Game of innovation
We are pleased to present the next volume of the Future Fuelled by Knowledge series. Its purpose is to fuel the future with knowledge on the challenges facing Poland in its efforts to transform into an innovative economy.
Innovativeness is the capacity to design something entirely new and make profit on its commercialisation. Thus, the true purpose of innovation is not the invention itself, but delivering the greatest possible benefits to society. Innovativeness is the ultimate destination for entrepreneurship and yet it is a necessary condition of continued long-term economic growth once economy has been modernised.
The objective of an innovative economy is to ensure that the entire value chain, from an idea to end product, is located in the home country – in other words, to create conditions where innovations are not only developed in Poland, but also implemented at Polish companies and then exported from the country. To that end we need to:
- prepare innovators to generate many attractive ideas by reducing their life risk inherent in the process of developing innovations and by changing the approach to education – and this is what the first essay is about;
- set up catalysts of innovative ideas at corporations, so that innovative ideas and prototypes could be forged into strong links in the economy’s value chain, providing benefits to enterprises – see the second essay;
- launch a state-run mission for innovation that would support the value chain to ensure that as many ideas as possible generate the highest possible added value, for the country and businesses alike – see the third essay.
Managing innovations by pre-defining what may be useful is ineffective. This is demonstrated by the experience of the European Union, which made a mistake of promoting specific renewable energy technologies instead of identifying climate protection as the objective and giving the market the freedom to select the optimum solution. As a result, the substantial funding incurred did not bring about a proper revolution. A better solution is a neutral approach to technology management, the one promoted in the United States, which focuses on problems and needs rather than on specific technologies. With this approach, inventors know what to look for and the industry knows which prototypes need to be developed, while the government fulfils its mission and creates jobs.
Without the government’s mission, the system of innovation would develop but many prototypes funded from public sources would end up abroad. Progress would be slower and the chance to create a new industry in the country would be low. This volume presents the story of Mr Inventive, an enterprising and creative man. It provides a context for an analysis of the rules of the game of innovation from the perspectives of:
- the innovator – in search of an idea, facing own deficiencies in knowledge, skills and facilities, trying to secure the first source of funding;
- the company – an existing ‘plant’ reproducing known designs, unwilling to help, and requiring specific incentives to implement innovative solutions;
- the architect – an organisation or institution setting the ‘rules of the game’ of innovation in Poland.
At each new stage of the game the players learn more and more about the innovation system, while the challenges they face evolve. This report is divided into three parts. Each consists of a description of Mr Inventive’s situation, a short essay on the problems related to the creation of an innovative economy, and figures showing key elements of the problems encountered in a given area. Each part also contains recommendations.
We therefore add to the discussion on the innovation aspects of the ‘Responsible Development Plan’, not only indicating what to do and what not to do, but also suggesting some solutions welcomed by the business.