Alina Lidén, PhD student
The emergence and development of National Innovation Systems
National System of Innovation is a fairly young concept, emerging in the beginning of the 1980s. Nonetheless, there is a rather extensive body of literature dealing with it, and the research carried out in this field is growing exponentially. Despite this great interest for the NIS approach and the extensive work done so far, the concept is challenged by noteworthy conceptual and methodological ambiguities and limitations.
NIS is a buzz-word both in policymaking and the research community. Since its emergence in the academia in the late 1980s and 1990s (Freeman, 1987; Lundvall, 1992; Nelson, 1993; Edquist, 1997), the concept rapidly attracted the interest of policy makers and international think-tanks such as the OECD. As is the case with other concepts as well, the OECD has been an important factor in promoting the NIS term, transforming it into a buzzword. Despite a growing body of literature, there is currently no unanimous agreement on how NIS should be defined and addressed empirically. Some researchers emphasize the need to develop a common methodology to guide empirical work (Edquist, 2005), while others advocate the advantage of keeping the approach open and flexible (Lundvall, 2003).
The aim is to place it within a historical, economic, social and intellectual context and briefly outline its development over time. The second task of this paper is to map the history of the spread of a concept. We believe that there are important conclusions to be drawn from understanding the mechanism of how a concept is created and spread.
My research will be developed according to the following three blocks:
- 1. Emergence and development of the National Innovation System.
- 2. A comparison of three discourses: academia, OECD, policymakers.
- 3. Adopting NIS: a comparative analysis.