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Governance of focused innovation policy to build resilience

Containers piled up at a port - economic resilience main image

New Zealand Productivity Commission

Ron Crawford

Naomi Ashby-Ryan

Date published

20 February 2024

Prosperous innovative societies are resilient to supply chain and other economic shocks because they have the resources and innovative capabilities to respond successfully to those shocks. Small, advanced economies tend to rate highly on measures of innovation and resilience and have high incomes and resources that enable them to adjust quickly to shocks. 

This paper describes the governance of focused innovation policy in five small, advanced economies – Finland, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Singapore (with a further example from Canada). We look at how, and under what conditions, governance arrangements can provide a platform for building economic resilience and responding to unanticipated shocks. The paper looks at a variety of collaborative national and devolved governance arrangements. New Zealand generally lacks well-developed enduring arrangements for steering and implementing focused innovation policy and can learn from the experience of other resilient and innovative small, advanced economies. 

Promoting focused innovation policy requires sustained effort over time, informed by evaluation of specific initiatives and periodic review of programme design and direction. Devolved governance arrangements take time to mature and produce payoff in terms of successful innovation outcomes. Staying on course over many years is necessary for success.  


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