs (1993), IT Policies in the Nineties, The Hague.


Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Transport, Public
Works and Water Management (1994), Action Programme: Information
Superhighway, From Metaphor to Action, The Hague.
Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Transport, Public
works and Water Management (1998), Beyond the National Action Plan: A
Recalibration of the Existing Programme, The Hague.
Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the
Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of
Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the Ministry of Social Affairs and
Employment (1999), The Dutch Digital Delta. The Netherlands On Line,
The Hague.
Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Ministry
of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the
Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management (2000), The Dutch
Digital Delta: Beyond e-Europe, The Hague.
Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Ministry
of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the
Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management (2000), International
ICT Benchmark 2000, The Hague.
Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Ministry
of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the
Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management (2002), International
ICT Benchmark 2002, The Hague.
Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Ministry
of Education, Culture and Sciences (2004), A government-wide ICT Agenda: Better
Performance with ICT, The Hague.
Ministry of Economic Affairs (2004), Networks in Figures, The Hague.
Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (2003), Modernising Government
(Andere overheid), The Hague.
Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Ministry of Economic Affairs (2004),
Towards an Electronic Government, The Hague.
Statistics Netherlands (2003), Digital Economy, Voorburg/Heerlen.
OECD (2003), ICT and Economic Growth: Evidence form OECD Countries, Industries
and Firms, OECD, Paris.
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PWC (2004), Rethinking the European ICT Agenda: Ten ICT Breaktroughs for
Reaching Lisbon Goals, Ministry of Economic Affairs, The Hague.

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143

INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE IN GREECE

Chapter 6
INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE IN GREECE:
ONE SWALLOW DOES NOT MAKE A SUMMER
Lena Tsipouri
Associate Professor, University of Athens, Centre of Financial Studies
Mona Papadakou
Research Fellow, University of Athens, Centre of Financial Studies

In Greece, information society policy started in the 1970s. The first two decades focused
on the development of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructures
and preparation for the liberalisation of the telecommunications market. Only in the mid1990s did the information society concept enter the policy agenda and in the early 2000s
the first integrated strategy was implemented in the form of an Operational Programme
(OPIS) co-financed by the EU. A wide gap with other OECD countries made intervention
an urgent matter, with a target not directly related to innovation policy. The two policies
are not linked in any phases of the policy cycle and the policy making responsibility
belongs to different ministries. Moreover, the Greek governance system does not provide
for horizontal co-ordination of policies, except in the case of formal co-ordination for the
allocation of funds in order to avoid overlaps.
For the information society it is necessary to involve all government agencies and society
as a whole, and the Greek public governance system was quite unprepared for such a
demanding task. New governance structures had to be invented to overcome the lack of
horizontal co-ordination mechanisms and modern governance tools. Information society
governance in Greece is thus a special case for indicating how good governance practices
can be introduced in a public sector dominated by inflexible hierarchies. The information
society experiment, if successful, could trigger changes throughout the public governance
system. Yet the results of this effort are still unclear. Delays in promoting actions and in
absorption of the dedicated budget show that, besides strong political will and the introduction of innovative governance tools, the system cannot move faster than its internal
potential will allow.

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Introduction
Greece is one of the European cohesion countries1; it ranks low in terms of
competitiveness and suffers from incomplete development of infrastructure. The latter
issue has been systematically addressed by the regional development aid provided by the
European Community Support Frameworks (CSFs). The first (1988-93) and second
(1994-99) CSFs were mainly designed to build up physical infrastructure and the few
isolated efforts to address intangibles had limited success. As a consequence, Greece was
ill-prepared to face the challenges of information and communication technologies (ICT).
At the same time, governance in Greece was only gradually adapting to modern
principles. Hierarchies play a crucial role. Interaction and co-ordination among government departments remain limited, fragmented and often imposed by obligations external
to the system. Stakeholder participation was introduced but has made no significant
difference and remains largely formal in nature. Industry and professional associations
are little involved in the development dialogue.
Thus, when funding increased considerably during the third CSF (2000-06) and the
European Union tried to encourage all recipients to focus on the prioritisation of
intangibles, a new mechanism was needed. In the past, no radical changes had been made
to accompany the substantially increased funding. The central agency scheme with no
powerful co-ordination was never particularly effective, yet it was never changed and
replaced by horizontal or higher-level thematic co-ordination.
Information society policy was thus independent and never directly linked with the
innovation policy. In the effort to catch up and achieve good co-ordination it was
positioned under the most powerful ministry and followed its own pace in of the main
phases of the policy cycle (agenda setting, policy formulation and policy evaluation and
learning). Initially the focus was on the development of infrastructure and then, during the
last five years, infrastructure, applications and content were developed simultaneously.
The nature of the information society and the need to involve all government agencies
and society as a whole thus called for a new governance structure that would be both
effective and embedded in the general governance system. This chapter presents a
description, analysis and appraisal of the effort to create such a structure.
The next section presents an overview and describes the formal organisation of the
information society and policy design. It indicates that Greece may be considered a
market with serious lags but benefiting from latecomer advantages (i.e. accessing a
mature market that presents few risks relating to standards or high degree of uncertainty).
In that sense, the timing for accelerating the information society is very appropriate.
There is overall rapid growth in many ICT indicators, and the challenge is to identify to
what extent this is sustainable and sufficient for catching up.
The chapter next deals with the agenda-setting processes that emerged to meet the
needs of the Operational Programme for the Information Society (OPIS) in the context of
the third CSF. Following a brief description, the effectiveness of the design and
implementation of the policy are examined.
There follows an in-depth analysis of policy formulation and co-ordination of investment in the information society during the last five years. The chapter concludes with
comments on the connection between information society and innovation policy and the
lessons to be learned from information society governance in Greece.
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Historical setting and formal organisation


Development of ICT policies
ICT development in Greece started in the 1970s with the acquisition of big computer
systems by large public and private companies. The first policy intervention aimed at
faster diffusion of hardware and applications took place in 1984 with IMP-Informatics.
The IMPs (Integrated Mediterranean Programmes) were the predecessors of the CSFs and
the first form of integrated transnational regional development planning in Europe: in
view of the accession of Spain and Portugal, Mediterranean countries were given
structural funding for 1984-88 to face the emerging competition. Each member state
organised this support in the way considered most appropriate for its needs. The Greek
government of the time decided to promote IMP-Informatics, an integrated programme to
enhance diffusion and application of computing.
IMP-Informatics was initially designed to cover the needs of the public sector only.
Design, monitoring and management were shared by the European Commission,2 the
powerful Ministry of National Economy and a consultant. This closed-door set-up,
combined with a lack of experience in development planning, meant that any type of
consultation and co-ordination could only be ad hoc and limited. As a consequence, there
was no awareness raising and this led to under-subscription of the programme and
insufficient absorption of the European funding. A decision was therefore taken to expand
the programme to allow private sector investments. This improved absorption performance although not greatly.
The experience was useful for the first CSF, which provided for funding of projects
left over from IMP-Informatics. Again design and management were centralised. An
encompassing operational programme called Kleisthenis was adopted, offering opportunities for purchase of equipment and training by all public and semi-public authorities,
but it had the lowest absorption and efficiency of the whole first CSF. Organisational
matters and inefficiency of the public service were considered the key causes. Beyond the
improvement of the telecommunications infrastructure, the first CSF viewed the information society simply as a means to improve the computerisation and automation of public
services. Hardware, which was sometimes under-utilised, and some isolated success
stories were the only tangible results of this period. Overall, compared to the rest of
Europe, Greece lagged further behind in the information society. By 1992 preparations
for the next CSF started taking into consideration Kleisthenis problems and failures.
In 1995 the first strategic document on the information society was presented, with
the title Greek Strategy on Information Society: Instrument for the Promotion of
Employment, Development and Quality of Life. The document set four major milestones
or objectives, taking into account that Greek society and markets lagged in the areas of
ICT infrastructure, applications and use. These objectives were:

Reducing the gap between Greece and EU partners in the use of advanced
information technology infrastructure within the next ten years.

Access to information technology infrastructures for the majority of Greek


enterprises within the next 15 years.

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148 INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE IN GREECE

Access to information technology infrastructures for the majority of Greek


households within the next 15 years.

Promotion of electronic transactions with the public sector so that the majority of
services could be ensured remotely within the next 15 years.

To achieve these goals, the document suggested a series of actions such as development of core national infrastructure, establishment of information cells that offer citizens easy access to information, creation of an independent information society authority
to supervise and guarantee constitutional rights in the information era, the creation of a
permanent Information Society Committee in the Greek Parliament, the creation of
information networks for enterprises, opening of the public sector to electronic communication with citizens, and pilot applications with a social welfare orientation. The document offered the basic guidelines for the national information society strategy as a
response to the Bangeman Report and international developments in ICT. Many of these
actions are more or less completed, while others are being implemented or reviewed on
the basis of current needs and developments.
The document influenced the introduction of information society actions in the
second CFS for enhancing ICT infrastructure that would at a later stage support applications. The design was included in the sectoral operational programmes and was viewed
as a means to improve ministerial performance rather than as an overall policy. In that
sense the strategic document did not meet its target. Three relevant operational programmes explicitly adopted information society improvement actions as indicated in
Table 6.1.
Table 6.1. Selected information society actions in the second CSF
Operational
programme

Ministry

Selected project

Sectoral budget
(EUR millions)

Telecommunications

Transport and
Communications

Infrastructure development for global services provision


Development of advanced services

378.6

Industry

Development

Electronic commerce centres


E-commerce standards development
Sectoral EDI
Clearing house
Investment support to ICT enterprises

346.3

Modernisation of
public service

Public
Administration

Kleisthenis
(Modernisation of public administration: integrated
information systems and training)

261.2

Research and
technology

National Defence

High accuracy models weather forecasting


technologies

146.7

Source: Working Group on the Information Society (1999).

Co-ordination was neither desired nor imposed, and the result was duplication, overlapping and gaps. Yet, despite the failure of co-ordinated implementation in the 1994-99
programming period, telecommunications infrastructure improved considerably and
reached satisfactory levels for the first time, while mobile telephony grew rapidly. Under
the second CSF, the most important programmes again mainly addressed hardware and
software in telecommunications and government: Communication Post, which included
telecommunications infrastructure, and Modernisation of the Public Service, a series of
information society applications for all ministries and public or publicly supervised
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INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE IN GREECE

agencies. The former had higher absorption and was considered more successful overall
than the latter. In addition, most sectoral programmes included elements of information
society applications in: transport infrastructure (automation); human resources (computers in schools and universities); manufacturing services (EDS, support of professional
organisations); energy-natural gas (automation); health (infrastructure in hospitals and
telemedicine); and R&D (grants for research and promotion of the academic data
transmission network).
In spite of the absence of co-ordination, some ministries undertook ambitious
projects, while others stuck to the purchasing of hardware. Results were mixed. The most
successful broad application under the second CSF was TAXISnet, which offered the
possibility of electronic submission and clearance, first of access to certification, then
VAT and finally tax revenue declarations (see Box 6.1). The service was reviewed and
accepted as a European best practice model in 60 out of 282 proposals submitted in the
framework of the monitoring of the eEurope actions.
Limited absorption, Greeces continuing last-place ranking in all information society
indicators and increasingly perceived needs, combined with an active commitment at the
prime ministers level to reverse the situation urged a reorganisation of the planning and
implementation processes in view of the third CSF.
Box 6.1. TAXISnet
The TAXISnet electronic services offered by the General Secretariat for Information Systems
were launched in May 2000 and aim at raising the quality of dealings between taxpayers and
the tax authorities. The purpose in developing them was to create suitable infrastructure and
gradually introduce new electronic services for taxpayers. Today, the complete Taxation
Information System (TAXIS) covers all taxpayers and all financial transactions, and was
honoured by the European Union with the best practice award at the e-government
conference held in Brussels in November 2001 under the title From Policy to Practice. In
March 2004 the service was presented to the general public enriched with further functions
relating to filling in and printing the basic income tax declaration form.
The response of the market to the new services was unexpectedly good. To date more than one
million users have registered to use online services offered by the system, and the Web site is
continuously expanding in order to meet increased needs for presentation and operability of the
new applications.

Overview of the current information society governance system


The relatively limited success of the previous programming periods in terms of
applications led the Greek government to decide to bring together all the elements of
previous national programmes that either needed or envisaged enhancement of the
information society, into one new sectoral programme called the Operational Programme
for the Information Society. This programme includes practically all the information
society elements of the previous programmes along with new ones and tries to coordinate them within the e-Europe framework.3 The idea is that as the information society
becomes a key priority for the competitiveness of the Greek economy and its social
cohesion, it should have a vision and a common tool for co-ordinating, monitoring and
supporting individual activities with synergetic effects.

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In this context a broad and financially ambitious programme was conceived, new
organisations were created and old ones were put into a new perspective, emphasising
new processes and the need for co-ordination and synergies. Three organisations and a
variety of groups and committees have been set up in an effort to manage funds
effectively, initiate a broad dialogue and lay the foundations for training and awareness
raising.
The most innovative step was the creation of a Special Secretariat for the Information
Society, under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, to supervise the process. The
Secretariat has tried to introduce modern governance principles by applying an
understanding of the international challenges and lessons learned to an ambitious
philosophy for the Greek programme. New actors were needed to implement the new
philosophy. Some of them emerged from the general CSF governance system, others
were specific to the organisation of the OPIS.
The Managing Authority of the OPIS is designed to play the central role in funding,
speed, conformity to the rules and implementation. Because of the general problems of
inefficiency in the Greek administration and the performance problems in the second
CSF, the Commission and the Greek government agreed on the need for more efficient
management of EU funds. The result was the creation of a special service in each
ministry/operational programme, a managing authority, which is composed of skilled
civil servants and is responsible for the legal and financial aspects of programme
implementation. In that sense the Managing Authority of the OPIS has responsibility for
informing potential applicants about launching calls for proposals, evaluating them and
organising the financing procedure. Information, ex ante evaluation, legal provisions,
management, monitoring and control are under its responsibility.
Another organisation for the modernisation of the public service is a company,
Information Society SA (Koinonia tis Pliroforias AE), which is expected to offer support
services to the public sector. The idea for this company arose from the observation that
many delays in public-sector adoption of the information society were due to the inability
of individual units (within ministries or regional authorities) to design and implement the
changes necessary for replacing conventional with electronic governance. Administrative
capabilities are often insufficient to deal with the complex system of public tendering and
procurement, and outsourcing is not always a good solution. Thus the government
decided to create a fully subsidised non-profit company to act as an intermediary. Its
responsibility is to deal with procedures including technical specifications and tendering
(not the selection of proposals which remains a responsibility of the Ministry of the
Economy) in co-operation with the final beneficiary. The assumption in the companys
business plan is that 25-30% of all OPIS calls addressing the public sector will receive the
assistance of the company. The concept has a good rationale, but the public character and
governmental support raise some doubts concerning the potential efficiency and
effectiveness of such a company. Its quantitative targets were very ambitious:

Reduction of time to market (from the adoption of the idea until the procurement
and service received), which is now over a year. The present target is 6-8 months.
Comparisons with other member states on the speed of public procurement are
necessary to create reasonable benchmarks.

Reduction of the number of public calls for tender, which too often delay the
process and sometimes altogether cancel it or make it obsolete.

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Training of the client public services so that at the end of the period the
companys services are no longer needed and it becomes a provider of more
specialised services.

A broad number of other actors or committees were formed to assist in the implementation of the new philosophy:

The sectoral e-business forum and the health forum, which encourage debate and
information.

Working groups, like the one for disabled persons to improve access to egovernment, and a working group on broadband, to assure full exploitation of
current technical knowledge and compatibility among regional initiatives.

The IT Observatory.

A horizontal inter-regional group including representatives from all regions for


discussion and good practice transfer and 13 regional co-ordinating committees to
ensure monitoring and follow up of the adopted actions.

Markets, milestones and policies of the past


The above historic overview started with Greece lagging behind in the implementation of the information society with the gap increasing initially and decreasing
thereafter. The crucial question is the extent to which the closing of the gap in certain
indicators is attributable to policy or simply to market maturity. Figure 6.1 clarifies the
co-evolution of the information society gap between Greece and the EU, government
policy and market conditions.
Until 1984, only bigger businesses acquired computer equipment and automated their
processes. The first milestone was the opportunity offered by IMP-Informatics in 1984.
This policy was apparently not effective because, in a period of intense personal
computer (PC) acquisition, the gap between the EU and Greece increased. In the early
1990s, market opportunities in mobile telephony helped Greece rapidly close the gap in
this particular sector. Gradually improving the design of programmes in the first and
second CSFs was insufficient to meet the challenges created by the global expansion and
growth of the Internet.
The second milestone of the first strategic document did not achieve any change and
policies remained locked in the same frame. Greece remained characterised by low levels
of penetration of ICTs, low uptake in households and business, an immature ICT
industry, no critical mass of advanced users in industry and services, and an important
digital divide in terms of age and geography. The information society was still not a
central policy issue.The full reorganisation, which started in 1999, and its mode of
governance, which tried to exploit increased funding, and the concomitant experiments in
organisation are described below in an attempt to shed some light on policy effectiveness.

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152 INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE IN GREECE


Figure 6.1. Co-evolution of ICT sector and information society policy in Greece
Telecoms: public
monopoly, pure
infrastructure

IS activity

Hardware in the public


sector
PCs in the private
business

Big computers in big


public & private
organisations

1992

IS policy

Liberalisation in
progress

1998

Mobile telephony

IMP-Informatics

Rapid growth in
ICT sector

Rapid growth in mobile


(three providers)
Pure ICTs diffusion

1984

No policy

Slowdown in IT sector

Digitisation of public
telecom network

Expansion in telecom
services
Catching up in ICTs
diffusion

2001

Partial liberalisation Full liberalisation


of telephony
of telephony

Development of basic
infrastructures

Development of telecom
infrastructure

OPIS

Sectoral ICT actions

IS actions in sectoral and


regional O.P.s

1984

1989

1994

2000

IMP

1st CSF

2nd CSF

3rd CSF
1995

First document on IS
(no follow-up)

1999
First white paper on
IS
(follow-up in OPIS)

Agenda setting and prioritisation


The basic features
A major distinguishing feature of current information society policy compared both to
previous information society endeavours and to other national programmes is a very
carefully designed planning process. The strategic framework for improved coherence
started with a central information society strategy document, which was prepared after
consultation and was adopted at Cabinet level. The document covered all aspects of the
information society (funding as well as institutional/regulatory), distributed clear
responsibilities across government, and was intended to mobilise all relevant actors and
society as a whole.
All activities required by ministries and regions related to the information society had
to be planned and agreed in co-operation with the Special Secretariat. This involved
checking the current situation in detail, helping the competent national or regional agency
learn how to plan adequately, linking the plan to both the overall CSF priorities and
OPIS, and suggesting concrete actions, which were discussed both in private and in open
consultations with the relevant authorities.

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In terms of timing, it required over a year to raise awareness and explain the
principles and processes to the ministries concerned as well as to the regional authorities.
This was not a smooth process, partly because during this period many gaps were
identified in the original strategies and partly because of serious conflicts of power and
interest. Several organisations tried to ensure the necessary funds to manage
autonomously (both at the national and regional level), while others did not dispose of the
necessary planning skills. The OPIS Secretariat was very firm in its central role of coordination in order to assure quality and avoid past mistakes. Despite a limited track
record of co-ordination among Greek authorities after the first year, the co-ordination
process was smoothed out and started functioning.
At the same time, it was clear that most of the programmes lacked the necessary indepth knowledge and did not adequately reflect either their choices or their plan of
implementation. Thus a decision was taken to launch a call for business plans (which
would include a snapshot of the current situation, strategic priorities and action plans for
each sector and region). Central funds from the Secretariats Technical Assistance were
used to make up for the lack of planning skills in the public administration through the
use of external consultants. A special committee was appointed in each case to monitor
and formally approve the plan. The 31 business plans were launched in summer 2001 and
were expected to be finished by December 2001 but very few met the deadline and the
quality varied considerably.
Following approval of the business plans, their evaluation and a public consultation
process, the co-ordinated policy took final form. Budgets were earmarked and the priority
areas were broken down according to four themes rather than on the basis of ministerial
autonomy.

The broader financial provisions and priority axes


OPIS has a total budget of approximately EUR 3 billion (7% of the total development
effort) with both sectoral and regional missions. Management and implementation were
the co-responsibility of the Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Internal Affairs,
Public Administration and Decentralisation (with a special secretariat in each). OPIS is
thus a unique funding instrument for two main reasons:

First, it is co-ordinated by two ministries, namely the Ministry of Economy and


Finance and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Public Administration and
Decentralisation, and the implementation agencies are the General Secretariat of
Information Society of the former and the General Secretariat of Public
Administration of the latter.

Second, it adopts a cross-governmental and cross-regional approach that required


a significant co-ordination effort during both the design and the implementation
phases.

The systematic planning process helped the information society to absorb a higher
share of funds than initially imagined (Table 6.2).

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Table 6.2. Information society financial planning
EUR millions
Total cost

2 839.1

Public funding

2 269.6

EU funding

1 702.2

ERDF

1 266.0

ESF

436.2

National public funding

567.4

Private funding

569.5

The strategic priorities are is four areas: education and culture, citizens and quality of
life, development and employment, and communications. A fifth area is technical assistance. The thematic priorities constitute a unique organisational structure that envisaged
inter-ministerial thematic co-ordination:

Education and culture address equipment and training in the educational sector
and the enhancement of digital content in an effort to modernise the Greek
educational system, and to use new technologies for the promotion of cultural
heritage. The ministries involved are Education, Labour and Culture.

Citizens and quality of life is a critical area for the use of ICT in order to
improve public services, which are notoriously inefficient. It includes all public
service sectors, including health, transport and the environment. This priority area
is primarily a responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Public
Administration, but all levels of public service are included.

Development and employment addresses the creation of favourable conditions


for the transition to the new economy, supporting e-commerce, entrepreneurship,
R&D, training and e-learning. The Ministries of National Economy and
Development are the main responsible bodies.

Finally, communications is a topic related to market liberalisation, telecommunications infrastructure in peripheral regions and universal access for citizens. From
the administrative point of view, the Ministry of Transport and Communications
supervises the area.

Within the context of these broad areas of 21 measures one can distinguish three
types, plus three measures addressing technical assistance: two are very big and ambitious
(over EUR 350 million), ten have funding between EUR 100 million and EUR 200 million, and the remaining nine are smaller. The technical assistance measures are designed
like all corresponding measures in the CSF.

The initial utilisation of specific governance tools


In hopes of achieving radical change, OPIS agenda setting has used an extensive set
of modern tools for the first time in Greece. Unfortunately these tools were poorly
adapted to the current institutional set-up.
The consultation process for adoption of the information society strategy involved all
the ministries, but there was little preparation and discussion of substance on the
influence of technologies over the five-year horizon. Further, adoption of the document at
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the Cabinet level did not imbue it with the power originally hoped for. However, the
consultation process at least succeeded in achieving broad coverage of all institutional
and regulatory aspects in a single document.
The business plan milestones combined with their formal evaluation and a
ministerial/regional level consultation process could also have triggered an effective,
high-impact implementation process. The extensive public consultation process was an
important step to ensure that the process would not become a technocratic exercise but
would combine technical skills with public awareness and political responsibility.
Although the process was well designed, consultants often failed to deliver the required
quality (which they were paid for). Lessons learned from more advanced countries were
not exploited in the business plans. Besides, the public consultation that followed the
formal presentation of the business plans turned out to be less interactive and value
adding than originally hoped.
The idea of co-responsibility proved that two decision-making centres were one too
many. While it helped during the first steps it created too many tensions and delays
afterwards.
The sound process design thus triggered considerable delays that led to complaints.
Figure 6.2 shows how time-consuming the good planning process was, not because a
good planning process is necessarily time-consuming but because it risks being so in a
system that does not tolerate change. The planning delays led to politically unacceptable
absorption delays.4
The lesson to be drawn is that in a notoriously slow and inefficient administration,
one can be ambitious and try to change behaviour. Yet, to succeed, it is important to use
very tight, hands-on management and decide, from the beginning, when and how to apply
sanctions.

Co-ordination of implementation and policy learning


The formal co-ordination structure for implementation
After a political decision was taken to start implementation in order to avoid further
delays, the organisational set-up of the CSF was applied, with specific innovations. The
formal co-ordination structure involves the following public actors:5

The CSF Managing Authority, which co-ordinates, guides, gives opinion if


necessary and controls projects with financial inflows.

The Information Society Monitoring Committee, which is broadly representative of Greek and EU actors and carries responsibility for design and
programme strategy.

The Payments Authority, which provides matching funds and controls the
legality of payments decided by the OPIS Managing Authority, which has full
financial responsibility and executive power and is responsible for the programming and evaluation of any action in the OPIS.

The flow of actions and responsibilities is the typical process followed for the entire
CSF. So at least financial co-ordination is effective.

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A consequence of the multidimensional character of the OPIS was the need for a high
level of co-ordination during the implementation phase, both horizontally across different
sectoral ministries that manage other sectoral programmes and vertically between OPIS
and regional programmes. In neither case were ex ante formal procedures established,
because of the fragmented character of the public administration and the lack of formal
communication channels in ministries middle management. However, it was an
impediment for co-ordinating funds to avoid overlaps. Thus hybrid mechanisms had to be
invented, while general secretaries in different policy areas often had to expend their
personal energies and use their relations in long negotiations with their peers. Therefore,
the following instruments were foreseen or imposed in order to improve absorption later
on:

Co-ordination mechanisms proposed during the planning process, notably the


Information Society SA and the various observatories and forums.

Crash and Mini Crash Programmes to cope with the rigid procedures and lack of
skills that led to significant delays compared to the rest of the CSF.

By the term implementation is meant the detailed description of the nature, the aims
and the content of actions to be financed in the chosen areas and measures of the OPIS,
the publication of calls, the evaluation of the proposals and the supervision and
acceptance of the final outcome, including the budgetary flows between central managing
authorities and final beneficiaries.
The rules for project implementation were clear but rigid and time-consuming. An
effort by top politicians to simplify them was unsuccessful. At the same time the lack of
incentives for the timely execution of projects resulted in more emphasis on processes
rather than on attaining substantial objectives. Needless to say, no sanctions were
foreseen for long and unjustified delays. Furthermore, there was a lack of links between
funding and institutional policy initiatives. Last but not least, the delays attributed to the
long design phase led to very little focus on evaluation and learning in the
implementation phase, which is described in detail below.

Role of stakeholders
Awareness raising aimed at greater involvement of a large number of stakeholders as
well as society as a whole was among the imperatives of the third CSF. Special funding
was provided for technical assistance under the category Publicity Actions. In this
context, a number of forums and working groups were established to bring together
experts and actors specialised in the different areas of action foreseen in OPIS. The Ebusiness Forum is one of the most active in the area of diffusion of ICTs in the business
sector, mainly to SMEs. The forum has included representatives from academia and
business federations. For the promotion of broadband applications, there is a working
group on broadband technologies, mainly as an advisory group to the Managing
Authority, which assists in designing actions based on these services. Other groups, more
specific in scope, have emerged (Geographic Integrated Systems, Task-Force Hellas Grid,
Task-Force on e-accessibility) but they have limited influence.
The main stakeholder that needs to be involved is the business sector, which lags
considerably behind the OECD average in terms of investment and performance. The
Greek ICT sector is dominated by the telecommunications sub-sector (EITO, 2005),
which accounts for 65% of the turnover in this sector and 5.2% of GDP. Per capita
expenditure on telecommunication services remains below the EU average (EUR 433 in
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2004, based on data from Eurostat, 2005). The telecommunication business consists of
about 250 enterprises with general licences, while 48 enterprises have special
telecommunications licences. Mobile telephony is by far the most competent of the ICTs.
The four providers share a market that serves more than 80% of the Greek population,
and competition is relatively strong with a market almost equally shared among the three
providers with the longest history in the sector. As far as third-generation mobile
telephony is concerned, three licences have been granted. Because the
telecommunications sector and mobile telephony are market-led, policy intervention is
limited to regulation and companies from this segment are not very interested in shaping
policy.
Information technologys share of GDP is low, and annual per capita expenditure on
information technologies in 2004 was about EUR 149. On the supply side, the Greek
information technology market is still, with few exemptions, driven by ad hoc
participation in international projects and public procurement. There are very few nonSMEs and none plays an international role, the biggest expand only into the Balkan
market. A temporary dynamic performance, which spilled over from international
developments and Greek stock market conditions, ended after the financial crisis of 2000.
The dominant activity of the sector is commercial (imports of hardware), which is
responsible for 40% of the sectors turnover, while the market for software and other
information technology services is relatively limited.
The sector is represented by the Federation of Hellenic Information Technology and
Communications Enterprises (SEPE) and the Association of Information Technology
Companies of Northern Greece (SEPVE). The structure of the sector explains why the
interests expressed by the federations are limited to interventions to increase and speed up
the implementation of support schemes. While they are invited to participate in
monitoring committees and various forums their interest is almost exclusively funding,
not investing resources to create a coherent strategy to promote the sector. In general
public-private consultation and partnership mainly involve formalities rather than indepth prioritisation consistent with the real needs of the market and the society. The
business sector as user exerts even less influence. The programme envisages sensitising
SMEs and microfirms to Internet-related technologies and applications; this type of
company does not have collective representation.
The academic community plays a crucial role both formally and informally, the latter
because of the role of academics in politics and the administration.6 Formally, universities
are involved in project implementation, R&D funding and consulting processes (in the
context of technical assistance) at both the national and the regional levels. University
teams play an isolated role and do not express the common interests of the academic
sector. Academics as individual experts are often found in implementation committees,
defining new projects and opening up new areas, but with some confusion about the
limits of their role.
The effort to involve the broader community through open consultations has not
shown any sign of significantly increased participation. Actions have focused on
publications (leaflets, brochures, etc.), limited Web surveys and press announcements, but
there is no evidence on the success of these efforts. At the regional level, the participation
of the social actors has varied.

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Horizontal co-ordination
Implementation of OPIS was very demanding in terms of co-ordination owing to its
multi-sectoral character and the involvement of a large number of policy centres, which
felt that as either intermediaries or final beneficiaries they should have a right to interfere
in the decision process. The boundaries between stakeholder involvement and decision
authority blurred and neither role was clear or well performed. Implementation was under
the joint political responsibility of the Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of
Internal Affairs, Public Administration and Decentralisation, the executive power was in
the hands of the OPIS Managing Authority, and the overwhelming majority of measures
were applied in areas under the responsibility of more than one ministries (see Annex
6.A). Therefore, during implementation, the actions announced had first of all to be
consistent with the overall policy objectives of each ministry. For this reason bilateral
negotiations and agreements were needed at the level of general secretaries. Each of the
ministries mentioned under responsible actors intervened, sometimes only technically,
sometimes trying to influence broader choices and more often than not the timeframe was
not respected and the necessary quality standards were not met. However, the horizontal
co-ordinators were all understaffed compared to the needs of the endeavour.
Many of the benefiting ministries manage their own sectoral programmes, which led
to complementary information society actions in addition to the information society
projects planned together with the horizontal co-ordinator. While this was beyond the
original aim of co-ordination, it was inevitable: specific needs arose that could be solved
with information society solutions or a specific demand was expressed. As a result,
internal funding was used for activities which theoretically should have come under the
horizontal co-ordination. In a rough estimate by the Secretariat in 2003, the amount of
funds that were found ex post to be dealing with the information society without being
included in the original planning process added about 50% to the original budget. The
horizontal co-ordinator had no role for them, so co-ordination was clearly limited to form
and not essence.
Moreover, the recognition that the sectoral managing authorities had better expertise
on specialised issues, as in health and education, led to the direct involvement of their
managing authorities in elaborating calls and guidelines in the areas of culture and transport. In many cases the OPIS Managing Authority dedicated its own human resources to
prepare calls and to supervise the implementation of actions with assistance from by
external consultants.
An instrument initially proposed to help overall co-ordination of the implementation
of OPIS was the creation of the Information Society S.A. It was designed to operate as a
repository of knowledge regarding design, implementation and evaluation of information
society projects and as an executive agency capable of undertaking project design and
implementation. Its success is, however, questionable, owing to a slow start, problems in
defining its mission and problems of co-operation with the hard core of the public
administration. The milestones of its business plan described above were not met.
The implementation of large infrastructure projects, mainly the modernisation of the
public sector and the transport infrastructure, is a special case. Responsibility for their
implementation is allocated to the relevant government or public agency. However, less
horizontal co-ordination is needed because of the large number of agencies and services
involved. This form of co-ordination is quite difficult in Greece, since there are no
established processes or mechanisms for communication in middle-level public administration. While these activities were expected to be easier to accomplish, they are among
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the most delayed. Internal co-ordination in the competent ministries was not more
efficient than horizontal co-ordination.
As in the past, certain actors who were in a position to promote their own projects did
so, while others were left behind. However, an overall impetus has been given, which is
reflected in the opportunity for more active actors to submit specific pilots. For instance,
there is a pilot project of one municipality (Voula) that tries to address the many layers of
government. The municipality has to be linked and receive input and standards from the
public administration in terms of forms, guidelines and standards. At the same time, the
mayor supervises municipal services (operating and accountable at the local level, such as
municipal libraries, polls, local social services) or national services operating locally (tax
service, police, health, public education) but also offers access to information and other
services to the local constituencies (professionals, shops, clubs and associations). The
need to design a local system that meets (currently emerging) national standards and
financial instruments, and at the same time covers local needs and enhances public
awareness and participation, is a multi-level task, that is not easy to design and implement. The pilot took place ahead of a big, very ambitious, much delayed similar project,
aimed at modernising the whole of the public sector.
Education and skills represent a particularly challenging and complicated case, in
which horizontal co-ordination was limited to bilateral agreements on individual
programmes despite an effort to put everything under the same umbrella. The Ministry of
Education and Religious Affairs was among the first to use EU regional development
resources in the early 1990s. The development of network infrastructures in tertiary and
secondary education is one such initiative. In terms of curriculum development, the
introduction of technology-oriented courses in secondary education was a large step
towards increasing the computer literacy of Greek youth. Moreover, the ministry tried to
respond to the market pull with the creation of new university departments on informatics
and telecommunications. With an established long-term strategy, experience on information
society policies and a precise action plan, the Ministry of Education had better response
during the co-ordination of actions in the context of OPIS and the best absorption rates
for dedicated funds.
When the third CSF started, there were marked weaknesses in primary schools, and
less so in secondary schools, but the university system was well endowed not only with
computers but also with high-speed Internet access. The target was to achieve computerisation and 100% access plus implementation of a massive programme of training (of
teachers and pupils) plus the infrastructure for e-learning (mainly in institutions of higher
education). A major problem for the purchase of equipment was the central tendering
process, which was systematically opposed by the excluded bidders, who delayed the
process. A decision was taken to decentralise the public procurement process and schools
now tender individually. Although there is the issue of the potential economies of a
central call for tenders compared to smaller decentralised calls, the efficiency of the new
process gains in speed. In this trade-off between speed and cost, the decision to increase
efficiency at higher cost seems absolutely reasonable, even brave, after all these years of
stagnation. An additional benefit of this decision also facilitates local economic support.
At the same time a programme of massive training for 75 000 primary and secondary
school teachers was prepared for 2002-03, which included the use of information
technology in the learning process. A good balance has been achieved as there is a special
measure addressing content and educational tools. E-learning and digital software are the
major targets of this measure. School equipment had the highest absorption and it was on
this criterion that the effort was considered a major success. However, a variety of critical
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leaps forward that could have been made through co-ordination were conceived but not
implemented: the idea to use school computer labs in the afternoon for teleworking,
community learning or other purposes did not materialise because joint use would require
joint cost carrying and responsibilities and this could not be resolved technically.
R&D development presents a similar case. The key policy actor is the General
Secretariat of Research and Technology (GSRT), which plays an active role in the
promotion of research in ICTs and has several programmes that promote the diffusion of
new technologies in the business sector. The GSRT has also undertaken two initiatives to
promote e-learning and implementation of information systems in Greek SMEs under the
general title e-business. Except for ensuring that there was no duplication of funding,
there was no co-ordination between the GSRT and the corresponding secretariats in the
Ministries of Education or Industry.
This means that, overall, in the implementation phase, broader horizontal coordination was degraded into a bilateral agreement between the benefiting agency and the
co-ordinator to ensure that spending corresponded to the funds earmarked. There were no
bilateral or multilateral discussions on content and its potential amendment. Only in the
context of the mid-term review of the programme were all actors gathered together, but
again in a formal meeting to make sure that funding would not be lost owing to the
delays.
While these were the constraints at the national level, the problem had an additional
dimension, notably regarding the funding earmarked by the regional authorities. The
funds themselves were limited but the co-ordination even more complicated:

Articulation between the national and the regional level


In the third CSF the issue of direct co-operation and co-ordination between the central
sectoral Managing Authority and regional authorities was raised for the first time. During
the CSF planning phase, regions were instructed to include electronic applications in their
respective regional operational programmes (for which they had sole responsibility). All
regions had to respect these central guidelines and earmark part of their limited regional
funds for information society applications, to be determined by a local SWOT analysis.
Quality assurance and co-ordination for the implementation of these plans were entrusted
to the OPIS Secretariat and Managing Authority.
Until the current programming period, three types of information society policies
followed by the Greek regions can be distinguished:

EU-induced policies. The only regions that made an attempt to adopt a policy
framework were those receiving specific grants from the EU. The region of
Central Macedonia was the only one with a thorough regional plan for the
information society.

Project-based developments. In some regions research or other groups undertook specific projects, reacting to ad hoc opportunities rather than as part of a
regional strategy. The common denominator in these regions is one or two key
programmes and smaller projects at the initiative of specific teams. These projects
attracted national or EU funding, created skills, and promoted awareness raising
in certain populations but were not part of a regional strategy.

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National follower strategies. Some regions made no attempt at either the


individual or the collective level. They followed the guidelines and adaptations
through launches of national calls (digitisation of libraries, computers in schools,
adoption of e-government initiatives imposed by the centre, etc.), when prescribed by the national authorities under the second CSF and thus received a
small share of the national funds for projects decided by the national ministries.

The divergences are considerable. In this context the sectoral and regional distribution
of funds during implementation was a major challenge. The market mechanism drives
resources towards income-generating activities and market failure helps to increase rather
than eliminate the digital divide. In addition government failure is very likely to occur,
since regional administrations lack the skills that would allow them to plan and
implement effectively technologies they do not master. The Greek national authorities
had to make major strategic choices, and this resulted in a mixed approach: the centre
decided on the platforms and launched calls for common elements to avoid duplication of
efforts and broader calls were then launched, which included both national and regional
funding to serve local needs. The quality of the regional business plans proved utterly
insufficient to support this phase and new consultants had to be hired.
A special measure (2.4) was used to mobilise regional actors and to create new ICTs,
and there was a generalised measure for regional geographical information systems (GIS)
and innovative actions. For these two targets, funds had to be distributed to seven areas:
education, culture and tourism, public governance and information, health, environment,
transport and SMEs. The selection of the areas was based on eEurope, which also gave
the directions for the regional business plans. The national authorities finally promised
matching funds of EUR 7 million (approximately EUR 1 million for each action under
measure 2.4) per region (independently of the size or maturity of the region), while the
rest were to be provided by the OPIS.
Since the basic guidelines had been set, the next step was the prioritisation and
specification of the actions according to regional needs and co-ordination so as to proceed
to the publication of calls. In order to overcome or to avoid delays, the Special Secretariat
for the Information Society decided to adopt a more flexible and effective co-ordination
process between OPIS and the regional managing authorities and undertook the following
actions.
It set up a Co-ordination and Consulting Committee (SESY) in each of the 13 Greek
regions. Their main task was to act as an informal intermediary between regional and
national managing authorities, increase awareness and thus the participation of regional
actors, as well as to provide advice to both sides on issues related to regional information
society actions and on actions with strong regional orientation (e.g. broadband networks).
The second step was the co-ordination of regional and regionally distributed national
funds in the context of the Mini-Crash 2003 programme. The main aim of this programme was to speed up the adoption of information society programmes and projects, as
well as to eliminate double or over- or under-funding of certain regional actions. For the
elaboration of this programme the co-operation of the following actors was necessary: the
regional managing authorities, which elaborate and submit requests to the OPIS
Managing Authority regarding their proposals, the OPIS Managing Authority, which
assesses the regional proposals, and finally the SESYs, in their advisory function.

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The co-ordination process revealed that despite the efforts to have well-defined
regional information society strategies and raise interest among regional actors through
the regional information society business plans, there were significant variations in terms
of maturity among the 13 regions. While not unexpected, this caused significant
difficulties and delays in reaching a final agreement on distribution of funding and
actions; these were finally overcome with some pressure and commitments at the level of
the general secretaries, since much of the effort was based on the general government
commitment to promote regional information society actions.
After lengthy discussions and agreements with all directly and indirectly involved
managing authorities in April 2003, the Minister of the Economy, in agreement with the
regional secretaries, approved the Information Society Mini-Crash 2003, which was then
formally launched. The concrete results of the co-ordination and planning process are
summarised in Table 6.3.
Table 6.3. Public financing (OPIS and ROPs) per region and per area of action
Education

Culture

E-Govt

Health

GIS*

SMEs**

Total

Eastern Macedonia and


Thrace

1 200 000

1 450 000

4 150 000

2 000 000

2 400 000

2 125 000

13 325 000

Attica

1 000 000

2 800 000

1 900 000

1 300 000

4 000 000

11 000 000

North Aegean

1 430 000

1 800 000

3 570 000

1 700 000

1 500 000

1 000 000

11 000 000

Western Greece

1 430 000

1 560 000

2 520 000

1 096 000

1 104 000

3 280 000

10 990 000

Western Macedonia

1 310 000

690 000

4 204 400

665 000

4 000 000

1 000 000

11 869 400

940 000

3 630 000

3 270 000

780 000

400 000

900 000

9 920 000

Ipeiros

2 200 000

1 500 000

1 900 000

1 500 000

2 500 000

2 500 000

12 100 000

Central Macedonia

1 400 000

800 000

7 400 000

400 000

5 900 000

15 900 000

Ionian Islands

Crete

1 400 000

800 000

4 200 000

1 000 000

3 000 000

1 200 000

11 600 000

South Aegean

4 450 000

1 850 000

4 100 000

2 200 000

2 200 000

1 700 000

16 500 000

Peloponnese

1 600 000

1 300 000

3 350 000

1 450 000

300 000

3 000 000

11 000 000

Continental Greece

2 000 000

1 718 500

2 750 000

1 200 000

1 583 000

1 748 500

11 000 000

Thessaly

1 500 000

1 000 000

1 000 000

1 300 000

3 400 000

3 730 000

11 930 000

TOTAL

21 860 000

20 898 500

44 314 400

14 891 000

24 087 000

32 083 500

158 134 400

This category finally included applications of GIS in transport and environment so the two areas were merged.

**

In the actions concerning SMEs there is provision for additional private funding according to the De minimis rule.

The implementation of the programme raised the need for a second round of coordination actions, this time to increase interest among potential beneficiaries and
financing organisations, as well as to avoid duplication of support work. The OPIS
Managing Authority assigned this role to the SESYs, while centrally arranging awareness-raising activities for all regions. Initially, it was planned to publish calls only for
regions with the necessary level of maturity. At first, education was the only area of
action characterised as nationally mature. However, the scheme was abandoned as further
delays were detected in the implementation process and all areas followed suit, with the
necessary technical support from the centre.

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Another important aspect which the managing authorities tried to address was the
exploitation of economies of scale in implementation by promoting horizontal actions
where necessary. These actions included the development of integrated Internet platforms
and software for regional projects with common elements or rationale. This model was
applied for culture, tourism, e-government and GIS applications.
The initial target was mobilisation (publication of calls) for all actions foreseen in the
Information Society Mini-Crash 2003 by the end of 2003. This target proved to be quite
ambitious. The implementation process achieved a publication of calls for 44.5% of the
Mini-Crash by the end of 2003; 52% from OPIS, and 38% from regional programmes.
The speed of mobilisation varies significantly among regions as well as among actions.
The main reason is the lack of experience, the rigorous decision making between centre
and regions, the difficulties in co-ordination between ministries, and the trade-off
between speed and exploitation of economies of scale and scope for the implementation
of certain actions.
In terms of policy learning one may suggest that while the regional level matters
enormously for the creation of external economies, the lack of economic and governance
maturity can become prohibitive in terms of the effectiveness of regional planning. To
support the regions, national authorities need to take the political decision to make a
special effort to mobilise limited resources. In terms of immediate opportunity costs, this
creates administrative bottlenecks, but it is likely to pay off in the longer term. The
current provisions and institutional set-up hamper rapid implementation, even when
political agreement has been reached. Effective external support (in the form of SESYs or
otherwise) is necessary. The more skilled the people involved and the more informal their
role, the better the result.

Conclusion
Information society and innovation policy
Designing a catching-up information society strategy in Greece became particularly
urgent and difficult as the digital divide increased. Innovation governance was inefficient
and all efforts to modernise were hampered by an inefficient administration, lack of coordination and reluctant stakeholders. Since innovation policy was not particularly
successful and because of the urgency of the matter for the information society, it was
decided to create an autonomous structure totally distinct from innovation governance.
Innovation and information society policies were placed under different ministries
without established links or provisions for horizontal co-ordination between them. The
information society policy agenda makes no direct reference to the needs of the national
innovation system and its priorities were inspired mainly by the EU information society
action plans (eEurope 2002 and 2005) rather than by an internal policy debate. The two
policies meet only on the implementation level as a few actions financed by OPIS are
directly related to the objectives of the Ministry of Development and are implemented by
its secretariat.7 At this level there is only a form of financial co-ordination between the
two managing authorities.

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164 INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE IN GREECE


The connection of the two policies has been formally asserted for the first time in a
discussion document produced and published by the General Secretariat of Research and
Technology (GSRT, 2003). The aim of the document was to form the basis for the
elaboration of the national strategy in view of the Barcelona and Lisbon targets,
describing the roles of all actors whose actions can facilitate the promotion of a
knowledge-based economy, and making a direct proposal for the establishment of a
horizontal co-ordination mechanism among sectoral policies. However, the follow-up of
the document was practically nil, since there was no response by stakeholders to the
GSRTs call for discussion. The overall policy context is not expected to change until the
next programming period.
The lack of horizontal co-ordination, the absence of modern governance structures in
the public sector, and the low level of skills in the public administration means that the
actors involved in the promotion of modern policies need to re-invent themselves and
establish ad hoc structures and mechanisms in order to be effective.

Lessons from information society governance in Greece


Public policy for the enhancement of the information society in Greece has a long but
not particularly successful history, which is co-determined by the low competitiveness of
the economy and a traditional, not particularly effective, governance structure. The initial
steps were introduced late, compared to the rest of the EU, policies were fragmented,
focus was on hardware investment without emphasis on utilisation, and the first attempt
at co-ordination only took place in 1995 with an encompassing strategy document;
however, there was no systematic follow-up and the document influenced design at the
individual project level only.
A market drive and European regional funding instruments have gradually exercised
some pressure to use modern techniques and improve co-ordination both at the design and
implementation stages. With political backing and hard work (in view of the design of the
2000-06 development policy), a unique preparation process adapted to the Greek
circumstances was started: stepwise consultation, mandatory business plans, evaluation
tools and the provision for transnational policy learning were initiated and systematically
pursued. This ambitious top-down, modern approach was seen as an effort that could be a
model, which, if successful, could trigger change into the development tools of the
country.
However, good policy design faltered owing to the informal rules of Greek
governance: hardly any of the actors involved responded to the challenge and complied
with the quality required to make a change. Ministries and regional authorities lacked
both skills and vision. Stakeholders called for consultation either had no strategies or
chose to fight for their short-term interests, consultants involved in the process prepared
less imaginative and documented reports than originally hoped for, local authorities did
not have the skills to exercise any influence. Moreover, all these actors, feeling
vulnerable because of their own weaknesses, were reluctant to co-operate and preferred
the security of their individual realms. Co-ordination encountered suspicion, sometimes
even hostility. There were no enforcement tools designed for the planning period. But as
sanctions for low quality were not foreseen and time constraints were the real bottleneck
(because the EU regional development funds would be lost if not used on time), a
political decision was taken to abandon the ambitious new model and hasten implementation to save the funding.

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Hence, in the implementation phase, good governance and high ambitions ran out of
steam. New actors, created to respond to the modern governance approach, replicated the
traditional attitudes of the public sector. Delays could not be made up for, possibly
because the political backing was not strong enough to overcome resistance, and there
was neither a single, undisputed decision-making centre nor clear cross-ministerial
authorities. The boundaries between stakeholder involvement and the decision authority
blurred and neither role was clear or well performed. Management, implementation and
assessment (the three pillars) were never really integrated. So, while individual projects
succeeded in the implementation phase, the same had been true in the past, before the
good planning process.
The Greek case raises some crucial questions: does a good but failed planning process
leave the system better or worse off than no good planning process? Does learning occur
and pave the way for better future governance or does an isolated, excellent experiment
lead to the conclusion that such endeavours should be avoided? What would be necessary
to allow the good start to achieve better tangible results at the end of the process?
The answers to these questions are difficult and cannot be generalised since good
practices applied elsewhere did not lead to the same good results. Possibly a good process
is one that makes the system move as fast as it can afford to; if faster it can create more
harm than good. The crucial issue is whether or not an ambitious design is able to
transform the internal potential, increasing the systems responsiveness to modern needs.
Changing the potential may be translated into changing the culture in the public
governance system. The case of the information society showed that the political vision
failed to diffuse throughout the political system. Thus, human capital considerations also
need to be taken into account. Better skills and a deeper knowledge of the policy
objectives, along with the establishment of enforcement mechanisms, could increase the
commitment of the actors involved in the policy making process to achieve better results.
Besides, political determination for change needs time and support all the way, in
particular through the difficult phases of resistance to change. In order to change
governance structures and make a difference in the long term, it is important to decide
from the very beginning how long politicians are prepared to wait for results. They will
not be immediate, as the Greek experience clearly shows. Quality should be given priority
over absorption. Redesign at each stage is important and has to accompany learning and
co-evolution. Otherwise the system slides back to its informal rules.
The lesson learned from this ambitious experiment is that design of the information
society took a first-movers risk and that the Greek system did not tolerate change. One
swallow did not make a summer. But learning by doing is an arduous process. The next
swallow will (hopefully) have an easier task.

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166 INFORMATION SOCIETY GOVERNANCE IN GREECE

Annex 6.A
The operational programme for the information society
Information society
Operational programme

Policy actors

1. Education and culture

Budget
(EUR)
421 033 333

1.1 Network and educational equipment for all educational levels

Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs

119 000 000

1.2 Introduction of new technology applications in education

Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs

182 158 519

Ministry of Culture

119 874 814

1.3 Documentation and promotion of Greek culture

2. Services for citizens and improvement of the quality of life

879 324 000

2.1 E-government for citizens: business plans, studies

Ministry of Interior, Public Administration


and Decentralisation

40 869 406

2.2 E-government for citizens

Ministry of Interior, Public Administration


and Decentralisation

362 000 000

2.3 Management support for the structural funds

Ministry of Interior, Public Administration


and Decentralisation
Ministry of Economy and Finance

60 000 000

2.4 Regional geographical information systems (GIS) and innovative actions

Ministry of Interior, Public Administration


and Decentralisation
Ministry of Environment, Urban Planning
and Public Works

112 925 801

2.5 Training for public administration employees, modernisation support


studies

Ministry of Interior, Public Administration


and Decentralisation

96 000 000

Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity

107 402 054

2.6 Information and communication technologies (ICTs) for health and care
2.7 Training and structural measures for health and care
2.8 Smart transports

2.9 Data infrastructure and information technology for a modern cadastre

Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity

9 257 333

Ministry of Transport and Communications


Ministry of Mercantile Marine
Ministry of Environment, Urban Planning
and Public Works

90 869 406

Ministry of Environment, Urban Planning


and Public Works

3. Development and employment

901 700 000

3.1 Development of a propitious digital environment for economic activity

Ministry of Development
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Agriculture Development and
Food

97 347 028

3.2 Support of enterprises in order to enter the digital economy

Ministry of Development
Ministry of Agriculture Development and
Food

403 509 149

3.3 Research and technological development for information society

Ministry of Development

81 347 028

3.4 Human resources skill upgrade

Ministry of Employment and Social Security


Ministry of Development
Ministry of Culture

186 281 731

3.5 Promotion of employment in information society

Ministry of Employment and Social Security

133 215 064

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The operational programme for the information society (continued)


Information society
Operational programme

Policy actors

4. Communications

Budget
(EUR)
569 233 333

4.1 Development of mechanisms for the implementation of the institutional Ministry of Transport and Communications
framework and the competitiveness enforcement
National Telecommunications and Post
Commission

193 477 623

4.2 Development of local access networks infrastructure

Ministry of Transport and Communication


General Secretariat of Communications

153 866 664

4.3 Advanced telecommunication services for citizens

Ministry of Transport and Communications

128 419 639

4.4 Development and modernization of post infrastructure

Ministry of Transport and Communication


Greek Postal Services

85 869 406

4.5 Human resources training in communications

Ministry of Transport and Communication

5. Technical assistance

7 600 000

67 787 728

5.1 Management, implementation ad monitoring

25 333 333

5.2 Technical assistance ESF

21 742 399

5.3 Technical assistance ERDF

20 711 996

Total

2 839 078 394

Notes
1.

GDP per capita under 75% of the EU average.

2.

At that stage the subsidiarity principle had not been adopted, and the Commission played a more handson role.

3.

eEurope is the EU initiative to enhance the information society in Europe, using an open method of coordination through benchmarking in ten main areas of action: European youth into the digital age, faster
Internet for researchers/students, awareness raising, participation in the knowledge-based economy,
government on line, health on line, European digital content, working in the knowledge-based economy,
accelerating e-commerce, cheaper faster Internet, secure networks and smart cards, intelligent transport
systems and infrastructure.

4.

The third CSF rules stipulate that delays in funding of more than two years compared to their original
plan are lost.

5.

See also Tsipouri and Papadakou (2005), section 4.4.

6.

All secretaries and many political appointments in the various agencies mentioned above were people
who were directly or indirectly employed in universities before/after their involvement in information
society governance.

7.

Measures under area 3, see Annex 6.A.

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References
European Information Technology Observatory (EITO) (2005), ICT Markets 2005.
Eurostat (2005), Structural Indicators, http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int.
GSRT (2003), Towards a Knowledge-Based Economy: Prospects and Roles,
discussion document, Ministry of Development, General Secretariat for Research and
Technology, November.
Tsipouri, L. and M. Papadakou (2005), Profiling and Assessing Innovation Governance
in Greece: Do Increased Funding and the Modernization of Governance Co-evolve?,
in OECD (2005), Governance of Innovation Systems, Volume 2: Case Studies in
Innovation Policy, OECD, Paris.
Papakonstantinou, G. (2004) Innovation in Greece, the Information Society Case, 5th
MONIT Workshop, Innovation Governance: Towards a Synthesis, Athens,
4-5 October.Working Group on the Information Society (1999), Regional
Development Plan on Information Society, discussion document (in Greek), May.

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TOWARDS THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: THE CASE OF SWEDEN

Chapter 7
TOWARDS THE INFORMATION SOCIETY:
THE CASE OF SWEDEN
Kristina Larsen, Patrik Sandgren and Jennie Granat-Thorslund
VINNOVA

Sweden has had an explicit information technology (IT) policy for about 40 years. The
development of Swedish IT policy has been closely connected to the search for internal
efficiency in the public sector, as well as the promotion of innovation and economic
development. Responsibility for the implementation of IT policy is currently divided
among several actors, including a nationally appointed strategy group. This wide
distribution of responsibility has resulted in insufficient horizontal co-ordination and suboptimisation, as much of the real co-ordination of IT policy has taken place through
informal networks. To achieve better co-ordination of Swedish IT policy, there is a need
for more incentives for actors as well as a clearer demand for active co-ordination from
the government level. Another important feature of better co-ordination would be the
establishment of a common language, as current semantic differences have proven to be
an obstacle.

Introduction
This chapter focuses on co-ordination in the sector of information technology (IT)
and how IT policy is co-ordinated in Sweden. It is based upon a case study and the object
has been to use this study in order to search for critical issues in horizontal co-ordination.
The case study is based on interviews within the government administration,
interviews at the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) and written
material. Of particular interest is a recently completed evaluation of the Swedish IT
policy.

IT and IT policy
IT policy making is to a large extent about the use of IT, and rules and regulations
related to usage. Although IT policy is a recognised policy area in Sweden, there is no
clear definition of what the area includes or excludes. There is also an ongoing discussion
concerning whether IT policy is a policy area in its own right, or simply a limited issue
embedded in various other areas. However, this chapter is based on the assumption that it
is possible to define Swedish IT policy in terms of a policy area with certain processes,
actors and objectives.

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The Swedish government, when defining the policy area, uses the terminology IT
and the IT sector. In this chapter the term IT is used in a broad sense and IT policy
includes both policy regarding the use of IT in the public administration (internal IT
policy) as well as IT policy directed towards society as a whole (external IT policy).
The policy processes monitored in this chapter mainly focus on policy ambitions and
decisions at the government level, although they involve all implementation levels.
The following discussion first provides a short historical background on IT policy in
Sweden before turning to an overview of current actors and policy entrepreneurs within
the Swedish IT policy system. Some examples of policy making are then presented,
followed by an evaluation of the IT policy. Next, co-ordination within Swedish IT policy
is described, and the link between IT policy and innovation policy is explored. A final
section summarises the results.

IT policy from a historical perspective


1963: Bill addressing internal IT policy (Prop. 1963:85)
1985: Computer policy (Prop. 1984/85:220)
1994: Education and research (Prop. 1993/94:177)
1996: Measures to broaden and develop the utilization of IT (Prop. 1995/96:125)
1998: Public administration in the service of the citizens (Prop. 1997/98:136)
2000: An information society for all (Prop. 1999/2000:86)
2001: Research and renewal (Prop. 2000/2001:3)
2002: R&D within the innovation system (Prop. 2001/02:2)
2003: Law on electronic communication (Prop. 2002/03:110)
2005: Bill on IT to be released summer 2005

Swedish IT policy 1963-941


The beginning of a Swedish IT policy can be roughly dated to 1963 when the first
government bill on computers was presented. The bill, signed by the Minister of Finance,
suggested that machinery for automatic data processing should be introduced to help on
national registration and work on taxation and accounting of direct taxes.
According to the bill, computer technology was extraordinarily well suited for
rationalising office work because of its ability to execute long chains of processes. Other
typical characteristics of this technology were that it was fast, safe and involved no more
than an insignificant risk of miscalculation and other errors, often referred to as the
human factor.
The bill also addressed an important technological controversy concerning the choice
of computer system for county administrations. Two options existed: the international
market leader IBM or the Swedish-owned DataSaab. The computers developed by the
Swedish company were considered to be of substantial value from a policy perspective.
To settle the controversy, the government decided to build parallel infrastructures using
both systems.

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In the 1960s, there was a political consensus about the ambition to modernise society
by utilising computers. Computerisation was seen as a general value-enhancing tool. In
1969 a new organisation for the national register and taxation system and county
computer centres was suggested and established.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Swedish IT policy shifted focus to some extent, as
attention turned to matters of industrial policy (innovation policy) and how public
authorities should handle the growing information loads.2 At the same time the risks of IT
surveillance also became a matter of political concern. Especially during the 1970s, as
personal registers were digitised, public discussion centred around the issue of privacy.
The debate faded in the 1980s as the fear of big brother seemed to have been
exaggerated. Instead, the innovation policy issue of fostering a domestic electronic
industry became an important issue along with an initiative to computerise schools.
In the middle of the 1980s, a new government bill presented an overall vision of IT in
the near future based mainly on software (machine code) and integrated and merged into
everything (ubiquitous computing). This foreseen development renewed concerns about
privacy. In addition plans to support the development of a domestic microelectronic and
IT industry drew a great deal of attention.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, Swedish IT policy has been very much influenced
by the international IT agenda, mainly the American National Information Infrastructure
initiative (NII) and the European Bangemann Report.3 This has also affected public
debate.

The Swedish IT policy 1994-2004


In 1994, a new phase of Swedish IT policy began as the Swedish government
appointed a national IT Commission to review the new information and communication
technology (ICT). The commission was organised in accordance with a network approach
that connected experts and important stakeholders with relevance to IT. The prime
minister chaired and co-ordinated the work.
The IT Commission developed scenarios that showed how Sweden could become a
leading information society, primarily in seven areas: education, the legal system,
public administration, health care, communications networks, manufacturing, trade and
IT research. The IT Commission had a substantial impact on Swedish discussion of IT
policy. Two similar IT commissions followed in the wake of the first, but were not
chaired by the prime minister. This substantially reduced their impact.4 Some 30 different
committees dealt with IT policy during the period 1994-2003, and the IT commissions
published nearly 130 documents.5
An IT policy bill6 with proposals on how to broaden and develop the utilisation of
information technology in most areas of public life was delivered to the Swedish
parliament in spring 1996. Three years later, work began on a new IT bill entitled An
Information Society for All.7 The bill dealt with several different policy areas and how
IT policy was to relate to them. It was submitted to the Swedish parliament in March
2000 and opened the door to a new IT policy approach in Sweden.
The bill was influenced by the mood of the time. During the IT boom, conditions
were exceptionally good in Sweden, but there was a gap between what happened in the
market and the issues on the policy agenda. There was also an ongoing (critical)
discussion about which issues could be seen as a public responsibility and which could be
left to the market to solve, as well as a general discussion about the need for broadband
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connectivity. In order to solve the dispute in particular the issue of public financing of a
national broadband infrastructure in Sweden several government investigations were
initiated.8
The boom of the period was followed by an economic recession during the second
half of 2001. This resulted in a free fall for the Swedish IT sector and layoffs of nearly
12 000 employees by the Swedish IT firm Ericsson. This change in the economy had a
strong impact on external demand for policy actions and forced a rapid change of focus.
The result was a mix of long-term strategic policy actions and short-term quick fixes, so
called rescue actions.
Among others, VINNOVA, the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems, was
commissioned to investigate the situation and propose a strategy. The agency chose to
present an ambitious EUR 380 million rescue plan for the Swedish IT sector called
VinniTel.9 However, because of a general lack of public money, the government chose
only to implement a minor part of the plan and allocated about EUR 9 million for the
rescue plan.
The failure to implement VinniTel is a good indicator of Swedens post-boom
political environment. The global economic recession that followed the downturn in the
IT sector erased much of the enthusiasm for IT among policy makers. In the aftermath of
the bursting of the dotcom bubble several visionary initiatives were either postponed or
abandoned. IT was no longer the obvious solution in search of a problem.
In spite of the backlash, a few long-term projects remained. For instance, two national
technology foresight exercises were carried out in order to trace the technology tracks of
the future. IT and the application of IT played an essential part in these exercises.10

Institutional mapping of institutions and actors


Organisation of Swedish IT policy
The organisation of the Swedish administration with regard to different phases of the
policy processes is briefly described below. There are three different layers of power,
each with its own political and administrative organisation. There are also regional and
local administrations, with a high degree of self-government. The only possibility for
centralised management at these levels is by legislation or financial means. The different
levels of responsibility are:11

Parliament decides on legislation and bills, evaluates government work in different policy areas and commissions the government to do research on selected
topics.

The government prepares proposals, is responsible for producing bills commissioned by the parliament, commissions studies on selected topics, formulates
goals, gives commissions to government agencies and formulates instructions for
government agencies.

Government agencies are constituted by non-politically appointed civil servants


and implement policy decisions taken by the ministries or the parliament.

County councils are governed by elected clerks, have the main responsibility for
medical services and have their own budgets based on income taxes and state
funding.

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Municipalities are governed by elected clerks, are responsible for delivering


various services at the local level and have (like the county councils) their own
budgets based on income taxes and state funding.

IT policy actors
The government
In accordance with bill 1999/2000:86, An Information Society for All, the Ministry
of Industry, Employment and Communication (MIEC) is responsible for co-ordination of
general issues within IT policy. However, IT issues that directly concern specific areas
such as health care, environment, education, defence, government administration, etc., are
handled by separate ministries and their national agencies. IT policy in government
administration and agencies is for instance the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance
while the Ministry of Education and Science handles scientific development in Sweden.
This includes responsibility for such things as computerisation of public schools and
R&D investments in IT. Another example is the Ministry of Defence, which invests a
substantial amount of money in the development of IT surveillance systems and applications.
A rather large amount of IT policy work is performed by agencies and other actors on
behalf of the government. This is especially the case in the agenda-setting phase (the
process of choosing the issues to be included on the agenda) and the evaluation phase of
the policy process.

Government agencies
Agency responsibilities are regulated at different levels. There is a general description
of the long-term agency mission. These assignments are presented in special letters with
directives that are revised annually (by the government). Agencies with long-term
missions relevant to IT policies are the Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) and the Swedish National Post and Telecom Agency (PTS), but VINNOVA,
ITPS, ISA and NUTEK also play important roles.
The Swedish Agency for Public Management12 provides support to the government
and government offices. One of its tasks is to modernise the public administration with
the use of IT. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for the agency and the policy, which
may be described as internal IT policy.
A number of agencies under the Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications have duties in the IT field:

Invest in Sweden Agency (ISA)13 is the government agency assisting and


informing foreign investors about business opportunities in Sweden. It provides
tailor-made information and relevant contacts for setting up a business in Sweden.
ISA has been a strong promoter of the Swedish IT sector and has, among other
things, mapped the Swedish IT clusters and published several reports about the
current status of the Swedish IT sector.

The National Post and Telecom Agency (PTS)14 is the supervisory authority for
electronic communications, and carries out several tasks in the IT field.

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The Swedish Business Development Agency (NUTEK)15 has the task of promoting sustainable growth nationwide by providing funding, information and
guidance. Among other things NUTEK provides support for IT implementation in
small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Swedish Institute for Growth Policy Studies (ITPS)16 is responsible for
policy intelligence, evaluations and IT statistics. The institute conducts policy
intelligence studies to help policymakers develop viable growth policies and was
recently commissioned by the government to publish a comprehensive evaluation
of Swedish IT policy (also available in English).

The Swedish Agency for Innovation System17, VINNOVA, integrates research


and development in technology, transport and working life. VINNOVAs mission
is to promote sustainable growth by financing R&D and developing effective
innovation systems. Some 30% of VINNOVAs total funding is allocated to ITrelated projects.

Special committees
In June 2003 the Delegation on Public E-services for the development of electronic
services in the public sector was formed. The task of the delegation is to create a base for
increased co-operation between the state, county councils and municipalities regarding
electronic services. Another ambition is to establish new methods of collaboration among
the three parties.18
In addition, a strategy group was established in the summer of 2003.19 It belongs
organisationally to the government offices. A decision has also been taken to establish an
e-agency with the task to work on standardisation and norms for information exchange
between public agencies.

Industrial research institutes and universities


Industrial research institutes and universities influence policy making in the sense that
they provide information, conduct research and take an active role in Swedens IT policy
debate. ACREO, St. Anna, SICS, SITI, Framkom and the Viktoria Institute are all
examples of industrial institutes with a clear focus on IT. Representatives from universities with an IT focus are frequently invited to take part in hearings and investigations
in the policy area.

Foundations and research councils


A number of foundations and research councils fund IT-related R&D. Some of the
most influential are: the Knowledge Foundation, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic
Research, the Swedish Research Council and the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary
Foundation. The foundations have considerable freedom and can, by directing funding,
both facilitate and hinder the implementation of government policy.

Other organisations with an influence on policy making


The Federation of County Councils and Swedish Association of Local Authorities20
has the task of co-ordinating and representing the member organisations in discussions
with the government. The organisation has been given the responsibility to follow IT
development from a regional and local perspective.

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The Association of Swedish Engineering Industries21 has some 3 000 member


companies, and includes many of Swedens IT companies. The objective of the
association is to reinforce its member companies international competitiveness and longterm profitability, for instance by conducting R&D and business intelligence.
The Association of IT enterprises22 is an industry organisation specific to the IT
sector and serves as a forum and lobbyist. The association promotes greater use of IT in
Sweden and provides support for the development of individual member companies by
promoting business opportunities, removing barriers and providing member services. This
is mainly done by influencing decision makers and those that mould public opinion.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA)23 is an independent
arena for the exchange of knowledge. By initiating and stimulating contacts between
experts from different disciplines and countries, IVA promotes cross-fertilisation between
industry, academia, public administration and various interest groups in order to generate
new ideas and knowledge. IVA is divided into twelve divisions, which hold regular
meetings and organise their own special activities. Division XII focuses on IT.
The Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers (CF) protects the interests of its
members in three different ways: as a professional association, in labour negotiations and
as an advisory body to its members. As the major union for employees in the IT sector,
CF has an important role in setting the Swedish IT agenda. CF influences the debate
through direct contacts with decision makers in trade and industry and society in general
(lobbyist). The association is also a recognised official reference body.

IT companies
Large Swedish IT companies influence policy making more directly than the industry
associations. Government clerks regularly meet with representatives from these
companies. Occasionally industry representatives are invited to take part in work groups,
but many times they approach the government clerks in order to discuss pressing issues.

Media
Newspapers and other media channels are extremely receptive to news about IT,
largely because of the economic importance of Ericsson. There are currently a handful of
newspapers, such as Computer Sweden and Ny Teknik, with a particular focus on the IT
sector, and most of the big influential newspapers, such as Svenska Dagbladet and
Dagens Industri, have special sections devoted to the development of the IT sector.24

Informal personal networks


Sweden is a small country with a limited number of persons active in different parts
of the IT sector and the policy system. A general observation is that Sweden has
something of a tradition to limit and control the number of representatives and
organisations that tend to be invited into policy-relevant discussions. Representatives of
these organised interests often know each other and are frequently part of strong networks
of influence (berg, 1997; Rothstein, 1999; SOU, 1999:121; Hall and Lfgren, 2004).
The persons in the networks are often called policy entrepreneurs25 and they
influence the system by aggressively marketing their pet ideas (favourite solutions).
Their strength lies in their ability to soften up policies and make issues attractive to
policy makers.

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The policy entrepreneurs whose pet idea is IT have made (and still make) a
substantial difference to Swedish IT policy. They work by providing and confirming all
sorts of information through various informal networks on all policy levels. Even if these
networks can distribute information efficiently, they might be an obstacle when it comes
to introducing new persons and ideas into influential policy spheres. The degree of path
dependency and private agendas in these networks is, in other words, quite high.

Strategy and evaluation of IT policy


The IT policy strategy group26
As noted above, an IT policy strategy group was established in the summer of 2003,
and during the first year it created four internal teams that focus on education and
learning, health care, growth and availability and trust. Compared to the IT Commission27
the IT policy strategy group is more tightly bound by government instructions. In some
ways the IT Commission was more of a lobby organisation with a high degree of freedom
and its own independent agenda. The IT policy strategy group has, in a broad sense, two
aims:

To improve co-ordination this includes improving co-ordination within IT


policy and trying out new work models.

To generate opinion and create a debate about the future of IT this includes
conveying to the public that IT can be a catalyst for innovation and growth.

The group is expected to contribute a holistic perspective and formulate goals that can
be evaluated. Another issue is to raise awareness of the need for IT statistics in order to
follow and evaluate development in different policy sectors. Its task also includes:

Dialogues with state secretaries. The strategy group is to keep state secretaries in
different ministries continuously informed about IT projects and activities.

Establishment of an inter-ministerial group. The strategy group, together with the


Minister for Infrastructure, brings together political advisors from different
ministries. The aim is to create an active forum with participants/delegates from
all ministries so that national IT policy can be co-ordinated.

Contribution to co-ordination within the public sector by assisting the


Commission for Public E-services achieve smooth co-operation among
government authorities, local authorities and other parts of the public sector.

Since a new national IT bill will be presented in 2005, the main issue for the IT policy
strategy group in the short run is to collect and present proposals and recommendations
that can be used as input in the formulation of the new bill. All IT policy projects, related
actions and information released by the group will be available on a Web site. A
collection of examples will also be used to highlight and stimulate the diffusion of best
practice.

Evaluation of Swedish IT policy


An evaluation of Swedish IT policy 2001-03 was commissioned by the Swedish
government and completed in November 2003.28 The evaluation, conducted by ITPS (the
Swedish Institute for Growth Policy Studies), had several purposes: to help prioritise the
different areas of IT policy; to help clarify boundaries of responsibilities among the actors

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in the IT sector;29 and to contribute to government management principles (management


by rules, management by result), as well as principles of financing, evaluation and
control. The evaluation is of interest both because of the content and because it provides
an example of policy co-ordination.

Methodology and co-ordination of work


Even though the evaluation was conducted by consultants, the process involved
several representatives from ministries and government agencies. There were also
reference groups with participants from the government, agencies and experts as well as
several hearings with stakeholders. In all, 13 thematic reports were commissioned and
submitted30 and these reports (in addition to the hearings and discussions) formed the
basis for the main report.

Recommendations from the evaluation


According to the ITPS evaluation, horizontal communication and co-ordination
between political areas and activities is insufficient in Sweden on all political levels. As a
result, the work on how IT can be of support in specific policy areas has been delayed and
involuntarily limited to a few aspects of the policy spectrum. The lack of incentives for
co-ordination has in other words probably considerably slowed the implementation of
IT policy.
The main results concern the requirements for a future IT policy that can be used to
prioritise policy areas. These requirements focus on general aspects; they include for
instance the notion that a new IT policy should have a long-term perspective, centre on
strategic problem areas in society, be durable and consistent (i.e. a learning policy) and
focus on users, rather than producers.
References to innovation and innovation policy are basically of two kinds. First, IT is
considered an important instrument to achieve the renewal of trade and industry, and
second, IT is seen as a force to release resources that can increase core activities in the
public sector. Innovation policy has in other words, according to the evaluation, a direct
connection to IT policy.
There are limited recommendations on government principles and boundaries of
responsibilities. In general, a horizontal policy is needed in order to: avoid suboptimisation, create synergy effects and obtain a holistic picture of IT and its effects on
society. The evaluation makes it clear that each policy area has full responsibility to
implement IT. The suggestion is therefore to give concerned ministries an assignment to
draw up a strategy for ways in which activities should be designed in order to take full
advantage of the potential of IT. These strategies are then to be revised every two years.
A prerequisite is that the objectives should be formulated in a way that enables evaluation.
The recommendations from the evaluation have so far been used within the administration as input in discussions about policy formulation, and concerned ministries and
government agencies have been invited to react to the evaluation.

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Co-ordination within the IT policy area
Mechanisms for horizontal co-ordination
Government work in Sweden is carried out both within the government and within the
more or less independent government agencies. The result of this division of labour is a
need for co-ordination at several levels.
Co-ordination among policy areas is often labelled horizontal co-ordination. This type
of co-ordination involves both high-level co-ordination (members of government) and coordination among agencies. Horizontal co-ordination can also relate to different stages of
the policy process: agenda setting, prioritisation, learning and adapting to change, and
policy implementation. In particular the early stages (agenda setting and prioritisation)
require good co-ordination.
The Swedish government model involves extensive use of investigations, studies,
bills, hearings and focus-group discussions at different levels of the public administration.
This provides the opportunity to gain approval for actions and suggestions, and it is an
efficient way of gathering information and developing knowledge. Second, it provides
arenas in which the different actors and stakeholders meet. Representatives from organisations and agencies get the same messages and contributions to their frames of
references and meet to discuss common issues. Such co-ordination activities provide
information especially for the processes of prioritisation, but they are also a way of
preparing for the implementation phase of the policy process.
Another mechanism for co-ordination is a yearly survey by the Ministry of Finance.
Among other things, suggestions of formulations to be used to govern the agencies are
proposed and distributed for opinions within the government. These formulations can
facilitate the process of writing yearly directives to government agencies and are a tool to
facilitate coherence and co-ordination in policy implementation.
In addition temporary working groups and committees are set up by different
ministries and can be used for co-ordination although this may not be their main purpose.
The groups can have assignments related to all stages of the policy process, although
agenda setting and implementation are probably the most frequent. The IT policy strategy
group is a good example (see the discussion above).

High-level co-ordination
High-level co-ordination in Sweden is in this context defined as co-ordination
between ministers, and concerns first and foremost agenda setting. Co-ordination between
ministers is influenced and complicated by the fact that it involves the distribution of
financial resources. In reality this means that co-ordination per se is seldom an option, if
there are no clear incentives, such as the potential loss of control over resources. Coordination within the government is crucial to all parts of the policy process, although
agenda setting and adjustments of the agenda are the most time-consuming.
Co-ordination among government clerks is facilitated by a formal system called
delning (sharing), which invites all concerned divisions (in different ministries) to give
their opinion or to provide information on specific issues. In IT policy, this is a wellfunctioning mechanism as long as financial issues can be resolved. Implementation of IT
policy has a tendency to involve large investments and extensive consumption of
resources, a problem when resources are scarce.

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In 1999, a structured attempt was made to create ministerial co-ordination of IT


policy. A number of ministers/state secretaries were to meet regularly to discuss IT
policy. The attempt failed since the group only met infrequently and was never very
active. There may be several reasons, but one critical factor was the lack of incentives to
achieve functional co-ordination. It is worth stressing that this initiative was taken during
a period when IT was on everyones agenda. The issue was therefore prioritised, but not
the co-ordination of actions. According to interviews with a stakeholder who took part in
the initiative, the failure can partly be explained by the fact that co-ordination between
ministers must be supported (or demanded) by the prime minister in order to be effective.

Co-ordination between government agencies


Co-ordination between government agencies mostly involves agenda setting, but
there seems to be a need to put more effort into co-ordination of the implementation of IT
policy.
The Swedish government structure, with its far-reaching decentralisation and
freestanding agencies, delegates responsibility and implementation efficiently but offers
few possibilities for formal co-ordination on different levels. There are no, or very few,
incentives to co-ordinate government agencies today. This has been pointed out as one of
the factors that have slowed implementation of IT policy.
The possibility to have an impact on policy making and to add questions to the
agenda is considered a strong incentive for government agencies to co-ordinate with other
actors (i.e. not other agencies). Note for instance that, when it comes to voluntary coordination and partnership, interest groups and lobby organisations seem to be more
frequent partners than government agencies. From a governance perspective, it would be
useful if such co-ordination and liaison took place between government agencies.

Critical issues related to co-ordination


Even if the system works well in a general sense, some serious flaws can still be
identified. For instance, the ITPS evaluation of IT policy shows that insufficient coordination has negatively affected the implementation of IT policy. With improved coordination, more actions could have been implemented. To make this co-ordination
possible there is a need for better incentives to co-ordinate.
The wish to introduce the 24/7 Agency (e-governance) has, according to some
concerned stakeholders, suffered from the fact that responsibility for implementation is
delegated to the authorities but not co-ordinated by the government. More specifically,
there has not been sufficient pressure from the government level, and there is a lack of
incentives to co-operate in developing the needed information systems. One effect of this
is the risk of insufficient compatibility and usability between systems.
There are also indications that it has become more difficult to co-ordinate IT policy.
In 1999, when the IT bill An information society for all was produced, IT was still on
everyones agenda and it was quite easy to motivate several ministries to contribute to the
process. Since realisation of IT policy nowadays includes both high costs and large
investments, few ministries are willing to be involved. Having an explicit overall strategy
with common visions and responsibilities might however both reduce the risk of conflict
and facilitate a creative dialogue.

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Concluding remarks
The overall impression from interviews and discussions with policy makers is a
strong awareness of the difficult balance between co-ordination and sector responsibility.
On the one hand, the Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communication has no
formal authority to co-ordinate IT policy except for issues that are not part of a specific
ministrys responsibility. On the other hand, the IT policy strategy group (commissioned
by the MIEC) has declared that it will focus on finding ways to facilitate co-ordination
both inside and outside the government and the agencies. In addition, the Minister for
Communication and Regional Policy has the ambition to systematically meet ministers to
discuss IT questions (within their areas of responsibility). There are, in fact several signs
of more horizontalisation in the current IT policy.
It may be important to stress that not all issues are to be co-ordinated. The goal is that
every minister should take full responsibility for IT issues within his or her ministry. The
MIEC must therefore also be careful in its co-ordination attempts and focus on issues that
are not the responsibility of a single ministry.

Links between IT policy and innovation policy


IT policy and innovation policy have some common denominators: their horizontal
character (they embrace several policy areas), the need for engagement from several
ministers, and the need for co-ordination. This is also why it is interesting to study and
compare these two policy areas from a structural perspective. Another implication of
these similarities is that several policy activities can be looked upon both as a part of IT
policy and as a part of innovation policy. Many policy initiatives that are relevant as
examples of connections between the two policy areas would actually be presented as IT
policy by IT policy makers and as innovation policy by innovation policy makers. One
example is the so-called Employee Computer Reform (Personaldatorreformen)
which started in 1998.

The case of Employee Computer Reform


The Employee Computer Reform was originally based on a proposal from the IT
Commission. Constructed as a tax deduction scheme, the objective was simply to achieve
an increase in the Swedish populations computer literacy by making personal computers
available at low cost. From a democratic point of view, this was a clear action in the field
of IT policy, with the mission to counteract the unequal distribution of access to IT.31
Computer literacy also has a bearing on innovation policy. The number of personal
computers is frequently used as an indicator of innovation in the European Commissions
European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) (European Commission, 2003). The EIS
measures the percentage of households with Internet access since use of IT is considered
an important driver of economic renewal and growth. As the Employee Computer Reform
has increased the number of computers, it has also increased the share of the population
with Internet access. In other words, the initiative can also be motivated from an
innovation policy perspective.
The Employee Computer Reform is not unique in its characteristics and provides a
good example of the many connections between IT and innovation policy

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The case of MIEC and VINNOVA


At MIEC, government clerks with responsibility for IT policy and those responsible
for innovation policy belong to the same department.32 However, until now there seem to
have been few common tasks between clerks working with IT policy and clerks working
with innovation policy. Though they share the heading of department, they respond to
different state secretaries. As a result, they seem to learn very little from each others
work. The difference in state secretary is one explanation for the weak connections
between these two groups; another is the relatively slim government organisation.33
Despite potential benefits, there seems to be very little time to make use of the others
work and search for synergies.
Much of the responsibility for co-ordinating the two policy fields has been placed on
VINNOVA. VINNOVA works with R&D funding and commercialisation from an
innovation systems perspective but also has the task to co-ordinate activities and actors
within the national innovation system. VINNOVAs funding is currently organised
according to 18 growth areas. Growth areas with relevance to IT policy are e-services in
the public administration,34 IT in home health care, telecom systems, micro- and
nanoelectronics, and software products.35
These growth areas have been analysed from an innovation system perspective and
are a foundation for programmes of action addressing the whole innovation system.
Several of VINNOVAs programmes focus on IT development and usage. This provides
opportunities to integrate innovation policy and IT policy.

Synergies and conflicts between IT policy and innovation policy


Both IT policy and innovation policy have roots in industrial policy and research
policy. Today IT policy in Sweden does not primarily focus on innovation aspects, but on
general issues such as infrastructure, information and network security, e-inclusion and
competence. However, public investments in the IT sector can still more or less be
associated with innovation policy.
The strength of the relation between the two policy areas (innovation policy and IT
policy) has varied over time. In the late 1990s, Swedish innovation policy focused
strongly on the IT sector. More recently, IT has become of much wider interest and
complexity, including societal aspects such as democracy, equality and freedom. The
current innovation policy is, therefore, only concerned with a few aspects of IT policy.
There seems to be no obvious conflict between innovation policy and IT policy, but
the temporal perspective of the two policy areas differs. Innovation policy is described as
more long-term than IT policy. Another interesting difference is the surrounding rhetoric.
Innovation policy is considered as surrounded by rhetoric, while IT policy is seen as
being based on facts. The terminology used in innovation policy is sometimes perceived
as unnecessarily complex and ambiguous. These semantic differences are obstacles to
integration between innovation policy and other policy areas.
Take IT policy. A common feature of the debate about IT in Sweden is the futuristic,
visionary nature of the language used in the media as well as in official documents and
proposals.36 IT is frequently described as a revolutionary technology that will shape the
future. In the world of tomorrow, it is IT that has solved todays challenges.

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This optimistic view of IT policy can be compared to the rhetoric in documents concerning innovation policy. Concepts such as innovation systems and clusters are seen
by some policy makers as diffuse and fuzzy, while innovation-related labels such as
mission-oriented research are looked upon with suspicion (in comparison with
curiosity-driven scientific research). While IT policy can be materialised in backbones
and fibre optics, it is a lot more difficult to find quantitative indicators for innovation
policy in the short run.

Concluding remarks
While a national evaluation has been conducted in the area of IT policy, where both
stated improvements and goals have been critically analysed and examined, no such thing
exist in the area of innovation policy. When it comes to innovation policy, evaluations are
primarily conducted at the agency level. In the long run, this might hamper the learning
mechanisms at the national level, since important knowledge may be prevented from
achieving wider distribution and an impact on national policy. The two policy areas are
still kept separated and lessons from IT policy are not transmitted to the innovation policy
field on a systematic basis. From a policy perspective, this is an obstacle to integration
between innovation policy and other policy.
In Swedish innovation strategy, IT is treated as one of several focus areas. IT is
important for innovation, but an innovation perspective can also spur IT. When it comes
to IT policy, policy makers need to be aware of the fact that the innovation system
perspective is a good analytical framework in the search for weaknesses and obstacles.
The use of the innovation systems perspective within IT policy could radically catalyse
the discovery of important new aspects and possibilities.

Conclusions
Coherence in policy making
Effectiveness
As operational decisions in Sweden are taken at a comparatively low organisational
level, there is a general need for a broader and better understanding of policy issues.
Decisions that require understanding and awareness from more than one political agenda,
which is the case when trying to achieve synergies between innovation policy and IT
policy, can be a serious source of conflict. In order to avoid such problems, the need for
co-ordinated information is high.

Efficiency
The current decentralised Swedish model can be considered as quite efficient in
individual sectors, at least when it comes to agenda setting and implementation. However,
decentralisation requires awareness and knowledge of the political agendas on many
levels. A question to be raised is whether the system is able to handle changes in these
various agendas efficiently. This is likely to depend very much on the specific policy
maker and the culture in which he or she operates. This makes the system vulnerable as it
might create serious delays in the ability to take united action.

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The ITPS evaluation of Swedish IT policy proposes prioritising horizontal policy


making. The main reasons are to avoid sub-optimisation, create synergies and facilitate
keeping or developing a holistic view of IT among both politicians and citizens. However, to succeed, it is considered necessary to formalise responsibilities for integrating
and make use of IT in other policy areas within ministries.

Critical issues in horizontal co-ordination


Incentives for co-ordination are crucial at all stages of the policy process. Rather than
altruistic reasons (such as a desire to do what is good for Sweden), the overall incentive
for co-ordination often related to possibilities of obtaining more resources and having
substantial impact.
Obstacles to and facilitators of co-ordination are of different kinds at different
organisational levels, depending on the level of freedom to act. Formal demands for coordination have a certain importance on all policy levels, but are considered a rather weak
means of creating smooth co-ordination. Informal communication and personal contacts
are crucial to co-ordination, but they are not enough. To have an impact a real
commitment is needed at the highest policy levels, preferably from the prime minister. It
can be somewhat of a pedagogical challenge to show why co-ordination has the ability to
create a win-win situation.
Another critical issue is the existence of organisational barriers. Barriers to coordination between innovation policy and IT policy in Sweden have, to some extent, been
eliminated in the sense that government clerks who are currently responsible for these
policy areas work in the same administrative department. This can facilitate coordination, but the fact that different state secretaries are responsible for the two policy
areas keeps them apart. Except for delning (sharing), co-ordination at the ministry level
depends significantly on the enthusiasm of the head of department and the involved
government clerks. Some attempts to increase co-ordination within ministries have been
detected, but they are at this point not strong enough.
There is also a difference in time perspective. Innovation policy is considered to have
a longer time perspective than IT policy, partly owing to its systems approach. (This
might sometimes be used as an excuse not to co-ordinate.) To be able to co-ordinate
policy actions, an overall strategy with a common timeframe may be of crucial
importance.
Another important obstacle to co-ordination is rhetorical barriers between the policy
areas of IT policy and innovation policy. Innovation policy is considered abstract and
surrounded by relatively inaccessible theoretical concepts. In a slim organisation such as
the government, this can be a major obstacle when trying to take advantage of the others
work and policy initiatives. Accessible concepts and a common language are crucial to
co-ordination as well as to communication. Semantic differences must be taken seriously
as they can prevent mutual learning and the search for synergies.

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Notes
1.

Contribution partly by Erik Hrnell. The section is based on Johansson (2004).

2.

The discussion was influenced by futuristic visions presented in Japan and France which focused on the
consequences of a more technological society, and how structures and relations would be altered as a
result of new computers (Hall and Lfgren, 2004).

3.

The central theme of the reports was that better communication networks would give people access to
valuable information, a prerequisite for economic growth and prosperity.

4.

For more information on the IT Commission and an analysis of IT policy focus during this period, see
Santesson-Wilson (2003) (in Swedish).

5.

There were also a number of committees with regional responsibility for IT policy (Hall and Lfgren,
2004).

6.

tgrder fr att bredda och utveckla anvndningen av informationsteknik (Prop. 1995/96:125).

7.

Ett informationssamhlle fr alla (Prop. 1999/2000:86).

8.

The first committee report, Broadband for Nationwide Growth was presented 1999. Several investigations and evaluations have been carried out since and a new one has recently been commissioned to the
National Post and Telecom Agency (PTS).

9.

VinniTel was originally initiated by the county administrative board of Stockholm under the title:
Development programme for the IT/telecom sector viewed in the light of the given notice from
Ericsson (Utvecklingsprogram fr IT/Telekomsektorn mot bakgrund av Ericsson-varsel) (Ericsson,
2002).

10.

The first project was implemented during 1998-2001 under the responsibility of the Royal Swedish
Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), the Swedish National Board for Industrial and Technical
Development (NUTEK) (now superseded by VINNOVA), the Swedish Foundation for Strategic
Research and the Federation of Swedish Industries and had an overall budget of some EUR 3.7 million.
The second project was implemented during 2003-04, and was partly an update of the first technology
foresight project with an overall budget of some EUR 1.5 million. Both projects were conducted in close
co-operation with the government, companies, public agencies and other interested parties. For more
information, see Teknisk framsyn (2004).

11.

Based on the ITPS report, IT-politikens ansvarsfrdelning och styrning.

12.

Statskontoret, Vad r 24-timmarsmyndigheten?


www.24-timmarsmyndigheten.se/DynPage.aspx?id=901&mn1=453
Regeringskansliet, Frvaltningsutveckling, www.regeringen.se/sb/d/2005

13.

ISA: www.isa.se

14.

PTS: www.pts.se

15.

NUTEK: www.nutek.se

16.

PTS: www.itps.se

17.

VINNOVA: www.vinnova.se

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185

18.

Regeringskansliet, Exempel p statliga samordningsinitiativ p IT-omrdet


www.regeringen.se/sb/d/2373/a/16358

19.

Regeringskansliet IT-politisk strategigrupp, www.regeringen.se/sb/d/2495

20.

Svenska Kommun och Landstingsfrbundet, www.lf.svekom.se

21.

Teknikfretagen: www.teknikforetagen.se

22.

Svenska IT-fretagens organisation: www.itforetagen.se

23.

IVA: www.iva.se

24.

Computer Sweden: www.idg.se/cs


Dagens industri: www.di.se
Ny Teknik: www.nyteknik.se
Svenska Dagbladet: www.svd.se

25.

Kingdon (1984) defines policy entrepreneurs as people willing to invest resources in return for future
policies in their favour.

26.

Regeringskansliet, Regeringens IT-politiska strategigrupp, status report, June 2004. Official Web site:
www.regeringen.se/sb/d/2495/m/wai

27.

For information about the IT Commission, see IT-kommissionen, Vlkommen till IT-kommissionen,
www.itkommissionen.se/index-2.html

28.

ITPS, En lrande IT-politik fr tillvxt och vlfrd (A Learning ICT Policy for Growth and Welfare,
ITPS final report on its assignment of evaluating Swedish ICT policy),
www.itps.se/pdf/A2003_015_en.pdf

29.

This concerns for example the magnitude/level and focus of public (state) engagement and the
distribution of responsibility between government, government agencies and between county councils
and the state.

30.

The reports are not available in English.


ITPS, Underlag till IT utvrdering, www.itps.se/publikationer/Publ_IT_utvardering.htm

31.

Of 4.3 million Swedish households, nearly 1.6 million have taken advantage of the offer. This can also
be seen in the statistics showing the increase in the number of personal computers per capita in Sweden.
In 2003, more than 80% of the Swedish population had access to a computer at home (SIKA, 2004).

32.

The Ministry for Research and Education is responsible for the Swedish research policy, which is related
to innovation policy. Communication and co-ordination between the MIEC and the Ministry for
Research and Education is an important issue, but is not discussed in this chapter.

33.

The Swedish model is based on small ministries and, in terms of employees, larger agencies.

34.

The Director General of VINNOVA is part of the government group that treats these questions.

35.

For more information see www.vinnova.se

36.

For example: A Future IT Infrastructure for Sweden, An Information Society for All and
Information Technology Wings to Human Ability. [Swedish titles: Informationsteknologin Vingar
t mnniskans frmga (SOU 1994:18); Framtidssker IT-infrastruktur fr Sverige (SOU 1999:134);
Ett informationssamhlle fr alla (Prop. 1999/2000:86)].
For more information and further reports, see the IT Commissions official Web page:
www.itkommissionen.se.

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References
Government bills (Propositions)
1963: Computer bill addressing internal IT policy (Proposition 1963:85)
1985: Computer policy (Proposition 1984/85:220)
1994: Education and research (1993/94:177)
1996: Measures to broaden and develop the utilisation of IT (Prop. 1995/96:125)
1998: Public administration in the service of the citizens (Prop 1997/98:136)
2000: An information society for all (Prop. 1999/2000:86)
2001: Research and renewal (Prop. 2000/2001:3).
2002: R&D within the innovation system (Prop. 2001/02:2)
2003: Law on electronic communication (prop. 2002/03:110).

Interviews
We have conducted interviews with three senior clerks at the Ministry for Industry,
Employment and Communication, and two at VINNOVA.

General references
Ericsson, P. et al. (2002), VinniTel, VINNOVA, Stockholm.
European Commission, European Scoreboard of Innovation 2003,
http://trendchart.cordis.lu/scoreboard2003/index.html
Hall, P. and K. Lfgren (2004), The Rise and Decline of a Visionary Policy: An
Analysis of Swedish ICT Policy, unpublished paper, Malm University, School of
Technology and Society.
ITPS, A Learning ICT Policy for Growth and Welfare,
www.itps.se/pdf/A2003_015_en.pdf
ITPS, IT-politikens ansvarsfrdelning och styrning,
www.itps.se/publikationer/Publ_IT_utvardering.htm
ITPS, Underlag till IT-utvrdering,
www.itps.se/publikationer/Publ_IT_utvardering.htm
Johansson, M., Smart, Fast and Beautiful: On Rhetoric of Technology and Computing
Discourse in Sweden, 1955-1995,
www.ep.liu.se/diss/arts_science/1997/164/index.html
Kingdon, J. (1984), Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies, Little Brown, Boston.

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TOWARDS THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: THE CASE OF SWEDEN

Rergeringskansliet, Ett informationssamhlle fr alla en skrift om svensk IT- politik,


www.regeringen.se/sb/d/257/a/2204
Regeringskansliet, Exempel p statliga samordningsinitiativ p IT-omrdet,
www.regeringen.se/sb/d/2373/a/16358
Regeringskansliet, Forskning, www.regeringen.se/sb/d/2470
Regeringskansliet, Frvaltningsutveckling, www.regeringen.se/sb/d/2005
Regeringskansliet, Informationssamhllet, www.regeringen.se/sb/d/2373
Regeringskansliet, IT-politisk strategigrupp, www.regeringen.se/sb/d/2495
Regeringskansliet, Ml, www.regeringen.se/sb/d/1468/a/14570
Regeringskansliet, Plan of Activities,
www.regeringen.se/content/1/c6/01/64/03/ead0730c.pdf
Regeringskansliet, Regeringens IT-politiska strategigrupp, status report, June 2004
Rothstein, B. (1999), Den korporativa staten, Norstedts, Stockholm.
Santesson-Wilson, P. (2003), Studier i symbolpolitik, Lund.
SIKA (2004), Facts about ICT in Sweden 2004, SIKA, Stockholm.
Statskontoret, Vad r 24-timmarsmyndigheten?
www.24-timmarsmyndigheten.se/DynPage.aspx?id=901&mn1=453
SOU, Bredband fr tillvxt i hela landet (SOU 1999:85)
SOU, Avkorporatisering och Lobbyism, (SOU 1999:121)
Teknisk framsyn, Teknisk framsyn fr Sverige, www.tekniskframsyn.nu
berg, P.O. (1997), Medborgarnas inflytande och srintressenas makt, Uppsala
University.

Agencies, institutes and organisations homepages


The Association of Swedish Engineering Industries: www.teknikforetagen.se
The Association of IT Enterprises: www.itforetagen.se
The IT commission: www.itkommissionen.se
The Institute for Growth Policy: www.itps.se
The Invest in Sweden Agency: www.isa.se
The National Post and Telecom Agency: www.pts.se
The Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems: www.vinnova.se
The Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers: www.cf.se
The Swedish Business Development Agency: www.nutek.se
The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences: www.iva.se
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities (SALA) and the Federation of Swedish
County Councils (FCC): www.lf.svekom.se

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Newspaper homepages
Computer Sweden: www.idg.se/cs
Dagens Industri: www.di.se
Ny Teknik: www.nyteknik.se
Svenska Dagbladet: www.svd.se

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Part 2
GOVERNANCE IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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POLICY INTEGRATION: THE CASE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN FINLAND

Chapter 8
POLICY INTEGRATION:
THE CASE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN FINLAND
Mari Hjelt, Sanna Ahvenharju, Mikko Halonen and Mikko Syrjnen

This chapter describes a study of Finnish sustainable development that took place in two
stages. First a broad review of the national sustainable development strategy was performed, and several sectoral policy domains were analysed to identify processes for
integrating or discussing the integration of sustainable development issues in sectoral
policies. The second stage consisted of three case studies with a strong environmental
policy focus as a way to analyse the interaction of innovation policy and sustainable
development policy. In both stages, a similar framework was used to describe policy
processes related to agenda setting, design and implementation of policy measures and
policy learning.
In spite of the challenges for expanding science and technology policy to a broader
innovation policy, such broadening is necessary from the sustainable development point
of view. The biggest challenges are at the level of agenda setting. There is a need to
strengthen mechanisms for setting priorities and for anticipating and handling conflicts.
There is also a need to increase the participation of different stakeholders in the priority
setting processes. Special attention should be paid to long-term foresight work to explore
future opportunities. At the level of design and implementation, such expansion requires
new types of policy measures. To produce them, the knowledge base and the multidisciplinarity of innovation policy actors should be increased. Innovation policy needs to
design and test new types of actions. Generally, the roles of policy learning and policy
advice will increase. In this area the study revealed relatively few strong and formal coordination and co-operation efforts. There is a need to strengthen critical, evaluative,
objective, forward-looking and cross-cutting policy-oriented research that addresses
sustainable development themes.

Introduction
The term sustainable development has entered common language to describe a
general guiding principle for promoting societal development without increasing the
environmental burden.1 To achieve sustainable development requires a holistic, futureoriented approach to development, taking into account the interdependence of various
environmental, economic and societal issues. However, despite the broad definition and
the aim to integrate all three pillars of sustainable development into policy discussion,
policy interaction and integration remain a major challenge. For example, in the environmental policy domain, often seen as spearheading the sustainable development debate, the
focus is still largely on the ecological dimension.
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This chapter focuses on the sustainable development challenge from the innovation
policy perspective. The key challenge is that both innovation policy and sustainable
development policy concepts are dynamic and continuously evolving. In Finland, innovation policy has largely been defined as science and technology (S&T) policy. However,
the definition has moved beyond pure S&T issues towards a more holistic concept.2 In
sustainable development policy, there has been for a decade an emphasis on the
broadening of the traditional environmental/ecological focus to incorporate societal and
economic dimensions in a more balanced manner. However, it is hard to identify a clear
sustainable development policy domain.3 In Finland, sustainable development policy is
viewed in terms of environmental policy and related policy processes. Thus, this chapter
mainly focuses on interactions between two recognised sectoral policy domains S&T
policy and environmental policy. However, to develop initial guidelines for expanding
innovation policy to take account of sustainable development, the present study aimed to
analyse the evolution and status of sustainable development policy, evaluating both
whether such a policy domain can be identified and in what directions it is likely to
develop in the future.
The Finnish sustainable development study took place in two stages. First a broad
review of the national sustainable development strategy was performed, and several
sectoral policy domains were analysed to identify processes for integrating or
discussing the integration of sustainable development issues in sectoral policies. The
second stage consisted of three case studies with a strong environmental policy focus as a
way to analyse the interaction of innovation policy and sustainable development policy.4
In both stages, a similar methodology was used to describe policy processes (see below).
This chapter first presents an overview of the definitions and scope of the study and a
description of the methodology used to describe the policy processes. Next, the
development and status of sustainable development policy in Finland are summarised,
followed by a presentation of the main observations and analysis results. The chapter
ends with the main conclusions and recommendations.

The Finnish case study methodology


Overview of policy domains, their integration and other definitions
The overall aim of the MONIT work is to analyse needs for and future directions of
innovation policy. It is widely recognised that there is a move from traditionally narrow
S&T policy towards a broader concept of innovation policy, covering all public
initiatives regarding science, education, research, technological development, industrial
modernisation, overlapping also with industrial, environmental, labour and social
policies (Edler et al., 2003). New directions are clearly needed, and one driver behind
the need to broaden the scope of innovation policy is that todays innovations, no
longer focused on purely technological innovations, also encompass the broader context
of organisational, institutional, design-related or any other significant changes that
provide added value to users. Although this broader concept is not new, it is time to take
it concretely into account to reshape national S&T policy.5
The challenge for studying the status and role of the interaction between sustainable
development and innovation policy is that both policy domains are evolving in a complex, dynamic environment. Figure 8.1 illustrates the position of the different policy
domains of interest for studying sustainable development. First, sustainable development
and innovation policies are largely horizontal issues that are not necessarily clearly
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defined policy domains. Second, the case studies focus on two sectoral policy domains,
S&T and environmental policy, both of which are traditionally vertically organised.
Figure 8.1. Horizontal and vertical dimensions of different policy domains
Innovation policy
Horizontal dimension
Governmental responsibility
for sustainable development

Verticaldimension
Science and technology policy

Sustainable
development
policy

Verticaldimension
Environmental policy

Source: Adapted from Ruud and Larsen (2004).

For this study, four main interactions were of primary interest:

First, processes related to the formulation of horizontal sustainable development


policy (existence of a horizontal sustainable development policy).

Second, whether horizontal innovation policy encompassing sustainable development principles exists (existence of horizontal innovation policy).

Third, how horizontal sustainable development or environmental principles are


taken into account in the S&T policy domain (absorption of horizontal principles
within a sectoral domain).

Fourth, existing policy processes aimed at increasing the interaction between


S&T and environmental policies (horizontal interaction among sectoral policies).

There are several complementary approaches to analysing these interactions. First, the
role of innovation both technologies and other sources of change in providing
solutions to the sustainable development challenges can be analysed. For example, one
might examine the role of technologies in providing solutions to climate change
challenges or the negative role of new innovations in increasing energy demand. R&D
processes in companies and research institutes have been the subject of several studies
aimed at understanding the processes needed to find such solutions. Second, the drivers of
these innovations can be analysed in order to understand the role of different policy
measures in innovation. For example, energy taxation has a big role in creating new
markets for technologies that do not affect climate. Third, the means taken by innovation
policy S&T policy to solve sustainable development challenges can be analysed. For
example, one might look at the extent to which technology policy makers have
participated in the drafting of the national climate change strategy. For all three areas
much research material is available (e.g. Technopolis, 2004; Boekholt, 2002; Hilden et
al., 2002; Markusson, 2001; Loikkanen and Hongisto, 2000). MONIT has particularly
focused on the third research area, studying interaction, horizontal co-ordination and

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governance between separate policy domains (see Figure 8.2) and this focus is also
adopted here.
Figure 8.2. Overview of innovations, sustainable development challenges, policy measures and policy
domains
Actions of companies, NGOs, citizens, research community...

Innovations

Sustainable development challenges

Provide
solutions
Create new
problems

Stimulation

Economic

Policy measures

Science and technology


policy
Other policies

Horizontal co-ordination

Social

Environmental

Regulation, stimulation

Environmental
policy
Other policies

Actions of policy makers

In examining different horizontal interactions, evaluation criteria have to be defined.


The MONIT work is generally concerned with developing practices and mechanisms that
ensure coherence, defined as referring to horizontal, vertical and temporal coherence.
Horizontal coherence ensures that individual or sectoral policies complement and
build on each other, minimising inconsistencies such as (seemingly) conflicting goals.
Vertical coherence ensures that public outputs are consistent with the original intentions
of policy makers. Temporal coherence ensures that todays policies continue to be
effective in the future by limiting potential incoherence and providing guidance for
change. This concept of coherence is close to the concept of policy integration which
requires that all significant consequences of policy decisions are recognised as decision
premises, where policy options are evaluated on the basis of the effects on some
aggregate measures of utility, and where the different policy elements are in accordance
with each other (Underdal, 1980). A special case of this general principle is the
requirement of environmental policy integration (EPI) that focuses on mechanisms for
integrating environmental concerns into other policy domains (e.g. Lafferty, 2004;
Mickwitz and Kivimaa, 2005). For example, the Norwegian sustainable development case
study explicitly focused on developing tools for the monitoring of EPI (Lafferty et al.,
Chapter 9 in this volume; Ruud and Larsen, 2004). The same types of integration
principles and rules could be developed for integrating social aspects of sustainable
development (e.g. poverty reduction, equity, gender balance) into other policy domains
along with tools for monitoring and ensuring compliance.

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It is clear from the Finnish study that the concept of coherence is multifaceted and
that analysis of the interaction among policies starts from a variety of positions.
Furthermore, it was a question whether there is only one way to ensure policy coherence.
There are instances in which the internal coherence of innovation policy may suffer from
strong integration with other policies. To analyse the different dimensions of integration,
three case studies were chosen; they are described in more detail below. Furthermore, no
explicit criteria were used to evaluate the policy processes. Instead, a structured
framework for monitoring the policy processes was used.

Learning from the policy processes the policy cycle framework


The Finnish sustainable development case study used the policy cycle framework to
structure observations and recommendations.6 The decision to focus on policy processes
reflects the aim of MONIT to collect evidence of horizontal practices without evaluating
their success in detail. An overview of the policy cycle is presented in Figure 8.3.
Figure 8.3. The different parts of the policy cycle

Agenda
setting
Design

National
National
strategy
strategy

Strategic
Strategic
intelligence
intelligence

Policy
learning

Sector
Sector
policies
policies

Policy
Policy
evaluation
evaluation

Implementation
Implementation
strategies
strategies

Performance
Performance
evaluation
evaluation

Instrument
Instrument
set
set--up
up

Impact
Impact
evaluation
evaluation

Evaluation

Implementation

The overall process consists of eight interactive stages (inner circle in Figure 8.3)
which can be distributed among five overall phases:7 agenda setting, design, implementation, evaluation and policy learning (pictured counter-clockwise in the figure):

Agenda setting covers the processes needed to define the policy objectives. This
includes both national strategy and sectoral strategies. This part of the policy
cycle is strongly influenced by different interest groups and is based on the results
of policy needs analysis. It also includes understanding why certain issues are on
the political agenda and how they got there. This part also includes processes
involved and decisions made to set up national organisational structures.

Design covers the part of the policy cycle in which the issues on the policy
agenda are formulated into concrete initiatives, programmes or policies. This
involves an assessment of the situation and of the needs and development of
concrete actions.

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The implementation part of the policy cycle refers to the implementation of the
policy measures developed in the previous phase. It is important to see this as a
separate phase as the experience of implementation is often very different from
that of designing initiatives, owing to contextual changes and practical trade-offs.

Evaluation is an important part of the policy cycle. Formulated and implemented


policies are assessed, often through ex post evaluations but increasingly also ex
ante. Evaluation activities are often systematic and formal, with a clear focus on
providing recommendations for further development of policy actions.

Policy learning covers all the research, analysis and interaction processes that
together enable strategic understanding of the development requirements of the
policy system. Policy learning is defined as all those processes by which policy
systems generate and incorporate knowledge and understanding about: i) the
underlying causes and conditions of policies and initiatives; and ii) the effects of
policy and initiatives. This knowledge is derived throughout the policy cycle and
policy learning provides feed-back to all stages.

This policy cycle framework does not provide a tool either to evaluate the processes
or suggest actions. However, by focusing on governance issues in particular on the
status of policy co-ordination and integration it allows for deriving recommendations
for developing the systemic coherence and capabilities needed to advance integration.
Some generic observations can also be made on the conditions for successful integration
of innovation and sustainable development. By structuring observations in this manner,
the approach is generic and applicable to any policy domain.

Finnish case study material


In the first stage, information was collected and collated to get an overview of Finnish
national sustainable development policy. The main aims were to establish whether such a
policy domain can be defined and determine the processes and actors related to its
implementation. This stage also explored the linkages between sustainable development
and national innovation policy.
In the second stage, three case studies were selected for detailed analysis of individual
policy issues. A short overview of the case studies is given in Box 8.1. Each was selected
with a view to presenting a clear, logical link with technology, under the assumption that
horizontal co-ordination with S&T policy would be justified. At the same time, they did
not represent the core area of S&T policy and thus were not part of the normal S&T
policy processes.8 They also reflect different types of needs for building interaction
among policy domains:

Need to handle political and societal issues that are high on the political
agenda. Such issues are prone to political conflict but cannot be solved in a single
sectoral policy domain. Often the objectives of different policy domains may be
in conflict. To look more closely at one such issue, case study 1 looks at the
process of formulating Finlands national climate strategy.

Need to create new business opportunities that enhance sustainable development. The most obvious and the most often highlighted reason for the need for
co-ordination between innovation policy and sustainable development policy is
that innovations that promote sustainable development can help new businesses to
emerge. Interaction in this area is a clear win-win opportunity for the policy

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domains as their objectives are aligned. Innovation policy is seen as a stimulator


of new knowledge and new solutions that can be used to solve the problems in
other policy domains. The environmental cluster programme that was meant to
enhance business opportunities in the environmental sector was selected as case
study 2.

Need to understand policy actions that affect the innovation framework but
are not high on the political agenda. Certain policy issues that affect innovation
and are relevant to innovation policy are not high on the political agenda of any
policy domain. The regulatory framework is an example, and it often attracts little
attention. The revision of the Finnish Environmental Protection Act was taken as
case study 3 to represent regulatory change.

These three situations are examined separately, as optimising the outcome may
require different tools. From the innovation policy point of view, one of the challenges is
to recognise when innovation policy should be more proactive, although it is also a
challenge to recognise whether this may be undesirable (and why) in some contexts. It
should be recognised that the three case studies and the conclusions drawn do not
constitute a comprehensive view of all of the types of situations that policy domains
confront.
Box 8.1. Finlands three case studies on sustainable development
Case study 1: The National Climate Strategy (NCS)
This case study concentrated on the formation of the Finnish climate strategy and the elaboration of the
national climate change programme in the wake of the Kyoto Protocol. The first international commitments
on climate change date back to the early 1990s, and the foundation for international and national responses
was formulated in the Kyoto Protocol. The case study covers the preparation of the Finnish climate strategy
from 1999 until its adoption in 2001. Hence, the impact of climate change and the implementation of the
Finnish strategy were not studied.
As part of the burden-sharing package among EU member states, Finland committed itself in 1999 to
stabilise its emissions to the 1990 level of approximately 76.5 million CO2 tons during the first commitment
period of the Protocol. To comply with this commitment, the Finnish government appointed in spring 1999
an inter-ministerial working group, the Kyoto Group, to prepare a national action plan.
The National Climate Strategy (NCS) was elaborated and based on sectoral programmes put together by the
Ministries of Trade and Industry (MTI), Environment (MoE), Agriculture and Forestry and Transport and
Communications which indicated how their sectors might contribute to the required greenhouse gas (GHG)
emission reductions. The ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs were also involved but did not produce
sector-specific climate programmes.
The ministries offered several studies in support of their work on the sectoral programmes. Based on the
sectoral programmes and available research, a common background report for the NCS was elaborated by a
network of administrative representatives from the above six ministries (the so-called Kyoto Network).
The MTI was responsible for integrating the sectoral programmes into the background report, in cooperation with the other ministries. The Kyoto Group, consisting of the respective ministers and chaired by
the MTI, was responsible for preparing the NCS, which was approved by the government in 2001.
(continued)

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Box 8.1. Finlands three case studies on sustainable development (continued)
Case study 2: Cluster programmes
The Finnish cluster programme concept originated in the S&T policy domain. On the recommendation of
the Finnish Science and Technology Policy Council (STPC) (STPC, 1996), the government decided to
provide additional funding totalling FIM 3.2 billion (about EUR 538 million) for R&D in 1996. Most of
this sum was allocated as an additional appropriation to universities and funding organisations. However,
over EUR 23 million were used for cluster programmes co-ordinated by five sectoral ministries. These
programmes were designed and executed over the period 1997-99.
In principle, each of the cluster programmes was carried out in the same way. A given amount of money
was allocated to each programme and one ministry was assigned as co-ordinator. The ministries and
agencies involved set up a co-ordination group to design the details of each programme. The co-ordination
groups were given considerable freedom to define their programmes objectives, processes and working
methods. However, the main overall objectives of the programmes were to secure employment, boost
competitiveness, increase networking and improve public services (e.g. in health care).
Many of the programmes were linked to sustainable development issues. The case study focused on the
environmental cluster programme, co-ordinated by the MoE and in which the MTI also had an important
role. The programme aimed to enhance eco-efficiency, thereby improving the state of environment and
promoting innovation, to create new opportunities in environmental entrepreneurship, and to promote cooperation among researchers, the business sector, public authorities and funding organisations in order to
integrate environmental issues more closely into the Finnish system of innovation (Honkasalo, 2000).
The environmental cluster programme was conducted in three phases, as described in detail by Honkasalo
and Alasaarela (2003). From the start, the environmental cluster programme was intended to be a research
programme and provide funding for research and development projects through open competition. The first
phase (1997-99) immediately followed the initiation of the cluster programmes. Separate rounds of calls for
proposals were implemented, allowing for a great variety of projects. Most had a strong research focus and
were proposed by research organisations; industry showed rather little interest. The second phase (2000-02)
was preceded by more detailed studies than the first in order to give greater focus to the programme. Two
themes were selected: infrastructure in a sustainable community and information society and sustainable
development; the same procedures were followed as in the first round. During the second phase, the
programme received additional funding from the MoE. Most of the other cluster programmes did not
continue past the first period. Prior to the ongoing third phase (2003-05) an extensive study took place
(Heinonen et al., 2003). This phase has the more ambitious aim of initiating research projects based on
more extensive networking.
Case study 3: New Finnish Environmental Protection Act (EPA)
The revised Finnish law on environmental protection and water legislation entered into force in 2000. The
reform was a response both to international developments, specifically the European Union Directive on
Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), and to national discussions that had started in the
1970s. However, the main initiating force was the IPPC directive obliging EU member states to integrate
the control of emissions, i.e. environmental permits must take into account the entire environmental
performance of the plant: emissions to air, water and land, generation of waste, use of raw materials, etc.
Apart from administrative issues, the goals of the EPA were largely those of the IPPC. All environmental
emissions are now considered simultaneously, and the use of best available techniques (BAT) to control and
minimise emissions was strengthened. However, in Finland these principles apply to a wider group of
plants and actors than required by the directive. The BAT information exchange was organised
independently from the preparation of the law; it follows the European model and contacts with industry
and companies play a key role.
The EPA replaced sectoral acts and permission systems and led to a major reform of the environmental
administration and the permit system. The EPA also affected a number of other acts. The reform can be
seen as a continuation of a longer national process. The new act was prepared between 1994 and 1999 by
the Ministries of Environment and Justice. The preparatory work engaged a number of stakeholders, such as
industry and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Organisational questions formed an important part
of the discussion, and connections with other environmental policy instruments were thoroughly examined.

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An overview of the Finnish sustainable development policy domain


Sustainable development policy development in Finland
Finnish authorities have actively participated in international forums on sustainable
development and environmental issues. Immediately after the Brundtland Report in
1987, the minister of Environment set up a committee to discuss the Finnish response.
The committee brought together representatives of government, research, and public and
other stakeholders. The participatory structure of the committee later worked as a basis
for the creation of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development
(FNCSD), which was formed in 1993 to co-ordinate national work on sustainable
development (see Box 8.2). The first Finnish statement on sustainable development was
published in 1989 and a year later, the Council of State published Sustainable
Development and Finland (Council of State, 1990). The Rio environmental conference in
1992 had a strong impact on national sustainable development processes and led to
measures in various policy domains. Evaluation of the implementation of the national
programme was started as part of Finnish preparations for the second summit Rio+10
in Johannesburg. In light of the Johannesburg results and the assessment of the Finnish
National Programme for Sustainable Development (Ministry of Environment, 2003),
target setting and priorities for Finnish sustainable development work have been the
subject of active discussions. As a follow-up to the Johannesburg meeting, a new national
advisory Committee for Sustainable Production and Consumption was established in
2004.
In addition to FNCSD, there are many sectoral and thematic working groups or
committees for policy formation related to sustainable development. Some are long-term,
and others are more ad hoc, with a temporary or informal status. Examples are working
groups on sustainable forestry and international forest matters, trade and the environment,
biological diversity, climate change and development co-operation. The working groups
include members from different ministries and stakeholder groups. For example, the
Finnish Council for Environment and Natural Resources was established in 1995. The
Council promotes the protection and management of the environment, the use of natural
resources, and land use and community planning according to sustainable development
principles. The Council also has an advisory status. The chairman and vice-chairman, as
well as most of the members, are members of parliament. The Finnish parliament also has
two permanent specialised committees, the Environment Committee and the Committee
for the Future, which widely discuss environmental issues.
In addition, sustainable development has played a central role in government
programmes. Sustainable development was first mentioned in a Finnish government
programme under Prime Minister Esko Aho in April 1991. The programme had a
considerable impact and initiated the general incorporation of sustainable development
considerations in government thinking that continues today. The government of 2003
established new horizontal governmental programmes to tackle important policy issues
that cannot be dealt with in any of the sectoral policy areas. Sustainable development was
not one of the themes included. This may be intepretated as a sign of successful
integration and the lack of need for a new programme. However, it may also suggest that
the political priority of sustainable development or environmental issues is declining.

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Box 8.2. The Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD)
The FNCSD is chaired by the prime minister, and its members include three or four ministers,
four members of parliament, 16 representatives from ministries and 19 from other stakeholder
organisations as well as seven permanent specialists. Its work is mainly organised by task
groups and committees. Originally there were two permanent committees (Communications and
Education & Awareness Raising) and seven temporary committees (Production & Consumption,
Forests, Finances & Developing Countries, International Trade & Technology Transfer, Communities, Health & Water, Chemicals & Hazardous Waste) (FNCSD, 1995). Over the past
years, four committees have focused on local sustainable development, production and
consumption, socially sustainable development, and sustainable development programmes.
Since its foundation in 1993, the FNCSD has had an important role in providing a common
vision for Finnish sustainable development policy. It has had a lot of trend-setting power. For
example, socially sustainable development, capital concepts such as human, social, natural and
man-made capital, eco-efficiency, ecological accounting and indicator development have found
their way onto the agenda and into public discussion largely due to the work of FNCSD. Overall
case study interviews showed that the FNCSD has been a very important forum for discussion.
In particular, the involvement of a broad set of stakeholders is seen to have been beneficial.
Although the FNCSD provides a common vision, it does not have actual decision or
enforcement power for the implementation of the strategy. It has had the necessary high profile
(chaired by the prime minister), but has very little resources for concrete actions. One step
towards more concrete co-ordination was taken in 2002, when, as part of the evaluation of
sustainable development in Finland, all ministries stated how they have followed the common
strategy and what had been done in their sectors to promote sustainable development. In the
interviews, this evaluation process was viewed positively and was regarded as a good incentive
as well as a means of assessing sectoral activities. However, in the sectors most actively
engaged in sustainable development, the evaluation was felt to be unnecessary, too superficial
and not leading to concrete follow-up actions.

Is there a sustainable development policy domain in Finland?


Finland has a relatively good international reputation with respect to sustainable
development issues. Finnish sustainable development policy and specifically Finnish
environmental policy are, in general, internationally appreciated. However, Finnish
sustainable development policy cannot be defined as a separate policy domain with clear
resources and processes. The policy objectives and relevant actors can be identified, but
very few elements indicate strong political and decision power. Although policy
discussion around the sustainable development concept is dynamic and the direction is
towards a more holistic, broad sustainable development policy, environmental aspects are
still the dominant dimension and are much more evident than the social and economic
dimensions. Concrete policy processes and discussion are currently best achieved when
the discussion is limited to environmental policy.
In the interviews conducted for the study, three main arguments emerged for why
sustainable development should not be a distinct policy domain (including goals,
governance structures, decision-making power, enforcement power, etc.):

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The ultimate goal is to integrate sustainable development thinking in all government actions across all policy domains. Isolation of sustainable development
issues in a separate, clearly defined policy would hamper integration and remove
individual actors and organisations responsibility to take sustainable development as a guiding principle.

The tradition is to trust a voluntary, bottom-up approach. A clear policy for


sustainable development would mean that some top-down co-ordination and
control mechanisms would be introduced, which could potentially destroy some
of the existing good work.

The whole concept of sustainable development is still evolving and it would be


impossible to define it as a policy domain.

However, views that true attempts should be made to make sustainable development a
more clearly defined policy domain were expressed using the following arguments:

Sustainable development is not concrete enough. A more concrete policy domain


would be a way to introduce clear targets and actions for sustainable development. Implementation would become more effective and efficient.

At the moment, interpretations of sustainable development vary and each actor


defines it according to its own needs. An attempt to make sustainable development a clear policy would reduce conflicting interpretations and the tendency to
use sustainable development as a general phrase to justify almost anything.

Thus, there appears to be a consensus that sustainable development as such does not
require any clear structures for policy co-ordination but that more attention should be paid
to achieve integration across existing policy domains and to strengthen the co-ordination
mechanisms.

Implementing sustainable development in different sectors


As outlined above, sustainable development in its broad sense is clearly recognised as
a governmental responsibility. The national strategy is implemented through actions in
various sectoral policy domains. However, the division and recognition of responsibilities
are not evenly distributed across the relevant sectors. Few policy domains have a clear
central role in policy processes related to sustainable development. As part of the study,
the interviewees were asked to identify the key actors for defining and implementing
sustainable development in Finland. The Ministry of Finance, which controls the
government budget, was often mentioned first. However, it was emphasised that its role is
indirect and that the ministry has been a passive participant in strategic discussion on
sustainable development. Following the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Environment (MoE) was mentioned as the leader and main co-ordinator for sustainable development issues (to the extent that sustainable development is co-ordinated). The other most
relevant sectoral domains were considered to be the Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture
(responsibility for issues related to natural resources, water, forests), the Ministry of
Trade and Industry (MTI) (energy, industrial and technology policies) and the Ministry of
Transport and Communications. Reflecting the low emphasis on the social dimension, the
ministries of Education, Social Affairs and Health and the Interior are seen to have had a
relatively passive role in sustainable development.

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As noted in Box 8.2, the FNCSD does not strongly co-ordinate inter-ministerial cooperation. The main co-ordination and alignment of policy processes takes place in the
working groups that prepare policy assignments. These working groups are often
informal and nomination to these groups is based on personal networks. Ministries differ
in terms of their involvement of other ministries in their work. From the interviews, it was
evident that the MoE is seen as one of the most active promoters of cross-ministerial
collaboration. The most important drivers for initiating inter-ministerial co-ordination are
the EU and other international policy work that requires formulation of national
strategies.
In the strategy setting and implementation of sustainable development policy in
sectoral policy domains, there is wide variation among ministries owing to: i) difference
in the focus on sustainable development depending on sectoral interests and objectives;
and ii) different internal working and management cultures. Success in integrating sustainable development into a ministrys operations is dependent on influential key
individuals who take a leading role in co-ordination. This reflects the fact that the
integration of sustainable development is still very much dependent on voluntary, bottomup approaches.
In most ministries, intra-ministerial processes for defining goals to reach sustainable
development objectives are not very transparent. Also, there are too few ways to transfer
learning experiences across sectors. Different ministries (in different policy domains) or
even different departments within a ministry appear to be dealing with similar problems
while not effectively utilising the practical lessons learned by others (e.g. with respect to
reporting and monitoring). The FNCSD is not seen as an appropriate place for such
practical information sharing, and the problem can largely be traced to the lack of
resources for sustainable development co-ordination. Another observation was the small
number of processes within ministries that involve broader stakeholder groups. However,
experience in cases where the involvement of other parties has generally been higher was
considered very good, although the actual processes were seen as more cumbersome and
requiring more effort.
Reflecting the specific objectives of the MONIT project, processes in the administrative sectors of MoE and MTI may be of interest. A summary of the key aspects
relevant for the MONIT work is found in Box 8.3.
Box 8.3. Administrative processes in key ministries
The Ministry of the Environment (MoE) aims to ensure a good, safe living environment and
biological diversity, to prevent environmental damage and to improve housing conditions. It
has a unit on sustainable development, which does preparatory work for FNCSD and also deals
with policy integration questions. The preparation of different programmes (such as the
National Programme for Sustainable Development) has been the main tool for cross-sectoral
co-operation. The MoE has represented Finland in international climate change negotiations
(case study 1) and acted as the co-ordinator of the environmental cluster programme (case
study 2). The MoE also co-ordinates the work of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE),
the main research institute in the sustainable development field. The work of the ministry is
also linked to various research programmes. Policy instruments controlled by the ministry
include the land-use and construction act, the environmental protection act (case study 3),
environmental labelling, voluntary environmental management systems and waste management
law.
(continued)

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Box 8.3. Administrative processes in key ministries (continued)


The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is responsible for industrial, energy and technology policies and influences and participates in decision making related to economic policy.
Its main function is to improve the competitiveness and operation of Finnish industry.
Numerous research and development programmes and projects have been implemented under
the ministry. Most notable of these are the technology programmes run by the National
Technology Agency (Tekes), the main implementation agency responsible for innovation
policy. Other examples of policy instruments to promote sustainable development controlled by
MTI are investment subsidies for renewable or less environmentally harmful energy production
and voluntary energy saving agreements. From a MONIT perspective, the MTI has a significant
role as the sectoral ministry responsible for technology policy. One of the main activities of
MTI related to the government programme on sustainable development is the co-ordination of
the work on the national climate strategy (case study 1).

Innovation and sustainable development policy interaction


This section presents observations and results relating to the interaction of innovation
policy and sustainable development policy. These are structured according to the different
parts of the policy cycle and cover the issues described above: i) whether there is a
horizontal innovation policy; ii) how horizontal sustainable development or environmental principles are taken into account in the sectoral S&T policy domain (absorption of
horizontal principles); and iii) how the interaction between S&T and environmental
policies takes place (horizontal interaction).

Agenda setting
During the first phase of the study, interviewees at different ministries were asked
about their perception of the connections between sustainable development and
innovation policies. Almost all immediately pointed to the practical technological
solutions and the measures used, for example by Tekes, to promote R&D. Technologies
were seen as potential and positive solutions to sustainable development problems. In
general, technology policy measures and aims were felt not to hamper sustainable
development objectives and were a positive contribution. However, interviewees (persons
responsible for sustainable development issues in different sectoral domains across
government) consistently felt was that there is no connection between innovation and
sustainable development discussions at the level of setting policy objectives and
developing common guidelines. Overall, Finnish S&T policy was seen as very passive
towards sustainable development challenges at the agenda-setting level. Thus, from the
sustainable development point of view, there appears to be no active horizontal innovation policy.
In terms of observations on vertical coherence in incorporating sustainable development issues in the S&T policy domain, there is an internal and external consensus that
innovation policy performs correctly. Particularly at the implementation level, measures
and activities are seen as sufficient. There are some signs of over-optimism or even
complacency, as environmental or broader sustainable development issues have been
referred to less frequently in strategic S&T policy documents in the last years (Kivimaa
and Mickwitz, 2005). Many of the positive remarks were directed towards actions by
Tekes, an agency with a special role in the Finnish innovation system. Tekes is relatively
strong and independent and has a role in both designing and implementing many
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technology policy measures. Thus, Tekes can work independently to promote sustainable
development. However, this situation is not due to strong top-down co-ordination.
Consequently, innovation policy is not seen as a strong, influential process, but rather as a
policy for individual technologies that help to solve practical problems at the operational
level. When using the strong criteria developed in the Norwegian case study to assess
whether Finland has a clearly defined and operational green innovation policy, one has
to conclude that this is not the case (Kivimaa and Mickwitz, 2005).
In summary, Finnish innovation policy has interiorised sustainable development
policies relatively well, on the basis of bottom-up processes. However, innovation policy
is neither outward-oriented nor an active player in the horizontal sustainable development
policy field at the agenda-setting level. This overall assessment of the current role of
innovation policy for sustainable development and of the reasons that have led to this
passivity in horizontal co-ordination between the sectoral policy domains can be looked
at more closely from the following points of view:

The level of priority for sustainable development objectives within innovation


policy.

The stakeholders of innovation policy.

The organisational structure of the policy domain.

The level of priority of sustainable development objectives in innovation policy


The view of innovation policy as rather passive in the sustainable development discussion was seen partly as a consequence of the low priority of sustainable development
objectives in the innovation policy domain. The main innovation policy objectives have
been economic growth, an increased knowledge base, increased viability of business and
support for emerging business opportunities. Sustainable development (or more specifically environmental) objectives of innovation policy can be identified, but these have
not had high priority. For example, in the 2003 strategy statement of the Finnish Science
and Technology Policy Council (FSTPC), the role of sustainable development or environmental objectives has diminished. FSTPC is the main strategic body that combines policy
views across sectoral domains to provide strategic guidelines for innovation policy. It
should be noted that environmental policy representatives are present in the FSTPC and
might help to incorporate sustainable development in innovation policy discussion. If
innovation policy is broadening in a direction that would incorporate more sustainable
development views in policy objectives, a challenge is to create mechanisms for defining
such objectives and for assessing the relative weights and priorities of the various
objectives.

The stakeholders of innovation policy


Traditionally, industry and the research community have been the main stakeholders
in S&T policy. Broader innovation policy may require extending the stakeholder basis. In
the past, industry representatives have often been the most active in expressing views and
concerns on technologies or innovations outside the S&T policy domain to activate the
discussion of horizontal policy. The involvement of S&T policy has been modest compared to that of industry. This is demonstrated by the modest involvement of S&T policy
during the early phases in the case of climate change strategy and the Environmental
Protection Act. In both cases, the role of technology and research was acknowledged, but
S&T policy actors were not the main players in agenda setting. To describe the logic of
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S&T policy actions, some observations from the climate change case study are presented
in Box 8.4.
Box 8.4. Technology and the preparation of the national climate strategy (case study 1)
During the preparation of the national climate strategy, the role of technology and innovation was recognised
as central. The strategy states that: Technology is the central measure, with which greenhouse gas emissions
can be reduced or even achieve the removal of already emitted gases, and technological solutions can be used
to achieve long-term, permanent changes (NCS, 2001). Furthermore, the strategy emphasises the role of
R&D investments in all areas of the NCS. However, at the level of concrete actions, the role of S&T policy
measures remained limited. This is in part explained by the framework conditions set for the process. The
strategy focus was strictly limited to the first Kyoto commitment period 2008-12 and led to the following,
jointly agreed practical limitations:

During the first commitment period, market expansion of existing GHG mitigation technologies were to
take place through existing market mechanisms. The basic assumption was that the market situation
would not change markedly.

During the first commitment period, no major technological breakthroughs were predicted. The development of energy technologies was seen as a long-term process, and no new major changes were expected
in the short term.
Thus, the role of R&D resources was generally acknowledged but considered more relevant during the
implementation phase and to be incorporated into the actions of Tekes, for example. The inclusion of more
comprehensive innovation policies, covering issues related to the demand side, new ways of consumption,
sustainable transport, IT, etc., could have expanded the strategy framework from a primarily energyproduction focus. These measures were seen to require international, Europe-wide measures and actions to
promote market development beyond the national strategy. While the inclusion of these issues would have
given innovation policy a more significant role and expanded the measures available to prepare an optimal
national strategy, it would also have extended the focus to cover more societal and longer-term questions.
In 2004, in connection with the updating of the national climate strategy, more active policy discussion on
preparation for the post-Kyoto period started and S&T policy actors showed interest in including new
technology perspectives and mitigation approaches. One key driver is that new market opportunities related to
climate change mitigation are currently better acknowledged.
The interviews indicated that S&T policy actors remained rather passive. The technology policy domain could
have taken a stronger role in activating discussion of alternative futures and policy scenarios beyond the first
commitment period as part of the NCS process. The opening of the time horizon beyond 2010 by an
independent innovation policy actor could have led to fruitful debate on possible, realistic innovation-related
policy measures. Focusing S&T policy on the implementation phase may mean that some win-win
opportunities are lost. However, there were practical reasons to limit the complicated process to the urgent
needs of the first implementation period. An expansion of the NCS process would have led to problems in
reaching the internationally agreed deadline. Follow-up actions have shown a more forward-looking attitude
and stronger technology policy involvement.
Differences in the drivers of policy development should also be recognised. Climate change strategy is closely
linked to international agreements whereas the main driver for national technology policy is national interest.
At the implementation level, however, the measures and actions of technology policy and national climate
policy point in the same direction. A concrete example is Tekes long-term work to promote technologies that
do not harm the climate (Tekes, 2003). The framework for fruitful joint co-operation exists and one cannot
see any potential conflict.
It is clear that the NCS process created important networks, bringing together different administrative sectors
and other stakeholders. A basis for more active co-operation between environmental policy and innovation
policy domains was also created and may lead to true joint actions. During the implementation of identified
GHG mitigation measures and when identifying additional measures for reaching the required further
emission reductions, successful policies are likely to require better integration of the environmental and
innovation policy domains. Even if the main focus has moved towards implementation, co-operation and coordination at the agenda-setting and strategy level (including strategy revisions and updates) should be
strengthened.

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The organisational structure of the policy domain
In general, allocation of R&D resources to develop new innovations is recognised as
significant. However, the prioritisation of resource allocation is not actively considered at
the policy agenda-setting level in the S&T policy domain or in other policy domains.
Prioritisation of R&D allocations is often left to the implementing agencies (Tekes and
the Academy of Finland). The top-down steering of S&T prioritisation is weak. One view
brought forward in the interviews was that innovations are generally positive with respect
to sustainable development and there is no need for strong prioritisation. Thus, innovations are seen to develop mostly on their own (through industry actions) and no strong
innovation policy actions are needed or possible. However, the opinion more generally
expressed in the interviews was that stronger involvement of innovation policy could
promote sustainable development. Interviewees at ministries shared the view that better
co-ordination at the policy agenda-setting level is needed.
Technology policy reveals a challenge raised by the organisational structure of the
policy domain. As described earlier, Tekes allocates R&D resources quite independently,
and very little priority setting is co-ordinated by the MTI. While Tekes impact in the
sustainable development field is considered positive, the agency operates at the level of
designing and implementing strategies rather as a participant in the objective-setting
processes within and between ministries. This is particularly a problem for legislative
reforms as the implementing agency has neither the knowledge nor the mandate to draft
new laws. While there is a strong agency implementing technology policy, there are no
national implementation agencies in the environmental policy field. The implementation
of environmental policy is distributed to regional environmental centres with less political
power than a national agency. Thus, there are no appropriate counterparts for agendasetting discussion at the implementation level.

Design and implementation


Although horizontal connections between the environmental or, more broadly,
sustainable development and S&T policy domains appear rather weak at the agendasetting level, there is a clearly recognised connection at the level of designing and implementing policy measures. First, particularly in Tekes strategy and actions, one can see a
clear movement towards a broader horizontal innovation policy that would also deal with
sustainable development issues. This evolution seems to be taking place more rapidly at
the implementation level than at the agenda-setting level. Second, there is clear vertical
coherence and absorption of sustainable development principles in S&T policy actions.
Third, interaction among the implementation-level policy actors between S&T and
environmental policy domains works relatively well. In practice, discussions on the coordination of implementation often takes place through direct personal contacts and
somewhat informal networks.
As described earlier, the interviewees mentioned technologies and innovations as a
first, natural and logical linkage between innovation policy and sustainable development
policy. This makes it very natural to focus horizontal interaction at the level of designing
and implementing measures for promoting technology development. There is also a
particular need for the environmental policy domain to be active, as it is well recognised
that environmental policy instruments alone are not sufficient to foster eco-innovations.
Stronger S&T policy involvement in designing environmental regulation is also justified
in order to promote the spread of innovations. There is a win-win opportunity for
streamlining policy implementation, as innovation policy aims to stimulate inventions
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whereas environmental policy aims to spread innovations. Thus, both technology push
and technology pull can be catalysed through policy measures. The increasing need to
shape and change demand in order to achieve sustainable development and to create
systemic and social innovations requires more active design of joint actions.
However, the tools used by different policy domains differ, and this creates a major
bottleneck that still prevents the most efficient co-operation. Environmental policy
focuses particularly on legislation and regulation, whereas the main tool for S&T policy
is allocation of resources for R&D. The challenge is to take the approaches of both policy
domains into account in a balanced manner when designing the measures. Research
supports the view that regulation works best and reaches its objectives when operating in
combination with other forces, such as customer demand (see Hilden et al., 2002). When
these forces work together, changes in technology can be transferred rapidly for practical
use. This implies that innovation policy makers need to be aware of the regulatory
framework and to be involved in the process of preparing the legislation.
Based on the case study results, the following themes requiring further attention to
improve horizontal co-ordination are discussed in more detail:

S&T policy measures and their implications for environmental policy measures.

S&T policy participation in designing environmental policy measures (legislative


measures).

The capabilities of other policy domains to use the expertise and strengths of the
S&T policy domain.

Stakeholder involvement in the processes.

S&T policy measures and their implications for environmental policy measures
As noted earlier, S&T policy focuses on creating a favourable environment for the
emergence of innovations and new businesses. There is a wealth of studies on the impact
of public R&D funding on industrial competitiveness.9 There is also evidence from
different countries that competitiveness and promotion of sustainable development are
positively correlated. Finland has for years been at the top of international benchmarking
exercises measuring competitiveness and sustainable development. However, there are
very few studies on the precise environmental impacts of S&T policy measures.
Furthermore, there is some evidence that new, environmentally friendly innovations do
not get to the market without supporting measures in other policy fields that help open up
new markets. However, allocation of R&D resources contributes significantly to
promoting sustainable development. Over the years, Tekes has estimated that around 15%
of its R&D funding has been targeted to applications that directly promote environmental
sustainability. In addition, other public R&D funding sources promote research and other
activities that promote sustainable development. The conclusion from the case studies
was that the implications and results of these S&T policy activities are only taken into
account in other policy domains to a very small degree. The priority setting achieved
through the allocation of R&D resources can have far-reaching, long-term consequences.
However, as discussed earlier, this prioritisation takes place at the implementation level
by the funding organisations instead of as a result of high-level top-down policy control.

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From an innovation policy perspective, resource allocation may have less impact on
sustainable development in the absence of an active search for synergy opportunities with
other policy domains and their measures. During this study, too few examples were found
of active and concrete linkages, with knowledge gained from R&D allocation and longterm investments taken into account in designing measures for other policy domains.

S&T policy participation in designing environmental policy measures


(legislative measures)
There is a low level of commitment to using R&D investment as a catalyst in other
policy domains. Equally, actors in the S&T policy field make little effort to engage in
designing policy measures in other fields. This is particularly true for legislative changes
(see Box 8.5). Issues that prevent an innovation perspective when designing other policy
measures are:

Actors designing S&T policy measures do not have sufficient knowledge of


regulatory issues (most often they have a background in industry or research and
have limited experience of legislative and administrative issues). Consequently,
there is a need to broaden the knowledge base (multidisciplinary basis) of
innovation policy actors and a need for a more active monitoring of legislative
changes.

There is insufficient knowledge of impacts and synergies among policy measures.


There is no basis or guidelines for what should be done and thus no valid
arguments for being closely involved in the process. Historically, there have been
situations in which tighter environmental regulations have boosted innovation but
others in which markets and business opportunities have diminished or disappeared due to regulatory changes. In Finland, there are some good studies of
the impact of regulations on innovations (Hilden et al., 2002), but more systematic efforts are needed.

The agencies responsible for designing S&T measures (Tekes, Academy of


Finland) are not the right partners for the design of legislative and regulatory
measures drafted at ministry level. There are no existing channels for effectively
engaging S&T policy actors to the process.

The ability of other policy domains to use the expertise and strengths of the S&T
policy domain
One observation from the case studies is that the proximity of S&T policy actors to
industry and their understanding of industry needs is an asset that could be better utilised
in implementing measures in other policy domains. Ministry-level actions in the
environmental policy domain are not at the right level to stimulate and catalyse
environmental R&D in the industry sector, as was apparent in the cluster programme case
study. The environmental cluster programme started from the assumption that the MoE is
as able as agencies at the implementation level to design and execute an R&D
programme. In practice, the resources and the time necessary to develop communication
channels to industry and establish steering mechanisms were underestimated. A reason
for low industry interest in the environmental cluster programme might also have been
that the environmental policy authorities were not seen as a neutral source of funds.
Industry sees S&T policy as neutral and co-operation is based on well-founded mutual
trust. Greater priority for societal objectives may in the long run lead to a similar problem
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in the innovation policy domain. If the neutral, objective and trustworthy status of
innovation policy is lost, industrys interest in participating and using public R&D
resources may diminish.
Box 8.5. Innovation policy participation in the Environmental Protection Act and
best available techniques (case study 3)
In the preparation of the EPA, technological or innovation questions did not generally receive
attention and participation of S&T policy actors was low. The main connection to technology
issues took place in defining and interpreting BAT at both the European and the national levels.
At both levels, the conclusion was that the BAT defined in the European process provides
information for local decisions, but does not provide guidance on actual technological choices
or direct emission limits. Hence, the authorities define emission limits but not the technological
choice based on BAT. Clearly this makes great demands on local application of BAT.
All interviewees felt that BAT is a good basis for regulation. It takes into account environmental, technological and economic aspects and is thus in line with the different dimensions of
sustainable development. Furthermore, the preparation of BAT is based on information
exchange, not on regulation. In practice, industry representatives have actively participated and
made a major contribution to the Finnish BAT preparation work. According to some
interviewees, the role of industry has been much more significant in Finland than in most other
EU countries. Industry representatives have brought knowledge and resources that the
authorities and civil servants lack. The National Technical Working Groups have operated
openly and allowed parties to gain a deeper common understanding of how BAT principles can
be applied.
A number of studies were commissioned to support Finnish arguments and views in the
preparation of the BAT reference documents (BREFs). The comments addressed to the
European level had to be sufficiently motivated and supported by empirical evidence. It is
acknowledged that participation in the preparation has had an impact on the competitiveness of
Finnish industry. It is also considered that sufficient resources have been allocated for the work;
typically industry has covered half of the cost. The resources have also made it possible to
distribute BAT information widely. The financing of these activities was organised through the
environmental cluster programme, which also involved the MTI and technology policy actors.
Tekes financed some of the early studies, but later withdrew, as the projects were considered
information gathering exercises rather than R&D.
Although the innovation policy actors MTI and Tekes have had representatives in the
different working groups and are interested in the BAT work, they have only played a minor
role. Industry outperforms policy on technological issues and the role of promoting
technological knowledge, and this role was effectively left to industry. On the other hand,
innovation policy makers might have taken a bigger role, acting as a neutral partner in seeking
the best technological knowledge.

Stakeholder involvement
A critical remark made during the interviews was that, aside from industry, there is
little stakeholder participation in S&T policy design processes. Improvement in this area
is crucial if innovation policy objectives expand and there is a need to design measures to
reach objectives with broader societal impacts. In addition to R&D actors, industry and
research organisations, NGOs, other public sectors actors, community and city representatives as well as the general public could contribute.

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All the above-mentioned issues highlight the need for further work to develop
horizontal co-operation in designing and implementing the policy measures. This is a
considerable challenge, as no clear guidance on best practices exists. The cluster programme concept was an attempt to address this challenge. Some of the programme
objectives and results are summarised in Box 8.6.
Box 8.6. The Finnish cluster programmes: an attempt to encourage
horizontal governance practices (case study 1)
One of the main objectives of these programmes was horizontal co-operation across the sectoral
boundaries of different ministries. Horizontal co-operation in the programmes covered at least
three areas.

First, the programmes aimed to support knowledge creation and enhancement of industrial
clusters across traditional boundaries (Hernesniemi, 1995; STPC, 1996). Thus, the objective of the environmental cluster programme was to support the creation of an environmental cluster. During the programme period, there was a clear move towards such a
cluster. Although industry participation was low, the programme and its nature as a horizontal co-operative measure raised awareness and general knowledge of opportunities. The
high level of visibility in the business and research communities would not have been
achieved without horizontal co-operation and S&T policy involvement.

Second, the cluster programmes were seen as tools to test and develop new horizontal
governance practices. An example is the allocation of research funding via co-funding and
joint decision making in the environmental cluster programme. All decisions were made
based on consensus and long discussions involving both environmental and S&T policy
actors. Through practical work, practices were improved and better joint co-ordination was
named as one of the biggest impacts of the programme.

Third, strengthening the national knowledge base also requires truly multidisciplinary
research. The programmes funding and projects were seen as a means of strengthening this
cross-cutting knowledge. The programmes multidisciplinary research in cross-cutting
areas was one of the programmes main strengths.

Evaluation and policy learning


Among the areas studied, processes related to evaluation and policy learning proved
the most difficult. In all areas examined, there is a lack of co-ordination and clear
processes in policy learning. In particular, there are few co-ordinated policy learning
activities at the level of broad horizontal policy domains. Between the S&T and
environmental policy domains there are some good examples of active policy learning
processes; learning mostly takes place through policy makers actions and co-ordination
is mainly informal. As a result, efficient exchange of experience and information between
S&T and environmental policy occurs mainly via small and stable personal networks.
Networks linking innovation and sustainable development have been active for a long
period and are considered to be functioning well. In comparison to the other countries for
which MONIT sustainable development case studies were completed, a high level of
information exchange and communication across policy domains has been actively
promoted over a long period in Finland. On the other hand, tradition and stable personal
networks mean that it is very difficult to change the processes and there is a high risk of
losing essential knowledge when key individuals leave.

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The following themes in the area of evaluation and policy learning emerged during
the study:

Efficiency and resources for research.

Organisational structures hampering policy learning.

Role of evaluation and foresight.

Efficiency and resources for research


The common view emerging from the interviews was that research efforts are not
used to their full potential. To support informal information exchange and networks,
considerable research is undertaken, but the results are often not utilised. Researchers
seem to be insufficiently integrated in the preparation of policy. A frequent comment was
that researchers do not present their results in a manner that policy makers can use.
Neither do policy makers appear to be able to clearly communicate their requirements to
researchers. Although there appeared to be sufficient resources for research, these may
not be optimally allocated from the policy makers point of view.
There is an imbalance in the resources available for policy-relevant research. In the
S&T policy field this is not considered a large problem, as the policy domain controls and
has access to research funds. However, in the sustainable development field, and
particularly in the environmental policy domain, there is a lack of resources for research
that could enhance policy learning. This was one of the main reasons behind the decision
to organise the environmental cluster programme as a research programme rather than
concentrating on other means of promoting eco-efficiency and innovation. Within the
MoE in particular, an acute need to enhance policy research was evident, as sufficient
resources for targeted research work had not been available. The environmental cluster
programme was an example of an effort to enhance the use of resources for policyrelevant research by means of horizontal collaboration across policy domains.

Organisational structures hampering policy learning


A structural and organisational weakness which hampers the use of research in policy
learning was the sectoral, and thus vertical, organisation of research. The research
traditions of separate areas are quite distinct and researchers have difficulties in finding a
common language across sectoral boundaries. This is particularly a problem for sectoral and ministerial research institutes. Universities do not follow the sectoral division of
policy domains, but in academic research the objectives largely relate to fulfilling criteria
of academic excellence, rather than meeting policy makers needs.
The Finnish Environment Institute was considered the main research institute providing useful results for policy makers in the cross-cutting area between sustainable
development and innovation policies. However, it was highlighted that SYKEs work is
largely focused on environmental issues and there are generally too few research bodies
working in the other sustainable development dimensions (social, economic) and linking
them with innovation research.

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When looking at the role of SYKE as a provider of policy-relevant research results,
its historical development provides an interesting view on organisational structures
related to policy learning. The environmental administration was restructured in the
1990s, when the National Board of Waters and Environment was divided so that policy
agenda setting, implementation functions and research activities were more clearly
assigned to different organisations. Agenda-setting activities were divided between the
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the MoE, implementation was assigned to new
regional environmental centres and research (including some monitoring, testing, etc.)
activities were assigned to the new SYKE. However, according to interviews, some
valuable policy learning and co-ordination was lost as a result. In order to enhance policy
learning and the role of research in policy making, the interviewees considered the
proximity and presence of all functions agenda setting, implementation and research
within one organisation as an asset. This view was reinforced by opinions claiming that,
compared to environmental policy, Tekes makes much more active and successful use of
research results for policy making. Tekes is very close to agenda setting, design and
implementation of policy measures and also commissions and funds research related to
innovation policy.10

Role of evaluation and foresight


Evaluation of the impact of individual measures, organisations and larger governmental strategies and programmes provides one tool for policy learning. Generally, the
tradition and practice of evaluation are strong across Finnish policy domains. However,
compared to S&T policy, sustainable development policy actors are less active; evaluations have been somewhat ad hoc and have had little impact. From the sustainable
development perspective, the ministries studied took a rather critical view of evaluation.
Wishes for better integration of evaluation into operations were expressed, as were some
doubts about their quality. A wish was clearly expressed for evaluations combining selfevaluation and some external expertise, with an emphasis on strategy formulation and
action plans rather than on evaluations that are forgotten once the reports are written.11
There was an overall wish to increase the role of advisory councils and academic
criticism in order to provide more critical, future-oriented and provocative views that
would catalyse discussion. It was recognised that there are long-term developments in the
sustainable development field that also affect innovation policy. A broader consideration
of these is needed in order to support informed long-term decisions on R&D resource
allocations.

Conclusions and recommendations for innovation policy


The following conclusions are divided in two parts. First, in the light of the results of
the case studies, there is a discussion of whether future innovation policy should
incorporate issues beyond traditional S&T policy boundaries. Second, the main recommendations at different levels of the policy cycle are summarised for the innovation
policy domain (vertical dimension) and for innovation and sustainable development
policies (horizontal dimension). In looking at these results, one should note that the
MONIT work has focused on policy processes and that certain dimensions of creating and
using innovations are not addressed.

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Expansion of innovation policy a right response to the sustainable


development challenge?
In Finland, innovation policy processes have relatively well adapted the sustainable
development principles vertically, based on bottom-up processes, but innovation policy
is neither outward-orientated nor an active player in the horizontal sustainable development policy field. Finnish innovation policy is generally seen as a leading international
example of successful policy formulation. However, the innovation policy domain has
made little effort to reach across sectoral borders. Based on the case study observations,
one has to conclude that there does not exist an active or aggressive horizontal innovation
policy. One may even question whether clear sectoral status and vertical coherence have
been among the strengths of the national innovation policy.
In spite of the current status, there is a need to move from traditional S&T policy
towards a broader innovation policy covering more societal objectives. The question of
how this should be done and what future innovation policy should look like remains.
From the perspective of sustainable development, the case study offers no clear answer.
The results indicate several pros and cons for expanding the concept of the Finnish
innovation policy.
As the discussion of sustainable development shows, broad concepts and overarching
principles are difficult to implement concretely. It could be concluded that sustainable
development as a broad concept has not succeeded in gaining political power. More
successful in this respect is the environmental thinking that has been integrated into many
policy domains and resulted in concrete implementation. An analogy can be seen in S&T
policy, where the potential expansion of the policy domain towards broader innovation
objectives may lead to a more ambiguous situation. The core objectives and the division
of responsibilities may be blurred. The strengths and the concreteness of the innovation
policy domain might be at the optimal level if the policy domain focuses on science and
technology.
S&T policy objectives have been quite clear and Finnish S&T policy discussion has,
for the last decades, been relatively free of complicated or heated discussion about its
objectives. However, if broader sustainable development objectives are more clearly
included in innovation policy, the prioritisation of policy objectives becomes more
critical. Different societal sub-objectives need to be set in a clear order and different
objectives within innovation policy and between innovation policy and other policy
domains may more often conflict with one another. There will be an increasing need to
develop mechanisms for handling and anticipating potential conflicts between policy
objectives and stronger priority-setting mechanisms. There will also be an increased need
for internal analytical attitudes to acknowledge that clear trade-offs must be made (and
potential compensation schemes elaborated), with a view to operationalising the win-win
opportunities.
However, despite these challenges, the view that consistently emerges from the
Finnish study is that to truly promote sustainable development, there is a need and an
opportunity for S&T policy to broaden its scope beyond traditional technology and
science promotion. There is a risk that the role of the sectoral S&T policy domain will
diminish. Also, win-win opportunities will be lost if the scope of innovation policy is not
broadened. Stronger involvement in and influence on sustainable development issues will
in the end create more opportunities for a competitive and sustainable economy.

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214 POLICY INTEGRATION: THE CASE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN FINLAND


Improving vertical and horizontal innovation policy coherence
If it is accepted that future innovation policy should be broader and aim to reach
wider objectives related to sustainable development, several challenges must be acknowledged. The policy issues become more multifaceted and there are no universal solutions
for improving co-ordination and synergy between the policy domains. The different types
of policy issues require different approaches and innovation policy should be able to
recognise these differences. Table 8.1 summarises some of the general recommendations
and challenges related to vertical and horizontal co-ordination in different parts of the
policy cycle. Some of the key recommendations are further elaborated below.
The biggest challenges in policy processes take place at the level of agenda setting.
First, discussion of the role of innovation policy in relation to the challenges of
sustainable development needs to be strengthened. Discussion should take place both
within the policy domain and across policy domains. Second, as described, the incorporation of a wide set of societal issues into the discussion of policy objectives will lead
to greater potential for conflict. This is the case both within the innovation policy domain
and in horizontal interaction with other policy domains. There is an increased need to
strengthen mechanisms for prioritisation, for handling conflicts and for anticipating
potential conflicts.
However, another challenge is to bring into the discussion issues that either appear to
be outside the innovation policy domain, or are not considered at the agenda-setting level
setting in other policy domains. Debate and discussion of those topics should be encouraged. There is a need to increase the participation of various stakeholders in prioritysetting processes for innovation policy. Special attention should be paid to initiate longterm foresight work to explore future opportunities. Innovation policy has a natural
opportunity to take a stronger role than other policy domains in activating discussion of
the future. Technology and science-related issues by nature require long-term planning.
At the level of designing and implementing policy measures, the expansion of
innovation policy requires new types of policy measures. To produce these, innovation
policy actors need a broader knowledge base and multidisciplinarity. Innovation policy
needs to be very innovative in designing new types of actions and in testing them. With
respect to horizontal co-operation between S&T and environmental policy in designing
common measures, the sustainable development case studies in the MONIT project have
highlighted that various common barriers still exist. They include differences in the
drivers of policy development (national vs. international commitments), differences in
primary stakeholders (industry vs. broad stakeholder processes), and differences in
resources available and in measures used (R&D allocation vs. regulatory measures). All
these barriers need to be overcome in order to accomplish joint work in designing and
implementing policy measures with synergies. A special challenge in the innovation
policy area is to increase understanding of long-term developments in legislation and
build capabilities to anticipate the consequences of the future changes.

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Table 8.1. Summary of the main recommendations for future innovation policy
Vertical coherence
(absorption of horizontal sustainable development
principles within a sectoral domain)
Agenda setting

Horizontal coherence
(interaction and co-ordination among
sectoral policies)

Increased need for innovation policy to participate


in setting of objectives and discussing national
priorities.

Innovation policy needs to be more influential in the


areas of other policy domains and promote the
innovation view.

Need to strengthen mechanisms for prioritisation


and for handling potential conflicts.

Need to raise awareness and bring to the agenda


issues that are seemingly beyond the scope of
innovation policy.

Design and
implementation of
policy measures

Need to propose more optional and new


(innovative) possibilities to reach policy objectives.

More attention to joint design of policy measures


across policy domains.

Policy learning

Need to strengthen policy-oriented research and


create research bodies that provide critical and
objective views.

Further enhance the multidisciplinarity of research


and restructure the organisation of policy-oriented
research in a less sector-focused manner.

Need to strengthen forward-looking, long-term


foresight thinking.

Need for further research to understand the


processes of innovation and their dependence on
factors outside the innovation environment.

Need to increase overall knowledge on long-term


developments in legislation and other areas.

Need to strengthen forward-looking, long-term


foresight thinking.

Generally, the role of policy learning and the role of policy advice will increase. In
this area, the study demonstrated relatively few strong, formal co-ordination and cooperation efforts. There are well-functioning informal mechanisms for exchanging
information and experience, but more formal mechanisms are needed to strengthen
learning across policy domains. A potential bottleneck is that research close to the needs
of the policy makers is, in most cases, organised according to the sectoral division of
policy domains and receives part of its budgetary funds directly from individual
ministries. This leads to a situation in which research results may not be considered
neutral or objective. Sectoral organisation of research may also hamper opportunities to
increase knowledge about synergies among policy measures in different sectors. There is
a need to strengthen policy-oriented research that would be critical, evaluative, objective,
forward-looking and would cut across different policy domains and sustainable development themes.

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216 POLICY INTEGRATION: THE CASE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN FINLAND

Notes
1.

The concept in its current form emerged from a series of meetings and reports during the 1970s and
1980s. In 1987, the UN-sponsored Brundtland Commission released a report, Our Common Future,
which emphasised that economic development cannot stop, but must change to fit within the planets
ecological limits. It also popularised the term sustainable development, defining it as development that
meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
This study does not attempt to give a final definition for the concept, but aims to show the interpretations
that different policy domains have used in order to follow the general principle.

2.

The case study does not include the analysis of Finnish S&T policy. As a part of the MONIT work, a
separate case study was carried out on Finnish innovation policy.

3.

Policy domain refers to a general policy pertaining to overall national strategic goals and/or all sectoral
policies including policy objectives, related organisations and their actions and processes.

4.

The discussion of sustainable development can be very easily expanded to cover issues such as
information society, health care and others. This would have expanded the Finnish case study beyond
comparability with other MONIT sustainable development case studies. Thus, the study focuses on
environmental policy more than on a very broad sustainable development discussion.

5.

For example, in the last review of the Finnish National Science and Technology Policy Council, the
dominant new strategic demand was to stimulate social innovations, see STPC (2003).

6.

A similar approach is used in many other MONIT case studies as well as used in the literature
(e.g. Mickwitz and Kivimaa, 2005). Different types of policy cycle frameworks reflect in principle the
same processes. The key feature is the need to acknowledge that the process is complex, with multiple
interactions between the different parts, rather than a linear process.

7.

Naturally, the boundaries between the parts are often vague. Also, different organisations may cover
different parts of the cycle depending on the policy issue to be dealt with.

8.

For example, Tekes technology programmes would have offered good material for case studies on S&T
policy implementation but were purposely left out. Kivimaa and Mickwitz (2005) have used the
technology programmes as case study material to study the environmental policy integration in Finnish
technology policies.

9.

For example, in 2002, Tekes published an extensive report summarising research assessing the impact of
public R&D funding on society.

10.

For example, Tekes and MTI jointly fund the Research Programme for Advanced Technology Policy
(ProACT) which focuses on research that can be used for the needs of technology policy (see
http://proact.ktm.fi).

11.

A recent example of a broad evaluation that more clearly focused on development of actions and
programmes was that of the environmental programme of the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications which covered all transport-related organisations within the transport policy domain (Hjelt
et al., 2005).

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Ympristklusterin kolmannen ohjelmakaudne esiselvitysraportti (Ecoefficient
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Hernesniemi, H., M. Lammi and P. Yl-Anttila (1995), Kansallinen kilpailukyky ja
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Honkasalo, A. and E. Alasaarela (2003), On the Cluster Approach to Environmental
Research and Development, Ministry of Environment, 653, Helsinki.
Honkasalo, A. (2003), Ympristklusterin tutkimusohjelma (Research Programme of
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Kivimaa, P. and P. Mickwitz (2005), Can We Get Greener Technologies through
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fokus VF 2001:1.
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Rouhinen, S. (2002), Finnish Sustainable Development: Long Line Shortly (in Finnish),
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THE CASE OF GREEN INNOVATION POLICY IN NORWAY

Chapter 9
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY INTEGRATION:
HOW WILL WE RECOGNISE IT WHEN WE SEE IT?
THE CASE OF GREEN INNOVATION POLICY IN NORWAY1
William M. Lafferty, Audun Ruud and Olav Mosvold Larsen
Programme for Research and Documentation for a Sustainable Society (ProSus),
Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, Norway

Taking the definition of environmental policy integration (EPI) and benchmarks proposed
by Lafferty (2004) as a point of departure, this chapter outlines an approach that allows
for an evaluation of EPI with respect to green innovation policies in Norway. EPI has
both a horizontal and a vertical dimension. The horizontal dimension refers to crosssectoral strategies for environmental protection, and the vertical dimension to a
greening of sectoral policies. A constitutional mandate, an overarching strategy for the
sectoral domain, a national action plan and a responsible executive body are proposed as
baseline requirements for achieving (and assessing) horizontal, cross-sectoral integration
of environmental goals. With regard to the vertical dimension, the combination of a sectoral strategy for change and an action plan are the proposed key initiatives.
Using the benchmarks as evaluation criteria, the chapter discusses the degree of integration of Norwegian innovation policy and environmental policy. The discussion is
illustrated with efforts undertaken by the government, the Ministry of Environment and
the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The paper presents a fourfold perspective on stylized modes of combining environmental
concerns and innovation. The modes are delineated along two dimensions: i) whether the
integration is steered by processual/instrumental or substantive norms and values;
and ii) whether the goal of integration is related to a simple decoupling of economic and
social drivers from environmental degradation, or is also related to an active recoupling
of drivers to ensure more sustainable production and consumption. The findings indicate
that vertical environmental policy integration is actively promoted in Norway, but that
specific and direct efforts in the direction of green innovation are practically non-existent.
The same holds true for the horizontal dimension. This does not necessarily mean that
green innovations are not being promoted in Norway. But the integration effects that are
being made are not the result of an active and goal-directed policy. There is, therefore, a
clear potential for achieving a more effective implementation of green innovation in
Norway.

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222 THE CASE OF GREEN INNOVATION POLICY IN NORWAY


Introduction
The 2004 Dutch presidency of the European Union highlighted eco-efficient
innovation as a key aspect of EU environmental strategy.2 The Presidencys focus is primarily on strengthening the environmental component of the Lisbon process (environment as opportunity for greater economic competitiveness in Europe). The focus
mirrors, however, a more general preoccupation with the relevance of environmental concerns for national policies and actions plans for promoting innovation. The relationship
between innovation and environmental concerns is both conceptually and normatively
diffuse. What is being integrated into what? And how will we know a successful
(cohesive) national plan for either innovation or sustainable development when we see
it? In terms of EU strategies, is the goal one of integrating environmental concerns into
innovation policy: environment as opportunity for the Lisbon process? Or is it rather
one of integrating innovation into sustainable development: innovation as eco-efficiency
within the Gothenburg process? Or is the idea purposely left vague to accommodate the
happy (and highly elusive) medium of win-win: innovation that simultaneously promotes economic competitiveness and sustainable development?
Answers to these questions are difficult. While there is considerable discussion of the
issue of environmental policy integration (EPI) (Collier, 1994; Liberatore, 1997; Lenschow,
2002; Lafferty and Hovden, 2003; Nilsson and Persson, 2003), most treatments focus on
the integration dynamics between traditional environmental policy and the driving forces
of leading economic sectors (industry, energy, transport, agriculture). Neither the broader
agenda of sustainable development (integrating the social dimension), or a concern
with innovation is prominent in the EPI literature. As for the discourse on innovation, it
has only recently taken on the challenge of policy integration in general, and only very
recently reflected an interest in the integration of innovation and the environment.
The Norwegian study on sustainable development in the MONIT project illuminates
linkages, or the lack thereof, between innovation policy and policy for sustainable
development. For specific empirical findings which also include two relevant business
cases, see Ruud and Larsen (2004). The present chapter concentrates on policy
integration, a key issue in the MONIT agenda, and contains an in-depth discussion and
analysis of integration issues.
The chapter begins by briefly reviewing the particular policy mandates of promoting
policy integration with the areas of sustainable development and innovation. It then
addresses the challenge of decoupling. Decoupling signifies that environmental protective
measures should be pursued regardless of economic growth patterns, business cycles and
innovation policy priorities. The issue of decoupling has been identified by the OECD as
the key challenge of sustainable development. However a decoupling to alter practices
into more sustainable practices requires recoupling environmental protective measures
and economic growth patterns. This requires policy integration of the dual goals of
environmental policy for sustainable development and innovation policies.
The integration of environmental concerns and innovation can be presented in four
normative modes. These modes can be distinguished with respect to whether integration
is steered by processual/instrumental or substantive norms and values. Further, the modes
can be distinguished with respect to whether the goal of integration is related to
decoupling unsustainable patterns of economic growth and environmental protection or
recoupling sustainable patterns of environmental protection and economic growth.
Normative standards for evaluating both horizontal and vertical policy integration are
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presented and illustrated with efforts undertaken by the government, the Ministry of
Environment and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The findings indicate that vertical environmental policy integration is promoted, but
specific and direct efforts to promote green innovation are very limited, if they exist at all.
On the horizontal dimension little can be documented. This does not necessarily indicate
that green innovations are not promoted. However, efforts undertaken by the public
sector, the Norwegian government and particularly the two ministries studied confirm
that there is a large potential for strengthening public policy integration for the promotion
of green innovation in Norway.

Mapping the policy mandates


Achieving change for sustainable development requires a strong consensus on the
nature and seriousness of environmental degradation. Agreement as to causal relations
and political legitimacy are vital prerequisites for effective action. One need only mention
the extensive efforts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to
achieve a consensus on the causes and effects of greenhouse gases to indicate the scope of
the problem. Discussions as to the validity of the panels findings still continue at the
margins of scientific discourse; and politicians continue to play traditional party-politics
games with climate policy, despite the enormous resources that have gone into documentation and dissemination of the causal framework. The pursuit of innovation has for
many years been synonymous with the pursuit of economic growth without reference to
environmental protection or sustainable development. Is this still the case in terms of the
particular policy mandate for a green innovation policy?

The mandate for policy integration for sustainable development


With respect to sustainable development, the goal of policy integration can be traced
to the Brundtland Report. In Chapter 12 of Our Common Future appropriately titled
Towards Common Action: Proposals for Institutional and Legal Change can be found
the following:
The ability to choose policy paths that are sustainable requires that the ecological
dimensions of policy be considered at the same time as the economic, trade, energy,
agricultural, industrial, and other dimensions on the same agendas and in the same
national and international institutions. That is the chief institutional challenge of the
1990s. (WCED, 1987, p. 313)
The very specific recognition of sectoral integration is also considered a highly
relevant challenge by the European Union. Article 6 of the Treaty of the European
Community explicitly states that:
Environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and
implementation of the Community policies and activities referred to in Article 3
[listing the full range of Community activities] in particular with a view to promoting
sustainable development.
Further there is the so-called Cardiff Process, initiated by the Luxembourg
European Council in December 1997, and elevated to a full-scale EU programme at the
Council meeting in Cardiff, June 1998. The strong nature of the mandate here is reflected
in a policy evaluation from 2001, where the report concludes that:

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In summary . . . the Cardiff Process can be characterised as binding and committing.
Legally, the binding nature is rather weak, but the political commitment is strong.
There was a clearly expressed will at the start, which was reinforced at various levels
throughout the whole process. Of significant importance are the various selfcommitments of the Council configurations to further refine or revise the strategies,
and the work packages delegated to the European Commission or specific working
groups. (Kraemer, 2001, p. 33)
Finally there is the EU Strategy for Sustainable Development. Authored directly by
the Office of the President of the EU Commission and presented to the European Council
in Gothenburg in June 2001, the strategy stated that:
The process of integration of environmental concerns in sectoral policies, launched by
the European Council in Cardiff, must continue and provide an environmental input
to the EU Sustainable Development strategy, similar to that given for the economic
and social dimensions by the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines and the Employment
Guidelines. The sectoral environmental integration strategies should be consistent
with the specific objectives of EU Sustainable Development Strategy. (CEC, 2001,
p. 14).
In spite of a relatively specific focus and broad-based support, however, the notion of
policy integration for sustainable development has clearly not been adequately developed
or systematically evaluated. Though the situation is clearly changing for the better (as
demonstrated by the activities referred to below), the conclusion of the International
Institute of Environmental Policy from 2001 still stands:
Despite a progressive commitment to environmental integration, relatively little
attention has been given to defining the concept. There is a confusing variety of
methods for taking more account of environmental factors in the development of
sectoral policies. (IEEP, 2001)
As will be seen below, a major reason is that the concept of policy integration for
sustainable development implies a relatively strong revision of the traditional hierarchy of
policy objectives. In such a hierarchy, environmental concerns are normally ranked below
issues of national security, economics, finance, labour relations, education and welfare.
This indicates an apparent failure of the discussion of integration to appreciate the extent
to which the concept forms part of a broader political process, with the portrayal of
environmental objectives as central, if not principal. This discussion will be resumed
below, following a presentation of the case for integrating innovation into national
policy.

The mandate for innovation and policy integration: a European perspective


Objectives and regulations for environmental policies and sustainable development
are to a great extent embedded in international or supranational governance processes. In
the Norwegian context, an assessment of European policy development is critical. This
section therefore highlights the international context for national policy integration giving
specific weight to the European Union.
The goal of increasing levels of innovation in the European Union has been a key
dimension of competition policy since (at least) the introduction of the Single Europe
Act (SEA) in 1987. It was not until 1995, however, with the issuance of the Green Paper
on Innovation(CEC, 1995) that the policy was given distinct status as a key feature of
the new knowledge society and economy which would keep Europe at the cutting edge
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of international market competition. The first Action Plan for Innovation in Europe was
adopted in 1996 (CEC, 1996); and the second Innovate for a Competitive Europe
was, as of November 2004, being circulated by the Commission for comments and
amendments (CEC, 2004a). The current review and revision of the action plan takes place
within the context of the Lisbon Strategy.4
The major thrust of the OECD work has been promotion and monitoring of
innovation as an aspect of research and development, but the OECD has also focused
strongly on innovation in the context of innovation systems (documented notably in
OECD, 2002). Most importantly for the present discussion, however, is the work done by
the OECD on innovation and the environment and technology and environment.5
Despite efforts at conceptual clarification and monitoring, it is safe to say that there
currently exists considerable confusion and disagreement as to what innovation is all
about. And as with all such essentially contested concepts (Gallie, 1956; Lafferty and
Langhelle, 1999, Chapter 1) the only way one can gain semantic closure is to either
aim for a consensus among all users, or stipulate specific instrumental criteria for applying
and interpreting the idea. Relying on the latter approach, the notion of innovation
employed here refers primarily to change that enhances competitive advantage within and
among firms. Such advantage can be measured in terms of increased market shares, gross
earnings, profit margins, number of patents, etc. It will be argued, moreover, that this is
the ultimate test of whether or not innovation actually is achieved
The relationship between innovation and the environment has recently received very
specific treatment by the EU Commission, not only with respect to environmental
protection, but more pointedly in connection with the promotion of sustainable development. On the first point, there has gradually emerged as an instrumental complement to
the expansion and generalisation of the innovation mandate an emphasis on the need for
greater coherence and integration within and across sectors. This is clearly expressed
in the most recent communication on innovation by the EU Commission (CEC, 2003).
This line is then followed up in the second-generation draft action plan currently
circulating (CEC, 2004a). The draft expresses a need for institutional mechanisms to
integrate innovation policy at both the national and regional levels.
As for the goal of integrating innovation and the environment, the policy signals are
much more perfunctory and diffuse. The issue was given very little attention in the initial
phases of innovation policy development. Neither the Green Paper on Innovation nor
the First Action Plan (Innovation for Growth and Employment) had anything
significant to say on the relationship.6 More important, however, is the fact that the
second-generation draft plan currently circulating says even less. There are only two hints
of what the environment could mean for innovation policy: i) environmental regulation
can be either a hinder or a help for innovation; and ii) there are positive market
opportunities for greater innovation in the environmental technology and services sector.7
The reticence of the Commission on the innovation-environment link may, however,
be partially explained by a direct reference in the draft action plan to the recently adopted
separate action plan on environmental technology. Entitled Stimulating Technologies for
Sustainable Development: An Environmental Technologies Action Plan for the European
Union (ETAP), this plan adopted in January 2004 (CEC, 2004b) moves the
innovation-environment discourse in a totally different direction. Just as the innovation
action plan seems to be exclusively drafted to accommodate the Lisbon process, the
ETAP is solidly anchored in the Gothenburg process. Still, an effort to promote an
integration of innovation and environmental policy is explicitly stated:
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This Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP) aims to harness their full
potential to reduce pressures on our natural resources, improve the quality of life of
European citizens and stimulate economic growth. As such it is an important means
to implement the EU Sustainable Development Strategy and to pursue the Lisbon
Strategy. (CEC, 2004b, p. 2)
To summarise the implications of the policy documents, the EU is solidly committed
to a major policy effort to improve European economic competitiveness through innovation. There is also a growing awareness that innovation policy must be integrated
within and across sectoral directorates and ministries and at the regional, national and
local levels of government. Finally, the ETAP shows a more recent commitment to
joining innovation efforts with environmental concerns. However, the commitment is
very ambivalent as to how a balance between the two tasks should be achieved. This
ambivalence is most crucially manifest in the political challenge to reconcile an increasingly obvious conflict of priorities within and between the Lisbon and Gothenburg
strategies for European development.

Assessment of decoupling and recoupling: from policy mandates to


substantive standards for evaluation
The challenge of integrating innovation and environmental policies for sustainable
development is related to an issue that the OECD has identified as a key challenge of
sustainable development: decoupling. Decoupling signifies that the necessary environmental protective measures should be pursued regardless of economic growth patterns
and business cycles (OECD, 2001a). With decoupling as a major goal for sustainable
development, the specific task for adapting government practice to sustainable development becomes one of developing more consequential steering mechanisms for relieving
pressures on natural life-support systems.
The authors have earlier made several attempts to clarify the nature of decoupling as a
goal of policy integration for sustainable development (Lafferty, 2002, 2004; Lafferty and
Hovden, 2003; Ruud, 2002, 2004). Building on this work, the discussion is expanded to
differentiate explicitly between decoupling and recoupling. This is necessary to
highlight the particular challenge of integrating the dual goals of sustainable development
and innovation. Economic growth and business development must be promoted, but they
must be promoted more in line with ecological considerations. This is particularly
demanding for policy integration, since the respective policy mandates for the environment and innovation may lead to very different consequences for governance for
sustainable development.
Though many treatments of decoupling presume that continued economic growth is
inherent in the idea itself, the presumption should be more closely explored. The entire
debate about zero growth implies that recoupling need not be either a conscious
effort or functional prerequisite for change. Reductions in impacts between industrialbusiness drivers and environmental-ecological resources can be compensated by drivers
that do not presume continuous economic growth. That such change involves innovation also seems obvious since innovation is conventionally understood to imply
any kind of change though it may not necessarily be change that increases value
creation in a competitive market context. The fact that such a position does not
correspond to that of the Brundtland Report (and presumed as a basis for both the UN and
EU strategies for sustainable development) does not mean that it cannot be, or is not,
maintained as an alternative to continued growth. The crucial premise of the Brundtland
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Report is that continued economic growth is necessary, but that the quality or nature of
growth can be changed. This is most succinctly expressed in the second so-called key
concept of the WCED definition of sustainable development: the idea of limitations
imposed by the state of technology and social organisation on the environments ability to
meet present and future needs (WCED, 1987, p. 43).8 The decoupling of non-sustainable
patterns of social change in this context necessarily implies a search for recoupling for
sustainable development. Environmental protective measures must be promoted in a way
that triggers modified and even new value-added activities and economic growth patterns.
This can be achieved through incremental changes in existing patterns of consumption
and production, but can also involve a need for more radical discontinuous change.
Moving from a decoupling orientation towards recoupling for sustainable development
requires highly creative architectural innovations in both technical and non-technical
governance systems.
The content of economic growth in production and consumption must be altered in
such a way that it is recoupled with environmental concerns and imperatives. This implies
(for example) technical efforts in the field of dematerialisation and decarbonisation.
Services can increasingly be substituted for the production of material goods, and
renewable energy sources can be substituted for fossil fuels. Such efforts must, however,
be actively pursued and supported by appropriate governing structures, and it is within
this policy space that the relationship between innovation and sustainable development
concerns becomes crucial. Within the normative-functional framework of sustainable
development, innovation must be green and greening must be innovative.
This perspective provides a rationale for assessing the relationship between sustainable development and innovation with respect to instrumental standards of
governance what are here referred to as processual norms. How can policy integration
between the two goals be achieved as a governing process? This chapter argues that a
need for instrumental standards of policy integration must be supplemented by substantive standards. It is not enough, in this view, to evaluate the mechanisms of
sustainable development governance as process alone. Integration must also be evaluated
in terms of outputs (policies) and outcomes (products).9
While the distinction between process and outputs/outcomes is relatively
straightforward, the difference between the latter two requires some elaboration. Vedung
(1997) identifies outputs with specific initiatives (policy instruments) designed to
achieve sub-goals of an overall programme; outcomes are seen as the actual effects of
policy on target groups. The difference can be well illustrated for the present discussion
by looking at another key notion of the sustainable development discourse: ecoefficiency. Both the OECD and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
(WBCSD) have identified eco-efficiency as a principal standard for decoupling. It is also
a standard which succinctly reflects the second key concept of the Brundtland definition,
indicating the prescription of the WCED to change the quality (nature, mode) of
economic growth.
Ruud (2004) has demonstrated, however, that eco-efficiency must be viewed in a
more complex light. As generally understood (and increasingly practised), the idea
emerges as a necessary but not sufficient criterion for achieving sustainable
development. An emphasis on relative gains through isolated technological improvements
does not, for example, always result in absolute gains for the environment and development. A distinction between eco-efficiency and eco-effectiveness is thus advisable.
Whereas the former focuses on technological improvements within a relatively narrow
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scope of production and consumption, the latter aims to reflect actual impacts and ultimate change within a broader framework of both eco-systems and potential rebound
effects (Ruud, 2004). Increased eco-efficiency may appear as a positive output of the
policy implementation process; but clear substantive standards are needed to assess the
overall eco-effectiveness as an outcome.
The implications of these preliminary perspectives can be summarised in terms of
four normative modes for the integration of environmental concerns and innovation
policy (Table 9.1). The modes serve as a simple frame of reference for highlighting
different standards for prescribing and assessing the implications of different degrees and
types of environment-innovation integration.
Table 9.1. Normative modes for the integration of environmental concerns and innovation
Integration steered by*

Goal of integration

Processual norms

Substantive norms

Decoupling

Environmental protection:
Major emphasis on end-of-pipe regulation and
prevention of pollution.

Ecological communalism:
Major emphasis on limiting growth. Reliance on
self-sustaining life-styles and communal values.

Recoupling

Ecological modernisation:
Major emphasis on improving eco-efficiency of
existing sectoral practices through win-win
solutions. Plays down zero-sum conflicts of interests
and trade-offs.

Sustainable development:
Major emphasis on achieving overall ecoeffectiveness in a global context. Assigns
principled priority to maintaining and enhancing
natural life-support systems.

* In the present context, steering is done by government actors. While the overall effectiveness of implementation will
depend on governance, the ultimate responsibility for achieving EPI as a first-order principle to implement and
institutionalise the idea of sustainable development (Lenschow, 2002. pp. 6-7) is the responsibility of governments. It is
national governments that are bound by the international and regional agreements promoting both sustainable development
and innovation.

By cross-classifying a need for processual versus substantive norms, differentiating


between decoupling and recoupling, one arrives at the four types of environmentinnovation constellations identified in Table 9.1:

Environmental protection. This normative mode places major emphasis on endof-pipe regulation and prevention of pollution. In this mode innovation may be
perceived as ameliorative environmental technology.

Ecological communalism. This normative mode places major emphasis on


limiting growth. Reliance on self-sustaining life styles and communal values is
highlighted. In this mode innovation may be perceived as sustainable life styles in
self-sustained communities.

Ecological modernisation. This mode emphasises eco-efficiency of existing


sectoral practices through win-win solutions. It plays down zero-sum conflicts
of interests and trade-offs. In this mode innovation may be perceived as a
greening of existing production-market relationships.

Sustainable development. This mode places major emphasis on achieving overall eco-effectiveness in a global context. It assigns principled priority to
maintaining and enhancing natural life-support systems. In this mode innovation
may be perceived as a radical transformation of the quality of economic growth.

The logic of the fourfold categorisation leads to a number of preliminary observations


about the normative framework being developed.

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First, the two dimensions capture significant aspects of the latent trade-offs implicit in
the parallel developments of sustainable development policy and innovation policy in
Europe. Both policy tracks attribute great importance to the values and goals pursued by
each, and both declare a clear need for better policy integration. As it now stands,
however, there has been virtually no open discussion as to the relative importance of the
two tracks. Differentiation along the principal axis from environmental protection to
sustainable development provides a value hierarchy that is in line with the
constitutional situation in the EU. In other words, the goal of sustainable development has
a stronger principled status than the goal of innovation. This is manifest in two ways:
i) both sustainable development in general and environmental policy integration in
particular have stronger legal status in the EU treaties; and ii) whereas sustainable
development is the overarching value/goal of the Gothenburg strategy, innovation is only
one aspect of the Lisbon strategy, and it is an aspect on a par with sustainability in the
Lisbon process.10
Second, the framework clearly reflects through the differentiation between
processual and substantive norms a fundamental aspect of policy implementation
research. Equally important is the fact that the same distinction is manifest in EU policy
discourses themselves, where (particularly in the different action plans), goals and
initiatives reflecting means and ends are indiscriminately mixed. What the
framework clearly indicates, however, is that changes in process do not necessarily result
in changes in substantive outcomes; and that positive changes in substantive outcomes
can be achieved without pursuing the processes designated.
Third, there exists an implied, but inadequately expressed, presumption that
decoupling involves recoupling. It is important to explain the implications of not only
disconnecting drivers from pressures on natural resources and eco-systems, but also of
finding ways (or not) to achieve surplus-generating development. The importance of such
a distinction is particularly clear with respect to ETAP, where it is, on the one hand, often
assumed that end-of-pipe initiatives require no compensatory growth-maintaining
initiatives; or, on the other, that achieving eco-efficiency is the same as achieving ecoeffectiveness.
Finally, there are interesting implications in the framework for relativising the
meaning and value of innovation. Most importantly, an understanding of the potential of
innovation provides a very different context for understanding and promoting innovation
as a policy goal. Instead of viewing any kind of innovation as potentially positive for
value-creating competition, the framework points out that innovation can serve ends other
than increased economic growth through increased market/profit shares.
Innovation in the mode of environmental protection referred to in Table 9.1 can
contribute significantly to decoupling, without being commercially competitive. Innovation can also contribute to apparent ecological modernisation, without contributing to
sustainable development (owing to reduced eco-effectiveness and rebound effects);
and innovation can contribute to ecological communalism by developing life styles,
learning mechanisms and organisational forms that seem to point backwards rather than
forwards in terms of economic growth and development. Ecological communalism and
ecological modernisation are perceived by various stakeholders as the most progressive
way to promote sustainable development. Apparently there are different approaches and
perspectives on how to integrate environmental concerns and innovation. Some primarily
see the goal of integration as recoupling economic patterns in more eco-efficient ways,
while other are more concerned with substantive norms and limitation of growth patterns.
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The variety of perspectives is important for assessing the overall costs and benefits of
innovation in a much broader normative context. However, to assess the degree of policy
integration in the direction of green innovation, these differences must be reconciled and
integrated in such a way that substantive standards can be stipulated.

Stipulating normative standards for policy integration


Integrating new policy demands into existing policy areas requires some sort of
substantive norm or principle. Given that the political system essentially involves the
authoritative allocation of values (Easton, 1965), some means must be at hand for
authorities to determine who gets what, where, when and how. Such means can only be
provided (in a democracy) by transparent norms for specific allocations and the resolution
of policy trade-offs. Win-win solutions in the pursuit of sustainable development are a
blessing when achieved, but such solutions are in general very difficult to realise, and,
when realised vis--vis the environment, usually achieved as a sub-optimal solution to the
problem of long-term environmental degradation.
Previous studies have identified benchmarks for governing mechanisms to achieve
environmental policy integration (Lafferty, 2002; Lafferty and Hovden, 2003; Lafferty,
2004). These benchmarks involve the horizontal (HEPI) and vertical (VEPI) dimensions
of governments integration initiatives. The focus is, in other words, on the responsibilities and activities of governing institutions: ministries, agencies, intra-governmental
committees, and other bodies deriving their authority from national, regional or local
constitutional mandates. In addition to these institutional-procedural benchmarks, a
definition of EPI is also proposed which directly addresses the issue of substantive
norms. The most recent formulation of this definition (with slight changes introduced in
the course of debating and developing the idea), is as follows:
Environmental policy integration implies:
the incorporation of environmental objectives into all stages of policymaking in
non-environmental policy sectors, with a specific recognition of this goal as a guiding
principle for the planning and execution of policy;
accompanied by an attempt to aggregate presumed environmental consequences
into an overall evaluation of policy, and a commitment to minimise contradictions
between environmental and sectoral policies by giving principled priority to the
former over the latter. (Lafferty, 2004, p. 201)
With respect to the first part of the definition, VEPI is elaborated on as follows:
vertical environmental policy integration indicates the extent to which a particular
governmental sector has taken on board and implemented environmental objectives as
central in the portfolio of objectives that the sector continuously pursues. VEPI involves
the degree to which a sector has been greened; the extent to which it has merged environmental objectives with its characteristic sectoral objectives to form an environmentally
prudent decision-making premise in its work. This greening does not presuppose the
overarching primacy of environmental goals at the Cabinet level. Each sector is left free
to develop its own understanding of the concept and its implications. The dimension thus
focuses on the degree of EPI within the steering domain of the individual department or
ministry. This may lead to significant EPI in the sector, depending on the level of
ministerial commitment and the ability of sectoral officials to balance internally derived
environmental priorities with external demands for normal sectoral policy outputs, and
to discover, employ or foster effective means of governance.
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As an initial indication of what VEPI entails, Lafferty (2004) mention the following
interdependent check-list of operational mechanisms:11

A scoping report providing an initial mapping and specification of sectoral


activity which identifies major environmental/ecological impacts associated with
key actors and processes, including the governmental unit itself.

A forum for structured dialogue and consultation with designated principal


stakeholders and citizens.

A sectoral strategy for change, putting forth the basic principles and goals for
the sector.

An action plan to implement the strategy, with stipulated priorities, targets, timetables, policy instruments and designated responsible actors.

A green budget for the integration and funding of the action plan.

A monitoring programme for overseeing the implementation process, its impacts


and target results, including specified cycles for monitoring reports and revisions
of the sectoral strategy and action plan.

These steering mechanisms identify institutions and procedures deemed necessary to


achieve a minimum of processual integration of environmental concerns in sectoral
governance. It is important to stress that the term vertical is here used in the functional
sense of governing responsibility for a given sector (transport, energy, agriculture, etc).
This should not be confused with the notion of vertical governance across different
domains of constitutional responsibility (regional, national, local).
The importance of this distinction becomes clear when one considers the second
dimension of EPI: horizontal environmental policy integration (HEPI). In its most essential
form, HEPI involves the integration of environmental concerns within governments: that
is, across sectoral policy and responsibility. If determining who gets what, where, when
and how is the essence of a political system, the relevance for HEPI is to substitute
environmental interests for who; and to insist on at least equal treatment for the
environment vis--vis competing interests. This entails, of course, the negotiation of conflicts between environmental objectives and other societal objectives; between different
sectors pursuing alternative environmental objectives; and between alternative possible
consequences of specific environmental initiatives. Assessing the degree of HEPI is a
question of assessing both the basic mandate for environmental privilege when and
where it is to be regarded as trump as well as the detailed specifics for realising the
mandate in and through the workings of public administration.
A list of HEPI benchmarks has been proposed as follows (Lafferty, 2004):

A constitutional mandate providing provisions for the special status of environmental/sustainable-development rights and goals.

An overarching strategy for the sectoral domain, with clearly enunciated goals
and operational principles, and a political mandate with direct backing from the
chief executive authority.

A national action plan with both overarching and sectoral targets, indicators and
time-tables.

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A responsible executive body with designated responsibility (and powers) for


the overall co-ordination, implementation and supervision of the integration
process.

A communications plan stipulating sectoral responsibility for achieving overarching goals, and outlining how intra-sectoral communications are to be structured and made transparent.

An independent auditor with responsibility for monitoring and assessing implementation at both governmental and sectoral levels, and for proposing revisions in
subsequent generations of strategies and action plans.

A board of petition and redress for resolving conflicts of interest between


environmental and other societal objectives, interests and actors.

These benchmarks should also be seen as indicating baseline requirements for


achieving (and evaluating) horizontal, cross-sectoral integration of environmental/ecological goals. They cover institutional and procedural aspects of implementation and reflect
both processual and substantive norms. Further, each set of benchmarks constitutes a
sequential implementation strategy and is cumulative as to potential outcome. The degree
to which the outcome is substantial for sustainable development is a question of the
degree of political and administrative commitment to the substantive norms.
Focusing more specifically on this particular issue, one is confronted with one of the
most difficult issues of democratic governance: the actual achievement of change. Policy
in a democracy is about the determination and pursuit of collective-choice goals. The
implementation of policy is a game consisting of interdependent initiatives and ploys to
get specific target groups (individuals and collective actors within culturally determined constellations of institutions and procedures) to change their behaviour in specific
directions. The effectiveness of the initiatives and ploys (policy instruments) chosen for
reaching goals will depend on the interaction between general characteristics of
operational effectiveness (the medium); and the degree of will, commitment, drive and
general moral force pushing key actors towards successful realisation of the goals (the
message). Why and how they acquire impetus and direction has to do with the quality
of the norms and authority that permeate the transactions, negotiations, intimidations and
bargains that effect change.
Such norms and authority have been identified with the idea of trump in card games
(Lafferty and Hovden, 2003, pp. 9-11). Some values must be accorded principled
priority when confronted with other values that do not serve the policy goals if change is
to be effected in one rather than alternative directions. The governing mechanisms of
policy implementation are in this view regulated by priority principles and application
guidelines a canon of judgement that serves to regulate decisions among implementers as to alternative paths of action. At any one time any single policy process (in a
democracy at least) will be confronted with alternative trump principles. These can, for
example, be to the ultimate advantage of free-market competition (the capitalist state);
social welfare (the social-democratic state) or the environment (the ecological state). The
goal of sustainable development is often expressed as a balance between all three. But
as argued elsewhere (Lafferty, 2002; Lafferty and Hovden, 2003; Lafferty, 2004) the
normative message of sustainable development discourse clearly implies that the ecological dimension understood as the preservation of vital life-support systems for
present and future generations must be given principled priority. How this priority is
expressed in the legal-political structure of a political system, and how it is applied in
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specific decision-making situations, are crucial issues in the design and execution of
governance for sustainable development.12

Green innovation policy in Norway: where, when and how?


This analysis does not go into detail on whether or not environmental issues are
actually considered as trump in innovation policies. As the conclusion will show, that is
clearly not the case. Rather, findings from environmental and innovation documents
published by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and Ministry of Trade and Industry
(MoTI) (responsible for innovation policy) will be used to assess the degree to which
Norwegian environmental and innovation policies are coherent.
Given the complexity and difficulty of taking EPI from rhetoric to actual politics,
substantial academic and political efforts have been devoted to developing EPI as concept
and to studying EPI as a policy process (Collier, 1994; Liberatore, 1997; Lenschow,
2002; Lafferty and Hovden, 2003; Nilsson and Persson, 2003; Lafferty, 2004, Persson,
2004; Lafferty et al., 2004a). EPI may also be studied as output in terms of policy
initiatives, statements, objectives and so forth. The study of EPI as an outcome is a third
option that would imply evaluation of real-life results of the integration of environmental
concerns into other policy fields.
This exercise is both a form of evaluation of Norwegian governing mechanisms for
green innovation process and actual policy outputs, that is, programmes and other
efforts to promote green innovation. It evaluates neither actual outputs of the policy
process nor the processes and outputs of green innovation in the private sector. Further,
the chapter presents relevant horizontal and vertical contributions only from MoE and
MoTI. There are also relevant green innovation initiatives within the sectoral domains of
the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the Ministry of Communication, for example.
They were not, however, included in the empirical background analysis (Ruud and
Larsen, 2004).
The findings presented below are discussed in accordance with the HEPI/VEPI
benchmarks presented earlier (Lafferty, 2004), but slightly modified to accommodate
innovation policy. However, as the HEPI/VEPI benchmarks are developed to assess a
policy implementation process, they do not capture initiatives not connected to a policy
plan. A third section on other initiatives is therefore added to paint a bigger picture of
the actual status of green innovation policy in Norway.

A green innovation policy in Norway: the horizontal dimension


The horizontal dimension of EPI (HEPI) refers to the overall governmental responsibility for sustainable development. By horizontal initiatives are to be understood policy
documents or efforts especially aimed at co-ordinating policies across sectoral domains.
The assessment is based on a number of policy documents.
With regard to sustainable development, both a national strategy and an action plan
for sustainable development were studied. The separate notion of innovation policies is
relatively new in Norway. MoTI is responsible for innovation policy, it has so far only
published two policy documents on innovation policy. The assessment is based on both:
Parliamentary Bill 51 (2002-03) on the establishing of a new state innovation agency;
Innovation Norway, and The Governments Plan for a Comprehensive Innovation
Policy (HIP) (MoTI, 2003).

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The Ministry of Environment is responsible for the overall formulation of environmental policy in Norway. White Papers 46 (1988-89) and 58 (1996-97) are, together with
the three bi-annual State of the Environment reports (White Papers 8 [1999-2000]; 24
[2000-01] and 25 [2002-03]), the most important and influential environmental policy
documents. The MoE documents include a wide variety of issues, but ay attention focuses
here on how they treat innovation.
Below, and in line with the benchmarks proposed by Lafferty (2004), a brief summary is presented of the findings to enable a better understanding of the current status.

A constitutive mandate providing provisions for the special status of green


innovation policy. Since the launch of the Brundtland report (WCED, 1987),
Norwegian governments of both the right and the left have published White
Papers, long-term plans, a National Strategy and a National Action Plan (NA21),
all proclaiming sustainable development as an overarching goal for Norwegian
society. Strong environmental prescriptions are also included in the Norwegian
constitution (Lafferty et al., 2004a). Except for White Paper 46 (1988-89),
however, there has been no special mandate for green innovation in Norway and
the issue has hardly been debated in parliament.

An overarching strategy for the sectoral domain, with clearly enunciated goals
and operational principles, and a political mandate with direct backing from the
chief executive authority. Norway has never adopted a national overarching
strategy for green innovation. In 2002, however, Norway adopted a relatively
short, relatively vague and highly controversial National Strategy for Sustainable
Development. The strategy was hastily prepared for the World Summit on
Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg (Lafferty et al., 2004a). It
actually mentions innovation a couple of times, but never systematically. Further,
the strategy makes mention of environmental technologies and technological
innovation and states that Norway will play an active role in developing
environmentally friendlier technology through research (MoFA, 2002, p. 35).
However, this is not further specified and no goals are mentioned.

A national action plan with both overarching and sectoral targets, indicators and
timetables. There is no document or plan especially dedicated to green innovation. Innovation is hardly mentioned in environmental policy documents and
environmental issues are hardly mentioned in innovation policy documents. The
Action Plan for a Comprehensive Innovation Policy (HIP) published in autumn
2004 does not consider environmental issues at all. This is interesting because in
the National Action Plan for Sustainable Development (NA21), published two
weeks earlier, it is stated that the HIP is consistent with NA21 (White Paper 1
(2003-04), p. 195). In NA21 the challenge of decoupling is explicitly emphasised,
but in the HIP there are no references to either decoupling or recoupling. Within
the field of environmental politics, eight policy priority areas with strategic
objectives and operational national targets are agreed upon. In NA21 seven
central policy areas13 are identified. None is related to innovation, however.
Consequently, a national action plan with targets, indicators and timetables for
green innovation does not exist in Norway.

A responsible executive body with designated responsibility (and powers) for


the overall co-ordination, implementation and supervision of the integration process. As there is no strategy or plan for green innovation, there is no executive

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body responsible for green innovation. However, a committee consisting of


deputy ministers14 from nine out of 18 ministries was established to follow up the
innovation policy plan, but MoE is not represented. Further, an expert group has
been asked to develop national indicators to facilitate the realisation of the
objectives stated in NA21, but innovation is not part of its mandate. In general no
efforts are made to supervise, co-ordinate or implement a green innovation policy
in Norway.

A communications plan stipulating sectoral responsibility for achieving overarching goals, and outlining how intra-sectoral communications are to be structured and made transparent. No communications plan exists.

An independent auditor with responsibility for monitoring and assessing implementation at both governmental and sectoral levels, and for proposing revisions in
subsequent generations of strategies and action plans. No independent auditor
exists.

A board of petition and redress for resolving conflicts of interest between


environmental and other societal objectives, interests and actors. No board of
petition and redress exists.

The HIP is not very innovative; in terms of being an action plan, it is not very
comprehensive. This is the case, at least, for green innovation. Ruud and Larsen (2004)
document that the HIP contains virtually no references to environmental concerns and
does not take ecological thresholds or the Earths carrying capacity into account. NA21
indirectly emphasises that sustainable economic development must include a green
innovation policy. It is stated that the HIP is consistent with NA21, but as mentioned
above, the HIP does not refer to environmental issues. In conclusion, horizontal coordination of environmental and innovation policies is virtually nonexistent. There is no
such thing as a national green innovation policy in Norway, but perhaps the situation is
more promising in specific sectoral domains.

The vertical dimension


A summary of the results from Ruud and Larsen (2004) is again used to assess to
what extent innovation and environmental policies are integrated. It is of course possible
to pursue green innovation policy within a sector without an overarching horizontal
policy. However, recalling that there is little emphasis on green innovation in the
horizontal steering documents referred to above, it is not surprising that the findings on
the vertical dimension are limited.
The Sectoral Environmental Action Plan (SEAP) and the Environmental Profile of the
State Budget (EPSB) for the 2004 budget for both ministries were used to assess sectorspecific green innovation initiatives. The SEAP is part of the National Environmental
Monitoring System (NEMS). The SEAP describes the ministrys environmental challenges and instruments available to meet the challenges within its domain as well as
sectoral targets and objectives. The EPSB is a separate chapter in each ministrys Annual
Parliamentary Bill on the State Budget. In the EPSB ministries are required to document
the levels and types of environmentally motivated expenditures. Both the SEAP and the
EPSB are parts of the Norwegian governments overall efforts for environmental policy
integration.15 In addition to the SEAPs and EPSBs all policy outputs potentially relevant
for green innovation were assessed. Within MoEs sectoral domain, the Norwegian
Foundation for Sustainable Production and Consumption16 (GRIP) and the Pollution
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Control Authority (SFT)17 were studied. Within MoTIs sectoral domain, Innovation
Norway,18 the government-owned investment company Argentum,19 the Industrial
Development Corporation of Norway (SIVA)20 and the Norwegian Board of Technology21 were studied.

A scoping report provides an initial mapping and specification of sectoral


activity which identifies major environmental/ecological impacts associated with
key actors and processes, including the governmental unit itself. There do not
appear to be any such mappings or specifications from either MoE or MoTI. Inspired
by the EU Plan on Environmental Technologies (ETAP), however, MoE has
commissioned a report on current and previous Norwegian efforts on environmental
technologies from the Pollution Control Authority (SFT). SFTs report is pending at
the ministry, but it is highly unlikely that a scoping report will be produced.

A forum on green innovation for structured dialogue and consultation with


designated principal stakeholders and citizens. There is currently no green innovation forum within either MoE or MoTI.

A sectoral strategy for green innovation, putting forth the sectors basic principles and goals. Neither MoE nor MoTI has published a sectoral strategy for green
innovation, but environmental technology is mentioned as one of three central
aims of MoTIs environmental policy in the EPSB for 2004: To contribute to the
development and use of environmentally friendly technology, products and
services (MoTI Parliamentary Bill 1 (2003-04), pp. 41-42). However, except for
research initiatives financed by the Research Council of Norway (RCN), no
specific efforts to realise this aim are presented.

An action plan to implement the strategy, with stipulated priorities, targets, timetables, policy instruments, and designated responsible actors. A sectoral green
innovation action plan is not in place in MoE or MoTI. Except for the references
to RCN in MoTIs EPSB no efforts on green innovation are proposed or referred
to in MoEs SEAP and EPSB or in MoTis SEAP.

A budget for the integration and funding of the green innovation action plan.
There is no action plan, hence there is no budget.

A monitoring programme for overseeing the implementation process, its impacts and target results, including specified cycles for monitoring reports and
revisions of the sectoral strategy and action plan. No monitoring programme
exists (and there is not much to report on).

There is little vertical policy integration of environmental and innovation policies in


Norway. There are no strategic actions or plans for green innovation in place. This said,
research on related issues such as renewable energy and environmental technologies is
taking place. It is financed by the Research Council of Norway. Technical research is,
however, only the start of a long innovation journey. Development and diffusion with a
view to commercialisation are also needed. Few policy instruments relevant to green
innovation are in place.

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Other initiatives that may promote a green innovation policy


Results from the evaluation of MoEs and MoTIs initiatives with respect to the
HEPI/VEPI benchmarks indicate clearly that environmental concerns are not integrated
into innovation policy in Norway. However, there are some relevant initiatives. These are
not visible when reviewing the HEPI/VEPI benchmarks because they are not an integrated part of any policy or plan for green innovation. Examples of such efforts are found
within entities like Innovation Norway, SFT and GRIP, but they are all insignificant in
both relative and absolute terms. Further, the limited public initiatives documented are
not related either to each other or to any overall strategy for green innovations.
The most interesting finding, however, is related to the fact that out of all the policy
instruments available to the innovation ministry, hardly any are related to green
innovation. The simple fact that Innovation Norway, established to spearhead Norwegian
innovation policy, has hardly any activities specifically dedicated to green innovation, is
remarkable. It is intriguing that despite its more than 700 employees and an annual budget
of almost NOK 1 billion22 there was only one small programme of NOK 18 million
related to green innovation23 in 2004, and environmental concerns are hardly mentioned
in the preliminary version of Innovation Norways strategy plan (Innovation Norway,
2004). According to MoTIs EPSB for 2004, NOK 312 million were allocated to
SND/Innovation Norway projects that contribute to greater eco-efficiency. The extent to
which the eco-efficient projects are related to innovation is not reported. It has also been
difficult to identify such projects as the document refers to projects which have taken
environmental concerns into account. The findings from Innovation Norway are clear
evidence that the focus on green innovation is virtually non-existent at MoTI, the ministry
responsible for innovation policy.
In the 1990s, MoE was responsible for several substantial green innovation initiatives,
such as the programme for environmental technology. MoE also financed the Environmental Fund, administered by MoTI and SND. It has not been possible to identify any
current initiatives, except for a grant of NOK 900 000 allocated in 2004 to the environmental NGO Bellona to support information activities related to environmental technologies. MoEs focus on environmental technology has certainly been declining.

Conclusion
Taking the definition of environmental policy integration and the benchmarks
proposed by Lafferty (2004) as a point of departure, this chapter has discussed green
innovation policies in Norway. The general conclusion is that the integration of
environmental and innovation policies is very weak. The implementation of both the
Action Plan for Sustainable Development and the Action Plan for a Comprehensive
Innovation Policy is poorly reflected in the EPI benchmarks.
There are, however, some green innovation policy initiatives in Norway. The possibility of pursuing change in terms of strengthened public governance for green innovation
without the formal structure of a strategic plan is of course possible. Though such ad hoc
approaches are very fragile in the sectoral departments where they must continuously
compete with the dominant interests of more traditional sectoral policy making they
constitute a point of departure. And green innovation both technical and non-technical
is being promoted by a variety of actors within the business community.

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It should also be noted that the governments commitment to green innovation has
been steadily declining since the late 1980s. Whereas White Paper 46 (1988-89, Chapter
10.5) explicitly mentioned that the transition from research and development to diffusion
and the widely adopted use of environmental technology has proved to be difficult and
that this problem will be addressed, White Paper 58 (1996-97) focused on such policy
instruments as fiscal measures and voluntary agreements. Industry was asked to be more
pro-active, and encouraged to extend the lifetime of their products and focus on their
products life cycle.24 However, the government proposed few concrete measures. In
terms of policies recommended in White Paper 58, the greening of industry is to a large
extent left to market forces; the associated risks are to be borne by the firms. This still
seems to be the case, at least for innovation initiatives.
While commitment to sustainable development has been repeatedly endorsed through
international agreements and commitments, the commitment to innovation derives primarily either from policy declarations by the European Union, or from more general
intellectual and interest-based arguments as to why innovation is increasingly necessary
for market competition and economic growth. Furthermore, as indicated above, even
within the EU context, it is clear that the goal of sustainable development rests on a
stronger normative mandate than innovation. As noted above, Article 6 of the Treaty of
the European Union explicitly declares that environmental protection requirements must
be integrated into the definition and implementation of Community policies, and that
this should be done in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development. As
there is nothing similar with respect to innovation, it is clear that the integration of
environmental concerns has greater immediacy and lexicographic (ranked) normative
status than innovation.
The case for principled priority for environmental concerns is perhaps even
stronger for Norway, which has consistently been a key actor in promoting the
sustainable development agenda at the international level. Though the follow-up at home
has been considerably less impressive (Lafferty et al., 1997, 2002), the strong
international profile adds considerable normative weight to sustainable development as a
national task of overarching importance. The international commitments are, moreover,
reflected in the relative weightings of the two policy domains in domestic politics. While
there is a National Strategy for Sustainable Development, there is no national strategy for
innovation. Both issues have their own national action plans, but whereas the National
Action Plan for Sustainable Development (NA21) clearly enlists innovation in the service
of sustainable development, the Action Plan for a Comprehensive Innovation Policy
(HIP) has nothing of substance to say about the role of innovation in promoting
sustainable development.25
By relating the results of the foregoing evaluation to the categories identified in Table
9.1, it should be possible to map degrees of integration with respect to environmental
protection, ecological modernisation and sustainable development. It should also be
possible to highlight the normative differences (and practical implications) of contrasting
existing EU innovation policies with the prospect of ecological communalism. Such a
mapping can then be used as a point of departure for identifying barriers and prospects for
change in relation to each type of integration, thereby adding greater substance to the
discussion of decoupling and recoupling. A more substantiated discourse devoted to
the dimensions put forth in Table 9.1 could provide a more effective approach to governance for sustainable development through a strengthening of green innovation policies.

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239

Notes
1.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2004 Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions
of Global Environmental Change: Greening of Policies Interlinkages and Policy Integration.

2.

The Presidencys Priorities are available on the Web site of the Dutch EU Presidency: www.eu2004.nl
(accessed 12 November 2004). The relevant section is Environment, pp. 16-17.

3.

This section builds on work presented in Lafferty 2002 and 2004.

4.

There are several EU Web sites devoted to different aspects of innovation, but the concept has its own
portal, so that it can be navigated from www.cordis.lu/innovation/ (accessed 8 February 2005). The site
is well co-ordinated and highly informative.

5.

OECD (2001b, Chapter 6) is a key source for the position adopted here.

6.

The Green Paper makes sporadic references to the environment, touching, for example, on environmental
regulations as reasons for innovation, or, more obliquely, the potential for innovation within the
environmental protection sector. Mention is made of a pilot project (Growth and Environment) set up
at the request of the European Parliament which provided loan guarantees for projects with beneficial
effects for the environment (CEC, 1995, p. 30).
The First Action Plan for Innovation in Europe had even less to say on the issue. Here there is only a
single mention of a possible innovation-environment link but it is a mention that points towards things
to come. In a brief concluding reference to a need for fleshing out the plan in relation to various
priority sectors or fields, it is stated that: Situations vary widely according to the country, the sector
and the technology. The action plan will therefore need to be adapted to certain fields or sectors
designated as priorities. These might include environmental protection and sustainable development, the
services sector, rural development, aspects related to demand and consumers, the audio-visual sector and
better exploitation of space and dual-use technology. (CEC, 1996. p. 9) It is this signal that is strongly
reflected in the current draft action plan, and, most specifically, in the separate Environmental
Technologies Action Plan (ETAP) of 2004 (CEC, 2004b).

7.

It should also be mentioned here that the draft action plan now circulating makes it absolutely clear that
the major purpose of innovation in the European Union is to close the gap between the United States
and Europe in levels and rates of economic performance. Anyone looking for less commercial signals as
to the purpose of innovation will look in vain.

8.

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: the concept
of needs, in particular the essential needs of the worlds poor, to which overriding priority should be
given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organisation on the
environments ability to meet present and future needs (WCED, 1987, p. 43).

9.

For the distinction between outputs and outcomes, see Vedung (1997); and for the differentiation
between process, policy and products, see Lafferty (2001, pp. 268-301). Nilsson and Persson
(2003) have adopted a similar approach to that proposed here.

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10.

It must be underlined, however, that this refers to the principled status and not necessarily the actual
political interpretation.

11.

The list reflects general models of policy implementation (see, for example, Sabatier, 1999; Parsons,
1995; and Hill 1997), as well as more recent publications on policy integration and de-coupling (OECD,
2001a, Chapter 3; and OECD, 2001b, Chapter 4; Wilkinson, 1998; IEEP, 2001, Chapter 4; EEA 2001,
Chapter 4; Lafferty and Meadowcroft, 2000). It also reflects more specific evaluations and project
reports (such as Hertin et al., 2001, Fergusson et al., 2001, and Kraemer, 2001). See also the
comprehensive state-of-the-art overviews of EPI by Persson (2004) and the European Environment
Agency (EEA, 2004), and the stocktaking of the Cardiff process by the European Commission (CEC,
2004c).

12.

The conceptual imagery and terminology are inspired by Immanuel Kants work on pure and
practical reason (Kemp, 1968, Chapter 1). Within a context of procedural democracy (Dahl, 1997), it
is presumed that a trump regulatory principle would be judiciously applied in accord with the
conditions and guidelines of a canon of judgment for sustainable development decision making. The
precautionary principle (as elaborated, for example, by ORiordan et al., 2001) would be a necessary
part of the canon.

13.

The Norwegian term is sentrale politikkomrder.

14.

The Norwegian term is Regjeringens innovasjonsutvalg.

15.

More information on the NEMS/SEAP and the EPSB is available in Lafferty et al. (2004a).

16.

For further details see www.grip.no/ (accessed 5 January 2005)

17.

For further details see: www.sft.no/english/ (accessed 8 January 2005).

18.

For further details see www.invanor.no/ (accessed Jan 8, 2005).

19.

For further details see www.argentum.no/ (accessed 8 January 2005).

20.

For further details see www.siva.no/ (accessed 8 January 2005).

21.

The Norwegian term is Teknologirdet. For further details see www.teknologiradet.no/ (accessed 8 January 2005).

22.

NOK 973.25 million in 2004 and NOK 997.2 million in 2005 (MoTI Parliamentary Bill 1 (2004-05),
p. 150).

23.

The program provides grants to develop small bio-fuel plants and machinery to make chips for the plants.

24.

This can be interpreted as an expression of the environmental policy paradigm of ecological modernisation. See e.g. Mol (1996) and Reitan (2001).

25.

An English version of the sustainable development action plan is available on line at


www.odin.dep.no/filarkiv/206401/nat_action.pdf. An English version of the Innovation Policy Plan is
available at http://odin.dep.no/archive/nhdvedlegg/01/10/fromi033.pdf. In the sustainable development
action plan it is stated that: Business has a crucial role in working to achieve sustainable development.
The ability of business to innovate in the direction of more sustainable production processes and a
willingness to take social responsibility will ultimately be decisive for reaching key political goals.
(National Action Plan for Sustainable Development 2003: 40-41, authors translation).

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Mol, A.P.J. (1996), Ecological Modernisation and Institutional Reflexivity:
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Ministry of Finance White Paper: see White Papers below.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) (2002), National Strategy for Sustainable
Development, MoFA, Oslo.
Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) (2003-2004), Parliamentary Bill 1 on the Sate
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Nilsson, M. and . Persson (2003): Framework for Analysing Environmental Policy
Integration, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 333-359.
OECD (2001a), Policies to Enhance Sustainable Development, OECD, Paris.
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OECD (2002), Dynamising National Innovation Systems, OECD, Paris.
ORiordan, T., J. Cameron and A. Jordan (2001), Reinterpreting the Precautionary
Principle, Cameron-May, London.
Parsons, W. (1995), Public Policy, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.
Persson, . (2004), Environmental Policy Integration: An Introduction, background
paper for the PINTS Project (Policy Integration for Sustainability), Stockholm
Environment Institute (SEI), Stockholm.
Reitan, M. (2001), Ecological Modernization and Realpolitik: Ideas, Interests and
Institutions, Environmental Politics, Vol. 17, No. 2: 1-16.
Reme, S. (2002): MONIT: Joint Conceptual Paper, STEP Centre for Innovation
Research, Oslo.
Ruud, A. (2002), Industry and Environmental Responsibility: From Proactive to
Reactive Public Policies, in W.M. Lafferty, M. Nordskag and H.-A. Aakre (eds),
Realizing Rio in Norway: Evaluative Studies of Sustainable Development, Oslo,
ProSus.
Ruud, A. (2004), Partners for Progress? The Role of Business in Transcending Business
As Usual, in W.M. Lafferty (ed.), Governance for Sustainable Development: The
Challenge of Adapting Form to Function, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK.
Ruud, A. and O.M. Larsen (2004), Coherence of Environmental and Innovation Policies:
A Green Innovation Policy in Norway?, ProSus Report 05/04, University of Oslo,
ProSus.

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244 THE CASE OF GREEN INNOVATION POLICY IN NORWAY


Sabatier, P. (ed.) (1999), Theories of the Policy Process, Westview Press, Boulder.
United Nations (1994), Agenda 21: Programme of Action from Rio, United Nations
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Vedung, E. (1997), Public Policy and Program Evaluation, Transaction Publishers, New
Brunswick, New Jersey.
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Wilkinson, D. (1998), Steps Towards Integrating the Environment into Other EU Policy
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Politics of Agenda 21 in Europe, London, Earthscan Publications, pp. 113-129.

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Chapter 10
LINKING INNOVATION POLICY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
IN FLANDERS
Ilse Dries, Jan Larosse and Peter Van Humbeeck

This chapter describes the policy response to the Flemish innovation systems excessive
dependence on material- and energy-intensive production systems. The solution would
require a long-term transition to a less resource-intensive and more knowledge-intensive
economy. However, the governance of both sustainable development and innovation
policy is still dominated by a sectoral logic in institutional behaviour and policy
development that is a bottleneck for integrated policy development. There is not yet an
integrated governance structure to implement a framework for sustainable development.
Moreover, innovation is not at the top of policy agendas elsewhere in the system. Until
recently in fact there has been little interaction between sustainable development and
innovation. The Environmental Technology Platform (MIP), established by the Flemish
government, can be a decisive institutional lever for changing the governance structure in
order to manage the transition more effectively, in particular by achieving greater coherence between supply (stimulating excellence in research and innovation) and demand
(procurement policies, etc.). MIP has the potential to foster the development of visions
and co-operation among different actors in the innovation system. Whether this will
happen depends on conditions that remain to be fulfilled.

Introduction
Context
Innovation policy and sustainable development policy are relatively new policy
domains. They share characteristics such as complex subject matter, heterogeneous
actors, a horizontal approach and weak institutionalisation. They exemplify many of the
challenges for managing complexity in modern societies in general, as well as a changed
context for policy efforts to build for the future.
Innovation policy evolved from a linear technology-push strategy, which assumes that
economic performance follows research performance, into a system approach which
recognises the innovation process as an interactive process in which interconnected actors
and institutions engage in the production, diffusion and use of knowledge. At national
level, this interactive innovation process provides the elements and relationships that
constitute a countrys national innovation system (NIS).

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The system approach, which focuses on the relationships between actors and the
knowledge flows in the system, is well suited to help policy makers deal with dynamic,
complex processes such as innovation. However, it is still very new. The challenge is to
derive operational guidelines from the NIS approach in order to conduct successful
innovation policy. In fact, policy practice is often in advance of theory in developing new
ways to capitalise on the interactive nature of innovation processes. The OECD Working
Party on Technology and Innovation Policy, which had an important stake in the
elaboration and diffusion of the new policy framework, has sought to give the approach
more operability and focus, in particular in terms of institutional preconditions for
enhancing the performance of innovation processes. Because the institutional setting of
its national innovation system largely determines a countrys adaptive capacity and
competitive advantage, the governance issue is of strategic importance and has become
more of a focal point in policy development.
At the same time, innovation policy is evolving towards third-generation innovation
policy, stressing the need for integration with sectoral policies. This means that sectoral
policies have to make innovation a distinct objective and that innovation policy has to
expand its scope from economic goals to other types of policy goals. New types of
horizontal policies and governance structures are needed to develop a multi-sector, multigoal innovation policy. Innovation policy combines with sustainable development policy
to balance economic, social and ecological goals to preserve the well-being of future
generations.

The general issue of governance


The key stages of a policy cycle, as depicted below, are a well-known reference for
policy making. The policy cycle, from agenda setting to evaluation of the effectiveness of
policies, is a formal linear model that is not generally followed in practice. The processes
are in fact interlinked and should be understood as elements of an interactive model in
which policies are the result of many complementary inputs and conditions and outcomes
are determined by many interacting players. In addition, policies affect each other.
Therefore, the consistency of policy cycles in different policy domains and between
policy levels is an important issue as well. This leads to a broader view of policy as an
institutionalised multi-actor and multi-dimensional process. Governments can hardly be
viewed as a single (rational) actor, pursuing clear objectives with full information and
clear and consistent preferences. Rather, governments, and their policy systems, act under
great uncertainty often with less than optimal information and in-built contradictions and
tensions.
Public governance concerns the ways in which the policy cycle is managed and
influenced, both formally and informally. It typically concerns the systems and practices
that governments use to set agendas, co-ordinate policies, co-operate with stakeholders
and build up collective capabilities for policy learning (Figure 10.1). The objective is to
develop the capacities, instruments and institutional mechanisms that are required for
effective and coherent policies. Coherence is defined here as the degree of correspondence
between goals and instruments and between policy formulation and policy implementation in a particular policy domain (vertical coherence), the consistency between policies
in different policy domains and the potential for integration (horizontal coherence) and
the modulation over time of short-term and long-term objectives or the mutual fit of
current policies and perceived challenges (temporal coherence). By institutional capacities are meant the ability of a country to mobilise and/or adapt its institutions to perform
functions, solve problems and set and achieve objectives. Institutions are broadly defined
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here as sets of rules, processes and practices. They not only include organisations, which
are often called institutions, but also all formal or informal rules, processes and practices
that exist within society.
Figure 10.1. The policy cycle and the issue of public governance
Interactions
Networks
Information

Institutions
Agenda setting
Ideologies

Policy evaluation

Policy preparation

Knowledge

Policy cycle
Values
Policy formulation

Policy implementation

Capabilities

Procedures
Incentives

Instruments
Regulations

A countrys governance structure determines to a large extent its performance,


including its ability to adopt new societal objectives. Improving governance means
dealing with the mismatches between perceived policy challenges and the policy mixes
adopted, often owing to weak political leadership, lack of decision-support systems,
fragmented policy formulation, inefficient interdepartmental co-ordination, competing
rationales and ideologies, short-termism in resource allocation, poor transparency and
accountability. Political leadership and commitment, institutional mechanisms for policy
co-ordination, transparency, stakeholder participation and knowledge management are
components of good governance.
The following discussion first analyses the policy space and the policy processes
related to sustainable development policy. It next examines the links between sustainable
development and innovation policies and the role of the innovation policy in enhancing
sustainable development and vice versa. Then, possible ways to improve the synergy
between these policies are described. A brief conclusion follows.

Sustainable development policy in Flanders and Belgium


The Belgian/Flemish context
Belgium is a small and densely populated country (10.3 million inhabitants and
32 545 km2). Flanders is the more densely populated, Dutch-speaking part of Belgium
(almost 6 million inhabitants and 13 522 km2). Flanders is one of Europes key economic
regions. It lies at the heart of the large industrial area of western Europe and has a welleducated workforce. A good transport network provides direct links to all major European
markets and through the harbour network to the world. Owing to its small scale, high
population density, central location and transit economy, Flanders has to deal with
problems of congestion, road safety, high emission levels, environmental degradation and

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248 LINKING INNOVATION POLICY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN FLANDERS


lack of space. A decoupling of economic growth and pressure on the environment has not
yet taken place.
The institutional context in Belgium is complicated by the division of competencies
among different governments. Apart from the federal government there are three
community governments (Flemish, French and German) and three regional governments
(Flemish, Walloon and Brussels). Important issues such as taxation and social security are
decided at the federal level, but many policy issues have been regionalised (e.g. culture,
education, environment, public works and transport, science and research policy, etc.).
There is no hierarchy of federal laws and regional decrees. Because of its wide scope,
sustainable development policy is distributed among various federal and regional policy
domains.
This complex institutional organisation is an obvious barrier to a coherent and
integrated sustainable development strategy. On the other hand, its advantages include
more possibilities for mutual learning and for institutional competition.

Public governance for sustainable development policy at the federal level


Good governance and sound public management are preconditions for implementation of sustainable development policies. These preconditions include political leadership
and commitment, institutional mechanisms for policy co-ordination, transparency and
stakeholder participation and knowledge management. Political leadership is particularly
challenging in this context, given the potential for conflict among various interests in both
the public and private sectors. Institutional mechanisms are the source of the capacity to
adapt or construct new institutions for sustainable development, to bring together capable
personnel and mechanisms for solving problems, and to set, achieve and evaluate
sustainable development objectives. Policy coherence is a key element owing to its wide
scope. Transparency implies that decision making is sufficiently open and helps ensure
broad support. Conflicting interests are often at stake in discussions of sustainable
development, and trade-offs are a major feature of policy making. Governments have an
important role to play in addressing the major conflicts of interests among stakeholders,
in particular by involving them in constructive discussions of these issues, but also in
forging compromises, advancing solutions and networking. Knowledge management is
extremely important in the context of the long-term thinking required for sustainable
development. The complexity and unpredictability of the long-term effects of most issues
related to sustainable development imply that, for most policy decisions, conclusive
scientific evidence may not be available. Managing knowledge for sustainable development is therefore extremely important. This section analyses how these four aspects of
good governance are present at the federal level.

Political leadership and institutional mechanisms


The federal government is ahead of the regions in developing a more formal strategy
on sustainable development. It has created a governance framework with a law, a council,
different institutions and a planning and reporting system.
As a follow-up to the Rio agreement on sustainable development, a 1997 federal law
describes a set of policy instruments for building sustainable development policy. Two
important elements are the four-year Federal Plan for Sustainable Development and the
bi-annual Federal Report on Sustainable Development. The first plan dates from 2000 and
covers 2000-04. The second plan was recently launched and follows the structure of the

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European strategy for sustainable development. It covers climate change, transport,


health, natural resources, poverty and social exclusion, and population ageing.
The Interdepartmental Commission for Sustainable Development (ICDO) is responsible for preparing the four-year plan and an annual follow-up report. It is composed
of federal officials, each of whom represents a member of the federal government.
Almost all policy domains that are the competence of the federal government are represented. Until recently the officials who attended the monthly meetings of the ICDO were
not high-ranking.
Although there is a legal framework, it is clearly insufficient (and probably not the
most important issue in building sustainable development policy). Since sustainable
development has not been a political priority, it has proven very difficult to implement the
plan. There has also been a lack of human and financial resources. As a result, many
actions have been delayed.
Because the federal government is the competent authority for only a limited number
of policy issues and instruments, it has difficulty developing a truly integrated policy plan
for sustainable development. For example, it can introduce certain labels or product
standards, i.e. for recycled materials, but the regional governments are the competent
authorities for instruments such as subsidies for recycling centres, agreements with
industrial sectors, information campaigns, etc. For water, the federal government legally
has almost no policy competence. A truly integrated sustainable development plan would
need the consent of the regions and the elaboration of a common national strategy on
sustainable development as agreed in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI).
An important challenge is to achieve true policy integration and implement sustainable development through a horizontal approach rather than a set of scattered
initiatives in separate policy domains. Todays federal plan looks like a list of actions to
tackle specific problems in particular policy domains, rather than an integrated approach
to horizontal challenges in the overall context of sustainable development. This fragmentation is also reflected in the functioning of the ICDO. For example, for the annual
follow-up report, every member prepares a document for his or her policy domain. Little
interaction takes place. Although the content of the Federal Plan for Sustainable Development is still highly fragmented, progress has been made in certain areas.
Recently, the federal government has responded to some of the drawbacks by
founding a new horizontal central administration (PODDO: Programmatic Public Service
on Sustainable Development) to support sustainable development policy. Its mission is to
help other institutions to prepare and implement sustainable development policy.
Following the policy agreement of the new federal government (July 2003), units for
sustainable development in the different ministries have been approved. Their main task
is to analyse the effect of all governmental decisions on sustainable development
(sustainable development impact analysis). The government has also announced that it
will pay more attention to the annual follow-up report of the ICDO, as well as to the
reports of the Planning Bureau. Every year it will ask the advice of the Federal Council,
and all these documents will be delivered to parliament.

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Stakeholder participation on the federal level
Stakeholder participation is considered very important. An important actor in this
context is the Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO), an advisory body
composed of a large number of experts, representatives of socio-economic, cultural and
environmental protection organisations, as well as of the federal and regional governments. The federal government can ask advice on its proposed policy, but the Council can
also initiate advisory procedures. It has several thematic working groups, in which
interaction and discussion take place. It can also take initiatives to communicate with the
public on sustainable development. For example, for the preparation of the World
Summit on Sustainable Development, the Council organised several conferences.
There is also a public inquiry on every new Federal Sustainable Development Plan.
All citizens can give their opinion during a two-month period (three months in future).
But there are no rules on how this inquiry should be organised, on the instruments to be
used, the way to approach the public, appropriate timing, etc., or how the results of
inquiries should be taken into account.
Figure 10.2. Sustainable development policy governance at the federal level and in Flanders
Federal level

Flanders

Energy Policy Decree (in preparation)


Mobility Decree (in preparation)
1999 Land Use Planning Decree

1997 Federal Law on SD

Government
Administration
(ministries)

ICDO
(Interdepartmental Commission)

1999 Innovation Decree

Draft Federal plan


for SD (4 years)
Draft follow up report
(1 year)

Stakeholders

Public

Federal
government

Scientists

1995 Environmental Decree


Draft Env plan

GMO
(Departmental Commission)
Government
Administration

FRDO
(Federal Council for SD)

MiNa -Raad (Env Council)


(and Social -Economic Council)
Stakeholders

Public inquiry
Env
plan
Federal
plan
for SD
(5 years)
years)
(5

Public

Federal government
Flemish
government

Federal report on SD
(2 years)

Public inquiry

Legal framework for SD


Explicit SD strategy and plan
Formal governance bodies for SD
But
Little polictical commitment
Highly fragmented

Draft Env program


(1 year)

Env plan
(5 years)
Env plan
(5 years)

Flemish government

MIRA
(Flemish Environmental Agency)
Scientists

(5 years)
Draft Env plan
(5 years) Draft Env program
(1 year)

MiNa -Raad (Env Council)


(and Social -Public
Economic
Council)
inquiry

Federal government
Follow up report
(1 year)

Federal planning bureau

GMO
(Departmental Commission)

MIRA
(Flemish Environmental Agency)

Env program
(1 year)

Env program
(1 year)
Env reports
1-2-5 years
Env reports
1-2 -5 years

No legal framework for SD


No explicit SD strategy and plan
No formal governance bodies for SD
But
Broad Environmental Policy Plan
Important (isolated) efforts
Informal SD strategy (Pact van Vilvoorde)

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Knowledge management at the federal level


Political commitment and policy integration can only come together in a framework
for long-term strategic convergence. At the federal level, the Research Programme for
Sustainable Development and the Planning Bureau in particular provide important support in this respect.
The Task Force on Sustainable Development of the Planning Bureau prepares the
Federal Report on Sustainable Development every two years. The report analyses the
current situation and evaluates sustainable development policy. It is used as an input for
both the follow-up of the present plan and the elaboration of a new plan. Figure 10.2
compares sustainable development policy governance at the federal level and in Flanders.

Public governance for sustainable development policy at the


Flemish regional level
Flanders does not have an overall sustainable development policy and there is no
legal framework for co-ordination of such a policy. Environmental policy clearly takes
the lead in promoting sustainable development through a legal and institutional framework similar to that for sustainable development on the federal level, laid down in a 1995
decree. In fact, the federal framework was inspired to a large extent by the Flemish
environmental policy. The Flemish government approves an environmental policy plan
every five years and an environmental programme annually. The Flemish environmental
agency is responsible for a series of environmental reports that describe the quality of the
environment, forecast the state of the environment under different scenarios and evaluate
environmental policy. Based on the 1995 decree, there is a public inquiry on every new
plan. The Environmental Council and the Social-Economic Council act as advisory
bodies. Some other policy domains in Flanders have a more or less comparable policy
cycle framework. For example, the 1999 decree on innovation introduced among other
things a four-year innovation policy plan for which the Council for Scientific Policy and
the Social-Economic Council act as advisors. In spite of the lack of an overall strategy or
framework, important efforts have been made recently.

Political leadership and institutional mechanisms


In the last decade sustainable development was part of policy declarations in 1995, in
1999 and less explicitly in 2004. In 1999 the policy agreement stated more explicitly the
importance of sustainable development: We must provide for the needs of this generation without limiting the possibilities of future generations. Sustainable development has
to take place within the borders of the ecological system and pay attention to the less
favoured members of society. The new 2005-09 government declaration makes a less
explicit reference to sustainable development but affirms a continuation of policies to
integrate economic, social and ecological concerns. The new policy agreement states that
one of the core tasks of Flanders is to evolve towards a competitive and responsible
region, with an economy that fosters simultaneously economic, social and ecological
development. On the other hand, responsibility for sustainable development policy was
for the first time formally assigned to the Minister-President of the Flemish government.
His cabinet prepared a first policy note for sustainable development for the coming five
years.

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While Flanders did not have a defined, overall sustainable development policy at the
end of 2004, many issues relating to sustainable development were included in the policy
letters of different ministers between 1999 and 2004 and there have been some interesting
projects related to sustainable development: sustainable entrepreneurship and employment in the environmental sector, sustainable mobility, rational energy consumption and
renewable energy supply, sustainable agriculture, sustainable technology development,
etc.
In 2001 the government launched a policy vision project, called Colourful Flanders,
to establish a platform involving all social actors for longer-term societal development. It
can be considered as a first move towards an integrated strategic policy that finds its
inspiration in the sustainable development agenda, because of its horizontal goals and
themes and its longer-term thinking (2010). Six working groups, composed of experts,
members of the Cabinet, officials of the ministries, and representatives of socio-economic
organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), drafted long-term vision texts
on entrepreneurship, education, work, culture, care and the environment. These were
translated into 21 objectives for the 21st century and signed during a high-level conference by all ministers and by representatives of the social partners and environmental
organisations. Afterwards, a set of indicators was agreed to follow up the Pact of Vilvoorde (named after the town where the conference was held). The Pact of Vilvoorde can
be considered as a valuable effort to formulate policies with a longer-term horizon,
combining ecological, social and economic objectives for sustainable growth. On the
other hand, the Pact of Vilvoorde cannot be more than a first step. The process was
characterised by a lack of integrated thinking. The six vision groups worked independently without much interaction. As a consequence, the horizontal aspect is absent and
certain dimensions that are important for sustainable development are lacking, i.e. the
international dimension (international solidarity, technology transfer to the developing
countries) and a balanced approach to the three pillars of sustainable development. The
pact is a political message that long-term thinking is important. Furthermore, governance
by conferences, a common thread in political decision making in Belgium, has limited
impact if it is not combined with efforts to translate objectives into coherent policies.
The recent policy letter on sustainable development explicitly states that the government will formulate a sustainable development strategy for Flanders. To enhance this
scenario, a study was carried out in 2004 to examine tools and conditions for structuring
the future dialogue and policy framework for sustainable development.

Institutional mechanisms at Flemish level


Flemish public servants will have to deal with cross-department issues relating to
sustainable development, and an interdepartmental working group on sustainable development was established in 2003. One of its tasks was to prepare in common papers for
international meetings on sustainable development, such as the Commission for Sustainable Development of the United Nations. Other tasks were to prepare co-ordinated advice
on preparatory texts of the Federal Plan for Sustainable Development and to prepare a
Flemish strategy on sustainable development, which the group felt was a priority. In this
context, they have made an inventory of the different approaches, visions and actions
related to sustainable development in the different policy domains.

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An important tool for the integration of sustainable development thinking in policies


and regulations is the recently introduced regulatory impact analysis. Its aim is to
improve the quality of regulation and policies by carrying out a systematic analysis of the
social, economic and environmental effects of existing and proposed regulations.

Stakeholder participation and transparency


At present, there have been several exercises with focus groups, test panels, etc., and
there is increasing use of different forms of interactive policy making developed by
government administrations, universities, NGOs, etc. However, these are often separate,
small-scale initiatives.
There are several well-established advisory boards such as the Environmental Council
(MiNa), the Social-Economic Council (SERV), the Council for Innovation Science, and
the Council for Education.
MiNa and SERV recently decided to collaborate on sustainable development. They
have published a call, directed to the whole Flemish government, to prepare a Flemish
Strategy for Sustainable Development.

Knowledge management
Flanders has no framework for long-term strategic convergence. There is an emerging
use of scenario analysis and foresight in Flanders (administration of planning and
statistics, ViwTA, VRWB, universities), scientific policy support points have been established at universities and departmental policy units are under way (BBB), and advisory
councils like SERV and MiNa sometimes fulfil a think-tank function. New innovation
projects like transition management (sustainable building and living) and foresight (rural
areas) are initiated by the environmental policy domain. Also, instruments like MIRA
(environmental reporting and foresight) play an important role. But generally, instruments
for strategic intelligence to support decision processes are not well developed. Initiatives
involving foresight, back-casting and other explorative techniques for policy development
are scattered and not well linked to the policy cycle. Forums for sharing experience and
knowledge are nearly inexistent.

Co-ordination and integration of environmental and innovation policies


in sustainable development
The case for integration
Discovery of a path to sustainable development is a main policy challenge. Leaving
aside disaster scenarios, the evolutionary strategies societies currently pursue depend
heavily on rebalancing the economic system on which our welfare is based. Technological progress carries high hopes for ecological modernisation and is bringing
innovation and environmental policies closer together.
In fact, combining economic, social and environmental goals requires the decoupling
of economic growth and environmental pressures. The inadequacy of present policies to
achieve the necessary improvement in eco-efficiency puts radical, systemic change and
technological, economic and social innovation at the centre of sustainable development
policy. Close collaboration between environmental policy and innovation policy is
urgently needed.

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Instrumental integration and co-ordination of policies
In environmental policy, interest in the potential role of technological innovation for
attaining environmental goals is very limited. And, vice versa, the consideration given in
the innovation policy field to the promotion of environmental quality is also very limited.
There has been little contact between innovation policy and environmental policy and a
total lack of integration. Not only the two policies, but also their entire policy communities, including policy research, are largely separate worlds.
Approaches to better integration or co-ordination of environmental and innovation
policy can take either the perspective of single policy instruments focused on changing
(economic) behaviour, or that of transition programmes for system changes. They can
also be complementary (Figure 10.3).
Figure 10.3. Emerging collaboration between innovation and environmental policy in Flanders
Time

Innovation
Policy

Environmental
Policy

Innovation
Policy

Transition
Management

Environmental
Policy

Separate worlds

Integration of each others objectives

Need for system innovation

Little effect on environmental


technological development

Environmental policy, e.g. more flexible


and innovation-friendly
standards and permits

Decoupling Factor 10

Typically diffusion, not innovation


due to
uncertainty and lack of consistency
and isolated measures in the
innovation chain

Interactive policy making

Innovation policy, e.g. sustainable


technological development (DTO) scheme

Networking
Transition management

Integration agenda
Evaluation of innovation impacts of
environmental policy instruments

Development of environmental
regulations favouring innovation

Strengthening existing
innovation support schemes

Innovation chain management and


development of new instruments
(public procurement,
third-party financing, etc.)

Third-generation innovation policy


Technology forecasting and backcasting
Networking and clustering with
private sector and research

Institutional underpinning
MIP
Governance for linking environmental and innovation policies

Not surprisingly, traditional environmental and innovation policy instruments have


had little effect on environmental technology development. Environmental policy typically focuses on diffusion of existing technologies, not innovation, and it is often accused
of being a barrier to technological innovation. This can be said for instruments such as
regulation based on the best available technology, some types of covenants and even
economic instruments (subsidies, taxes, tradable certificates) that are used in Flanders.

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The basic reason is that innovation tends to be incremental under conditions of


uncertainty or when the long-term framework is lacking; Flanders has generally lacked
clear goal setting, consistent goal keeping and practical and consistent environmental
policies. The calculation of the wastewater charge, for example, was revised in five
successive years in the early 1990s; the system for renewable energy certificates has been
modified as much as seven times since its introduction in 2002. In a survey of the Flemish
environmental industry, business leaders mentioned this uncertainty as the most troubling
barrier for technological innovation (Bollen and Van Humbeeck, 2000). It is also one
explanation for the success of minimum compliance technology and end-of-pipe solutions
in the Flemish environmental industry. This confirms that the effect of environmental
instruments on technological innovation perhaps depends more on the role of political
leadership in setting clear targets that are reflected in the design and implementation of
instruments than on technical characteristics.
Second, traditional policy instruments cannot hope to achieve much more if they are
isolated measures. The innovation chain has to be reflected in the design of mutually
reinforcing policy mixes. This is the main reason why instruments such as technology
impulse programmes, R&D subsidies and demonstration projects have often failed.
Nevertheless, there are some promising examples of integration of the objectives of
environmental and innovation policies. The Flemish government recently made explicit
efforts to make regulatory policies more flexible and innovation friendly. A decree
adopted in 2004 stipulates that, whenever possible, environmental standards and permits
should formulate the environmental results to be attained rather than how they comply
(ends, not means). If it is necessary to use technology standards, firms can always use
an alternative with the same environmental effectiveness. On the side of innovation
policy, the Innovation Agency introduced a new subsidy mechanism in 2002 called
sustainable technological development (DTO). It is not conceived as a particular support
programme (a ghetto) for environmental and energy technologies, but is integrated in
all existing technological research and innovation support schemes as a bonus for R&D
projects that have a significant impact on resource savings and environmental quality.
Tools like the Benchmarking Covenant and the SO2 and NOX Covenant with the
electricity sector take a long-term perspective involving a long-term commitment to seek
new frontiers. Although they only stimulate the diffusion of world-class technologies and
do not intervene directly in the innovation process, they could provide a platform for
organising the transition from one technological regime to another.

Governance for system changes


In environmental policy as well as in innovation policy, there is an evolution towards
a system approach. System approaches take a broader view of policy as an institutionalised multi-actor and a multi-dimensional process. In this perspective, policy integration problems are problems of co-ordination in the governance structure that reveal
systemic failures.

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The system approach in innovation policy
Flemish innovation policy has evolved from a traditional first-generation innovation
policy towards an explorative third-generation innovation policy (European Commission,
2002).
In the 1980s, after the establishment of the first Flemish regional government still
with limited competencies the Flemish Minister-President launched the DIRV
campaign (Third Industrial Revolution in Flanders), which emphasised basic research of
international level in the new generic technologies and the creation of university spinoffs. This linear, technology-push strategy assumed that economic performance follows
research performance and coincided with the emergence of the first generation innovation
policy.
In the 1990s, a full-fledged Flemish innovation system started to become institutionalised with the establishment of a technology agency (IWT Institute for the
Promotion of Science and Technology in Industry) to support bottom-up technology
development. Interest in environmental technological innovation was weak. Early
Flemish pioneering results in wind energy or hydrogen energy were not pursued when
time-to-market was revealed to be much longer than hoped. The introduction of cluster
policy as a new economic development policy for Flanders failed because the cooperative mood was not yet strong enough. However, R&D policy evolved towards
broader innovation policy with the 1999 decree that provided the legal framework to
extend support as well as institutional leverage to stimulate collective innovation. This
embodied a second-generation innovation policy. Instead of relying entirely on
technology push, it puts the economic outcome as the objective and supports an
interactive model of organisation to bring together the requirements for success. IWT
evolved from a purely technology-push subsidy agency to the stimulator of innovation
with different roles. In addition to being a distributor of subsidies and financier of nearrisk capital, it became the co-ordinator of intermediary innovation agents under the
influence of the new conceptual framework of national innovation systems which
acknowledges the central role of interaction among innovation actors. The name of the
IWT was changed and became the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science
and Technology.
There has recently been a phase of consolidation and maturation in the Flemish
innovation system. The signature in 2003 of the Innovation Pact by the social actors,
which is a commitment to the Lisbon targets, has put innovation high on the political
agenda. With the appearance of third-generation innovation policy the focus is shifting
from pure science and technology objectives to sustainable growth as a programme of
broad societal goals. This involves a holistic view and a system-wide approach and
stresses the need for an integrated innovation policy, that integrates innovation with
sectoral policies. This requires sectoral policies to make innovation a distinct objective.
Innovation policy also has to expand its scope from economic goals to other types of
policy goals, not as constraints but as a part of a coherent mission. A sustainable
development policy combines these economic, social and ecological goals.

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The system approach in environmental policy


The new ecological approach in environmental policy shares a holistic paradigm with
third-generation innovation policy and reflects a general shift from a mechanical to a
biological worldview in science.
Roughly until the mid-1990s, environmental policy, institutions and legislation were
built around traditional environmental sectors (water, air, waste, soil), and environmental
problems were tackled by issuing environmental standards and permits and by building
large-scale waste and wastewater treatment facilities.
From the mid-1990s, it has become clear that this approach is not entirely effective,
and other policy concepts have been added. First, the set of policy instruments was
broadened. Because of the high cost and low level of effectiveness of traditional command and control regulation, other types of instruments, such as covenants and economic
instruments, were increasingly used. Second, government clearly wanted to steer more at
arms length and looked to greater co-operation with target groups to achieve environmental objectives. With the recognition that society cannot be steered by government and
that government is only one of many actors influencing the behaviour of citizens and
firms, the relationship between the state, the market and civil society began to change and
a multi-actor policy approach appeared. Third, environmental policy is placing greater
stress on the strong linkage between environmental problems and socio-economic
activities and thus the need for an integrated approach. This implies that environmental
objectives should be internalised and pursued by policies for agriculture, economy,
energy, transport, etc. More attention is also given to multi-level governance.
Recently, the concepts of system innovation and transition management have entered
Flemish environmental policy. The transition to a new, sustainable evolutionary trajectory
makes a set of strategies to change behaviour necessary. Policy makers are now conscious
of this challenge. The Environmental Policy Plan 2003-07 presents a framework for
transition management and for stimulating system innovation. From mid-2004, a project
on transition management in sustainable building is being carried out to learn to make this
a reality. Also, the 2004 environmental programme announced several initiatives to
promote the idea of system innovation (forecasting studies, development of a knowledge
infrastructure in co-operation with the innovation and technology policy field, creation of
a multi-actor network). The challenge is to concretise and implement these initiatives.
Transition management follows from the system approach and may be what is
missing to put the Flemish economy and society on the route towards structural renewal
and a coherent and sustainable model of production, consumption and innovation.
Environmentally oriented technological innovation will be at the heart of this
transformation.
Transition management is used to tackle very persistent problems. In transition
management the policy maker conducts the setting of a transition agenda and establishes
a communication platform to promote strategic convergence. The transition agenda
mobilises society for long-term goals on sustainable development and offers radical
innovators an opportunity to interact with complementary actors. One of the main tasks of
transformation concerns government itself, because an integrative horizontal policy
approach is needed to overcome vertical departmentalism.

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The innovation platform for environmental technologies1
A new impetus for integration of environmental policy and innovation policy comes
from their mutual evolution towards a system approach in the context of a broader policy
perspective founded on structural change and interactive policy making. Environmental
policy and innovation policy are developing into generic policy areas that affect a great
number of ministries. In a complex society the interaction of many players determines
outcomes. New technologies are also the result of many complementary inputs and
conditions. Management of such complexity is bound to fail if it is unable to adapt to an
ever-changing policy environment and unpredictable effects of interaction. Therefore, the
management of system innovation requires transition strategies to continuously adapt
agendas in the light of shifting long-term objectives in order to maintain progress towards
the societal goals on which a strategic consensus has been forged. Policy makers in
Flanders are starting to realise this and are experimenting with concepts such as
interactive policy making, multi-actor governance and transition management. Transition
management may serve to bring together innovation policy and environmental policy in
the coming years. The translation of such principles into practice is a lengthy process that
requires further institutional innovation. However, strategic initiatives to establish new
kinds of social contracts (Pact of Vilvoorde, Innovation Pact) need specific institutional
underpinnings.
In this regard, at the end of 2003 an Enterprise Conference took place, involving
Flemish public authorities, business organisations and labour unions. All parties agreed
that social and economic welfare has to be ensured through a strategy of enhancing
creativity and innovation. As a consequence, the Flemish government created the
Innovation Platform for Environmental Technologies (MIP) as a new form of institutional
co-operation based on innovation systems and third-generation innovation policy
(Figure 10.4). The platform integrates the policy instruments of three ministries
(Innovation, Environment and Energy Policy), and has the potential to become an
example of integrated innovation policy. Its success will depend on the will of the parties
involved to co-operate on the lines that were put forward. The aim of the Innovation
Platform is to bring together all relevant private and public actors in order to boost the
innovation potential of environmental technologies in Flanders for internal and export
purposes.
The mission of the Innovation Platform is to encourage synergies using the pooled
policy instruments of the three ministerial domains to meet the common goal. It is non
hierarchical and based on networking of ministries and administrations. The platform is
structured to work closely with (semi) public companies and relevant firms and
stakeholders and to encompass and co-ordinate supply-driven (DTO scheme, user groups,
Excellence Pole on Environmental Technologies) as well as demand-driven instruments
(technology procurement, regulations favouring innovation, and new financial instruments). A central Steering Committee co-ordinates all activities and will draw up an
action plan containing the key objectives and pointing to synergies.

1.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Paul Zeeuwts to this section.

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Figure 10.4. Structure of the Innovation Platform for Environmental Technologies (MIP)
Innovation policy

Environmental policy

Energy policy
Advisory Group

Other policies

Steering Committee
Federal level

Action Plan

European Union

Demand-driven policies

Working Group 1:
Public procurement

WG 2: regulations
Favouring innovation

WG 3: New financial
instruments

Supply-driven policies

Existing Innovation
Support schemes:
R&D companies
SME -programme
Strategic Basic
Research Technical
High schools
Cluster support +
Ecoscan

User
Group 1

Pole of Execllence VITO


(+ universities, technical high schools)

User
Group 2

Bringing existing
technology to a
commercial stage

User
Group x

New
knowledge
development

Knowledge diffusion, Prodem,


BBT/EMIS

Along with these general policy objectives, a new Pole of Excellence on Environmental Technologies was created, located in VITO but involving university and other
research capabilities. This pole of excellence will deal with two kinds of projects: first,
projects bringing existing knowledge to the commercialisation stage and second, projects
developing new basic knowledge. Priorities will be demand-driven, based on technological and commercial potential and taking into account the need for publicly supported
knowledge development. The Steering Committee of the Innovation Platform will decide
on priorities, acting as a board.
Thematic working groups will deal with these issues. They will mainly be composed
of members of the relevant administration, (semi) public companies and relevant firms.

Assessment of MIP
To assess Flemish experience and developments requires once again attention to the
same factors of good governance as for sustainable development political leadership,
institutional mechanisms, transparency, and strategic intelligence.

Political support and leadership


Sustainability requires policy integration or co-ordination, improved interaction
between government and society and a long-term policy view. This cannot happen in a
bottom-up manner. It requires political commitment at the highest level and willingness
to deal with trade-offs and conflicts of interests.

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Political support and leadership in setting up and implementing the MIP is vital. The
decision to create an Innovation Platform was taken by the Flemish government following a commitment by Flemish public authorities, enterprise organisations and labour
unions in the Enterprise Conference. It is possible, and even probable, that the parties
agreed to an environmental innovation platform without a clear picture of its role and
relevance. The platforms success will depend a lot on the understanding, support and
political will of the new government to implement its goals and working principles.

Institutional mechanisms
At the outset, the only tools for co-ordinating environmental and innovation policies
in the MIP are the action plan and the participation of different ministries in the Steering
Committee and in working groups. Clear procedures for decision making are lacking, and
there is no clear political commitment concerning budget support, personnel and capacity
building.
There is not a single best instrument or programme for promoting environmental
technological innovation. A mix of strategies is needed to develop an eco-efficient market
economy with good conditions for eco-innovations. Good governance requires a wide
portfolio of policies. Economic instruments are important but not sufficient. One also
needs innovation- and knowledge-oriented policies. Such a policy mix is very time- and
context-dependent and should be attuned to the demands of specific clusters in cooperation with the innovation actors. The portfolio of policy instruments should cover the
whole trajectory of the innovation and diffusion process and focus on a combined push
and pull approach. Market- or demand-side programmes can promote the application of
new technologies and stimulate wider application of proven technologies, all within a
strategic context of well-defined specialisation.
The basic propositions of MIP are sound and innovative. Its efforts will concentrate
on well-defined target areas. There is a clear commitment, not only to strengthen the
classical policy instruments of research and innovation policy for the purpose of
environmental innovation, but also to complement them with new instruments targeting
the demand side of environmental technologies and to work across the traditional borders
of environmental and innovation policy. However, one should be cautious to limit the
scope of MIPs work to the three potential instruments put forward (smart technology
procurement, modification of regulations for innovation and introduction of new financial
instruments).

Interactive policy making and transparency


Government, business, investors, consumers, researchers, NGOs and educators all
have important roles to play in redesigning the innovation system. This is important in the
globalising economy because assessment of markets and new technologies is key to
companies long-term survival. Also, companies themselves are challenged to attend to a
broader set of objectives and integrate social, environmental and ethical considerations in
their business (socially responsible corporate governance).
At the level of MIP, interaction is the task of the Steering Committee. There is an
important opportunity to introduce and experiment with horizontal integration of policies
for innovation purposes, with a more pro-active role for different policies aimed at
innovation and for networking and clustering. However, it is unclear whether the composition of the Steering Group and a relationship with an advisory group is the best solution.
The Steering Group is a hybrid body composed of representatives of government and of a
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few business organisations. Involvement of other stakeholders will be organised through


an advisory group, but its composition and functions are unclear. At the moment, transparency seems to be lacking, although it is essential to establish a credible policy that is
supported by a wide range of actors.

Strategic intelligence
To reach the ambitious goals of MIP requires strategic intelligence. This involves
analytical instruments such as foresight, scenario analysis, benchmarking, cost-benefit
analysis, monitoring, technology assessment, etc., and competencies in process management, participative methods for consultation and co-ordination, policy instruments and
policy mix, system innovation and transition management, etc., in order to create a
common mindset, provide a common framework of reference, rationalise the decision
processes and help to implement the important choices that will have to be made. Little
attention has been given to these new types of instruments for strategic intelligence.

Conclusions and recommendations


Sustainability: the need for a new approach to public sector management
Public management for sustainable development
Public-sector management is in need of new methods to deal with present urgencies
and long-term vision. On the one hand, there are challenges such as the ageing of the
population, immigration flows, the financing of the social security system, prevention of
infrastructure congestion and environmental degradation that require long-term visions
and strategies. On the other hand, the pressure of day-to-day decisions and the
management of conflicting claims on limited resources is becoming more difficult in an
open society where short-term success parameters tend to dictate the agenda. The art of
governing is to combine the conflicting agendas of long-term and short-term decision
making into new styles of political leadership and new methods of political and
administrative management.
The discovery of a transition path to a sustainable development along the economic,
social and ecological dimensions may be the main current challenge for policy
development. Technological progress carries high hopes for ecological modernisation and
is bringing innovation policies and environmental policies closer together.
The important political choices that need to be made are seldom made by single
players, whether in the market place or in the political arena. In a complex society, outcomes are determined by interaction among the players and new technologies are the
result of complementary inputs and conditions.
Sustainable development requires initiatives to better integrate economic, environmental and social goals within the mandate of each policy sector. This requires measures
to build and strengthen a sound policy cycle in every policy sector (vertical coherence),
measures to improve the co-ordination of sectoral policies (horizontal coherence) and
measures to allow for the modulation of short-term and long-term objectives (temporal
coherence). Good governance and sound public management seem more important for the
implementation of sustainable development policies than new institutions and regulations.
The most important aspects are political leadership, institutional mechanisms for policy
co-ordination, transparency and knowledge management (Table 10.1).

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Table 10.1. The current situation for sustainable development in Flanders
Preconditions Current situation

Recent developments

Recommendations for Flanders

Political
leadership

Federal: low, not a priority.


Flanders: low, not a priority.

Federal: rising, new minister-secretary


of state for sustainable development.
Flanders: Pact of Vilvoorde; Ministerpresident formally responsible for coordinating sustainable development
policy in Flanders.

Strengthen political leadership and


vision.
Better include sustainable development
in social contracts and pacts.

Institutional
mechanisms

Federal: ICDO and the sustainable


development Plan are weak and
are not working properly.
Flanders: lack of mechanisms for
co-ordination of policies (BBB).

Federal: programmatic public service on


sustainable development and
sustainable development impact
analysis.
Flanders: interdepartmental working
group for sustainable development;
promising regulatory management
instruments (e.g. RIA).

Set up a central sustainable


development unit to act as a catalyst.
Install evaluation and reporting
mechanisms to support sustainability
appraisal.
Develop longer-term budgeting and
sound regulatory management
instruments.

Transparency Federal: public enquiries; Federal


Council for Sustainable
Development (FRDO).
Flanders: public enquiries;
Environmental Council, SocialEconomic Council.

Federal/ Flanders: a lot of separate and


often small scale initiatives and
experiments such as focus groups, test
panels and forms of interactive policy
making, developed by government
administrations, at universities, by
NGOs, etc.

Ensure a more efficient and effective


participation of citizens, stakeholders
and advisory bodies.
Use new and more flexible consultation
methods.
Introduce "white papers" for earlier
consultation.
Introduce a regulatory agenda and
notice and comment.
Develop clear guidelines and minimum
standards for consultation.

Knowledge
management

Federal: PODO
Flanders: emerging use of scenario
analysis and foresight at APS, ViwTA,
VRWB; establishment of university
policy support points, departmental
policy units in BBB, transition
management .

Build strategic intelligence capabilities.


Strengthen analytical instruments such
as foresight, scenario analysis, etc. and
integrate them in the policy cycle.
Build competences on process
management, participative methods for
co-ordination, policy instruments and
policy mix, etc.
Develop forums for sharing experience
and knowledge.

Federal: Federal Planning Bureau.


Flanders: Advisory Councils,
MIRA, NARA, etc.

Political interest in sustainable development policy is still high on the agenda at


federal level and in Flanders. A particular promising development is that,
following the regional elections of June 2004, the responsibility for co-ordinating
sustainable development policy in Flanders was for the first time assigned formally
to a minister, the Minister-President of the Flemish government. It remains to be
seen whether this will lead to stronger political leadership for sustainable development.

New institutional mechanisms that have been very recently introduced in


Flanders, such as the Programmatic Public Service on Sustainable Development,
sustainable development impact analysis at federal level, and the new regulatory
management instruments (e.g. regulatory impact analysis), are promising tools.
They should be developed further to act as catalysts for improvement. Also the
new Flemish interdepartmental working group on sustainable development is a
first step into the direction of integration of policies.

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The Flemish and federal governments have a strong tradition of working with
advisory councils and public enquiries. These are necessary but insufficient components of a full-fledged open policy development process. More effort to
enhance the transparency of the policy process is necessary to allow more interaction between administrations and more stakeholder involvement. At present,
there are several experiments with participatory approaches, but these are often
separate, small-scale initiatives. For Flanders, the priority is probably not to install a
Flemish Council for Sustainable Development, not because there are several wellestablished advisory boards/councils, and the space and resources for yet an
additional council is limited, but because such a council would again institutionalise consultation practices, tend to monopolise stakeholder involvement and
hinder new participants and innovative consultation methods. The priority should
therefore be to integrate sustainable development thinking in each and every
advisory council, and more importantly, to ensure more efficient and effective
participation of citizens, stakeholders and advisory councils in important policy
decisions. Here progress is slow both in Flanders and at federal level.

Political commitment and policy integration can only go together if there is a


framework for long-term strategic convergence. At the federal level the Research
Programme for Sustainable Development (PODO) and the Planning Bureau
provide important support. Flanders does not have such an institution. Generally,
instruments for strategic intelligence to support decision processes are not well
developed, either at the federal level or in Flanders. Initiatives with foresight,
back-casting and other explorative techniques for policy development are
scattered and poorly linked to the policy cycle. Forums for sharing experience and
knowledge are nearly inexistent.

Combining positive points of the federal and Flemish situations, and giving more
attention to integration, it should be possible to develop and carry out strong and coherent
national and regional strategies for sustainable development. The different elements of
governance need mutually reinforcing dynamics between government levels in Belgium
and between administrative levels in Flanders. The recent collaboration between
environmental policy and innovation policy in Flanders indicates a possible way to
advance the integration agenda.

From government to governance


The present management of innovation systems tends not to produce the necessary
breakthroughs for sustainable growth. The industrial system still normally chooses
rationalisation and end-of-pipe solutions to react to pressures arising from ecological
problems.
Moreover, in the current transitional phase, market signals for eco-innovations are
weak and unclear. Markets can be efficient (to a certain extent) but favour shortsightedness because of the difficulties of coping with uncertainty and pricing. Therefore
an economy in which government corrects such market failures has proven better able to
handle socio-economic shifts. Environmental policies are crucial for developing new
markets on both the supply and the demand side. Innovation policy is also about market
creation, as governments can play a role by actively supporting breakthroughs (basic
research, product standards, public procurement).

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Insufficient production of environmental technological innovations is not just a
problem of prices that do not reflect societal costs. The innovation strategies of
companies depend on their appraisal of market potential and risk, but companies are also
part of networks and national systems of innovation on which their ability and willingness
to innovate also depends. The cumulative and embedded nature of technical change
means that companies are locked into non-eco-efficient systems and products. Internalising the environmental costs is therefore a necessary but insufficient condition for
escaping lock-in.
The system model of innovation shows that environmentally friendly innovation
requires conditions other than price incentives. Regulation is usually mentioned as the
most important, but the institutional settings of the innovation system have a much
broader scope. Making companies behave more pro-actively requires changes at many
levels of the innovation system: the government-business relationship has to change,
producers and consumers must develop new competencies and the economic framework
conditions have to change to make the innovation system perform better from a
sustainability point of view. This is a political challenge as much as a challenge for
business. There is thus a strong case for active policies to stimulate environmental
innovation for sustainability.

Assessment and recommendations


To carry out an ambitious programme of structural transformation requires a combination of instruments that influence behaviour of individuals (consumers and producers) and institutional engineering in the form of transition management. The coordination of policy design and policy implementation, especially between environmental
policy and related domains (such as energy, agriculture, transport) and innovation policy,
is of utmost importance.
Progress is rather slow. Flanders still finds it difficult to capitalise on the synergy
between environment, research and competition policies. Investing in the future has no
urgency in the actual political business cycle and self-imposed targets (Kyoto targets, the
3% target for R&D) risk being delayed. Other types of governance are necessary to create
societal consensus and direction in complex issues of this kind.
To improve the co-ordination of innovation policy and environmental policy under
the umbrella of sustainable development, some common goals and strategies can easily be
defined:

Promote environmental technological innovations explicitly rather than implicitly.

Develop an integrated horizontal strategy towards environmental innovation with


other policy fields such as energy, transport, housing, agriculture, etc.

Create a network with all relevant partners; develop integration and interaction
models to stimulate innovation as a common learning process.

Promote system innovation and new management styles such as transition


management.

Develop joint measures and projects that take advantage of synergies between
environmental and innovative strategies.

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Use public technology procurement as a major driver for strategic innovation


policies for sustainable development.

In environmental (and related) policy the following actions can be recommended:

Keep trying to get prices right.

Create a more innovation friendly regulatory and policy framework; consistency


and predictability is more important than financial incentives.

Set distinctive innovation objectives (together with the innovation policy domain)
in transition programmes.

Integrate technology foresight models into policy design.

Better integrate and co-ordinate the different instruments and estimate their
impact on innovation.

Use a mix of instruments, favouring those with a stronger impact on system


innovation (with long-term goals) over those for system improvements, and
analyse the impact on innovation.

Take existing platforms, e.g. for covenants, as a starting point to build trust in
more far-reaching changes.

Promote an integrated approach to the value chain (life cycle analysis, ecodesign).

Promote and evaluate support for demonstration projects.

Extend the policy toolbox with new, promising environmental instruments such
as innovation waivers and environmental technology verification programmes.

In innovation policy, the following actions can be taken:

Strengthen traditional mechanisms R&D funding, diffusion, technology


transfer through better synchronised policies along the innovation chain for
environmental technologies.

Increase the use of environmental criteria in policies and programmes that support
technology development. Sustainable development or global responsibility has to
be an explicit selection criterion on the same level as the technical and financial
aspects of project evaluation by IWT.

Improve the convergence of supply and demand in environmental innovation in


Flanders by promoting platforms of strategic actors, supported by foresight
capabilities.

Support the development of new competitive economic clusters in environmental


and energy technologies, on both the supply side (technology providers) and the
user side (sectors that improve their competitiveness through increased ecoefficiency).

Target a much greater share of resources explicitly to environmental sustainability in experiments of transition to new technology trajectories in which
Flanders has comparative advantages (e.g. in energy technology as announced in
the Policy Agreement).

GOVERNANCE OF INNOVATION SYSTEMS: CASE STUDIES IN CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY ISBN-92-64-03571-0 OECD 2006

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266 LINKING INNOVATION POLICY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN FLANDERS

Promote the development of new instruments and measures such as demand-side


research, innovative public procurement, technology forecasting and technology
roadmaps that ensure that technology meets the societal and environmental needs
for sustainability.

Develop joint measures and projects with the relevant policy domains (environment, energy).

Pay explicit attention to new policy development for third-generation innovation


policy by attention to (international) policy learning and strategic intelligence,
with a focus on integration with sustainable development.

The new Innovation Platform for Environmental Technology can bring together
several aspects of these recommendations. It could become a powerful instrument for
assessing where societal needs and technological capacities might be brought together to
achieve breakthroughs in sustainability. It can also bring together strategic actors to
develop new innovation chains. It can become an instrument for fostering the development of visions and co-operation among different actors in relevant innovation systems.
However, several key aspects of governance need to be improved during implementation
of the MIP (Table 10.2):
Table 10.2. Summary of recommendations for improving the governance of MIP
Governance
component

Importance

Assessment of MIP

Recommendations

Political support
and leadership

Policy co-ordination and improved


interaction between government and
society in the context of a long-term
policy view requires political will at
the highest level.

Outcome of the Enterprise


Conference, so in principle broad
support.

Provide a clear picture of role and


relevance of MIP.

Institutional
mechanisms:
Policy portfolio and
policy mix

There is not a single best instrument


or programme for promoting
environmental technological
innovation.

The basic propositions of MIP are


sound and innovative.

Do not limit the scope to the three


potential instruments put forward,
provide additional focus on
programmes for system innovation;
create interfaces for developing
tailor-made policy mixes such as
cluster platforms.

Integration

Key issues in integrating


environmental and innovation policy
are policy style and governance
arrangements for policy integration.

Action plan; participation of different


ministries in the Steering Committee
and in working groups.

Create governance tools and


arrangements for policy coordination, such as an innovation
impact assessment tool; provide
clear responsibilities and mandates,
clear procedures for decision
making.

Interactive
policymaking and
transparency

Decisions on the future shape of


society imply interactions with
different actors to build consensus
through adequate institutional
arrangements.

Steering Committee, advisory group,


user groups.

Tackle the hybrid and unbalanced


composition of the Steering
Committee; clarify the role and
composition of the advisory group
and user groups; provide adequate
mechanisms for transparency.

Strategic
intelligence

Without strategic intelligence, there


is a real danger that MIP will be
captured by particular interests and
lobbies to create another one-stop
shop for R&D subsidies and
business support.

No analytical instruments such as


fores