International Organisation for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development
IKED - International Organisation for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development

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..:: Measuring Innovation - in search of a more balanced approach
At the national level, the policy spheres of innovation, information society and entrepreneurship have taken magnum leaps in recent years when it comes to moving out of the shadow of traditionally dominating macroeconomic perspectives. In practice, however, much remains to be done to organise effective responses to the real issues complicating and frustrating effective and constructive playing rules in such areas. The problems span from traditional organisational structures and turf-battles within governments as well as between public authorities, to genuine difficulties to comprehend the issues and challenges that characterise a knowledge-based society. Tailor-made approaches are required to address the real issues confronting each society and specific sets of institutional fabric. At the same time, much can be learned from international comparison.

Civil society, meanwhile, has grown in importance and is now widely recognised as a major force in identifying outstanding issues and in building positive energy in support of much needed reforms, e.g., when it comes to education or concern for environmental or cultural assets, which are often weakly supported by traditional policy institutions. Still, many authorities keep sensing fear when met with the forces of bottom-up initiative and responds defensively rather than constructively. Authorities meeting with demands orchestrated through spontaneous bottom-up movements in countries such as Brazil, China, Russia and Turkey respond with particularly autocratic suppression, but few have come to understand how such civic movement can be appreciated and even cultivated for positive purposes.

As of today, it has become important for basically any country to find a way of embracing what we have come to associate with "social innovation". In contrast to mainstream "commercially oriented" innovation, the success of social innovation is not proven by a product generating revenue in the market but by take-up and use by people, i.e. by changes in behaviour, which may or may not be of economic significance.

As indicated, somehow attitudes need to change at the highest level of policymaking, so as to radiate signals through government administration and among other key stakeholders that constructive community engagement is a good thing. As is elaborated in the SI-DRIVE project, which has been devised by a consortium of (European as well as non-European) partners, including IKED, this requires new models of governance. This project, which started in January 2014 and will run until 2018, will result in a unique mapping of social innovations worldwide and an increased understanding of the implications for policymakers. IKED's responsibility in this project spans social innovation in the Nord counries, and also in the Arab Gulf. In addition, IKED is particularly concerned with social innovations in the areas of education, health and the environment.

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