Chile’s National Innovation Council for Development (CNID) is an autonomous organ that supports and provides advice to the Presidency of Chile on science, technology and innovation (STI) throughout the generation of the national innovation strategy for development.
This project presents an analysis of the changes in the framings and guidelines in the four national innovation strategies. We use as a comparison model the three frames for innovation policy: R&D, systems of innovation and transformative change (Schot & Steinmueller, 2018).
The first national innovation strategy´s main objective was the improvement of Chile´s competitiveness and economic growth. The policy actions were supported on the theory of resolving different market failures. The innovation process was understood as a complex and systemic phenomenon and the innovation system is described as “consisting of a network of different actors and their interactions that are directly or indirectly related to the introduction or diffusion of new products or processes in the economy”. There is a prioritization of resources on STI for enhancing competitiveness of 8 national industries and the conformation of industrial clusters (CNIC, 2007).
The second national innovation strategy maintained the same general guidelines. In this period the promotion of other types of innovation, such as management, commercialization or design innovation appears. There is a strong effort on the connection between the university sector and companies, making an especial emphasis on University´s third mission. Technology transfer, entrepreneurship and global connections acquire great relevance (CNIC, 2010).
These two strategies are in some ways consistent with the first two frames described by Schot and Steinmueller. They present some characteristics of the first frame (innovation for growth) such as, target on science-based industry and sustained improvement in factor productivity; and of the second frame (national systems of innovation) such as, awareness on the importance of interactions between actors and global connections.
The third innovation strategy presents a radical change; it does not deliver a specific plan. It claims that in an era of rapid change and growing uncertainty, planning ahead might be a mistake, since the future cannot be predicted. Its main proposal is building capabilities for anticipating possible future trajectories by analysing current and future trends, locally and globally, in the social, environmental and scientific and technological dimensions, in order to be prepared for challenges and opportunities ahead. The concept “innovation ecosystems” begin to emerge in order to reflect its dynamisms and complexity (CNIC, 2013).
The fourth and last national innovation strategy´s main objective is achieving sustainable development. This aspiration required bigger transformations that needed connections between policies, public-private partnerships and the pursuit of common goals. There is also a particular focus on building capacities for complex challenges we face today as a country, as a region and as a planet (namely, resilience to natural disasters and sustainable water management) (CNID, 2017).
These two last strategies have some elements from the transformative innovation approach, such as: the vision that STI can contribute to challenges for sustainable development, the recognition that market failures are insufficient and that certain directionality is needed and the acknowledgment that continuous experimentation is important.
Emerging themes of the transformative innovation global research agenda related to the project
This project seeks to present an analysis of the evolution of innovation frames in Chile which are related to the national innovation strategy delivered by the National Innovation Council for Development. This council is an actor that has influenced the changes in the innovation guidelines of the country and has a great potential in the promotion of transformative change. This is related to the topic: “The role of specific actors in transformative change: Governments, businesses, scholars, civil society organisations”.