Innovation Systems, Concepts, Approaches and Lessons from RNRRS, RNRSS Synthesis Study Number 10


The document discusses the principal elements of the innovation systems (IS) approach and the methods used for this study. It cautions that without indicators of impact it is particularly difficult to demonstrate that one approach to research fund management has more impact than another. It points to impacts that they are often diffuse, cumulative over long periods of time, and difficult to attribute to particular research inputs. This quick synthesis of a vast range of materials and activities meant that much has to be inferred and the conclusions are largely qualitative.

The report draws some lessons for the future. These are:

  • the IS framework provides a useful framework to guide research managers wishing to achieve innovation.
  • an initial “system diagnosis” in particular are crucial and can be simple or complex (depending on the resources available).
  • innovation projects can have impacts in reducing poverty but if they are also to provide “international public goods” it is necessary to invest explicitly in this learning process to extract the higher level generalisation both about the process (programme management and innovation) and the content of the innovation process.