Research with innovation policy makers making an impact - at what price?

Professor Jari Kuusisto
Lappeenranta University of Technology • Finland University of Sussex • United Kingdom 8th Annual Open and User Innovation Workshop • 2010

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Jari Kuusisto

Research setting
Analysis of 5 completed research projects for the OECD, EU Commission and several national governments on
•  User innovation •  Service innovation

Literature analysis Qualitative business case studies Telephone surveys quantitative and qualitative

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Jari Kuusisto

Research setting
5 completed research projects on
•  User innovation •  Service innovation

Policy impact analysis
•  How research has influenced innovation policy development?

Literature analysis Qualitative business case studies Telephone surveys quantitative and qualitative

Innovation policy documents Minutes of the meetings Telephone surveys with policy makers

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Jari Kuusisto

How to maximize policy impact
1.  First you need to develop common language and understanding with the policy makers
•  It takes time, most often longer than expected •  Hard lessons learned as a result of hundreds of meetings with policy makers in the contexts of service - and user innovation policy

2.  It is important to listen policy makers and try to understand their motivations and broader needs
•  What is realistic - e.g. time frame? Room for new initiatives •  What is the ‘hidden’ agenda?

3.  Purist research approach may not always be practical
•  Need to be flexible according to changing needs •  Find a balance between accommodating research and practitioner needs

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Jari Kuusisto

Things to remember in policy context
3  Decision makers require solid evidence based research to support policy development
•  Final decisions of new policy actions may be based on the research results, or not...

4 

Innovation policy tends to be quite conservative
•  User innovation is a new topic that will not automatically be on the agenda despite the research based evidence

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It is not productive to be very critical, or push forward a narrow agenda
•  You tend to offend your paymasters who often have much wider agenda

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Jari Kuusisto

Contributions so far…
•  Better understanding on the interaction process between researchers and policy makers
•  Systematic analysis on how researchers can make an impact by working closely with the policy makers •  Reveals drivers, bottlenecks and timing related issues
•  Existing value systems and institutions tend to resist change

•  Evolving innovation policy is constantly opening very good opportunities for researchers
•  Good knowledge of policy domain is often as important as research related skills •  Often success comes as a result of several related research projects

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Jari Kuusisto

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