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The development of Australia's innovation strategy: can the public sector system assess new policy frameworks?

Marsh, I and Edwards, L 2008 , The development of Australia's innovation strategy: can the public sector system assess new policy frameworks?.

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In recent years, innovation has been seen as an increasingly important base
for economic dynamism and growth and thus has risen in priority as a
concern for governments. But approaches vary significantly between
states. This partly reflects the complexity of the concept of innovation,
which has come to involve two quite distinct concerns. One covers the
development of science-based industries (like biotechnology or nanotechnology)
and the other the upgrading of established industries through
the dissemination of knowledge (Smith and West, 2005). Differences
between states also reflect normative, technical and other issues
concerning such factors as industry structure, research capabilities,
circumstances, opportunities, and the role of government.
Innovation as a capability that yields benefits for the economy is one issue.
No less important is a capacity for innovation in public policy: indeed this
might be regarded as a special instance of the more general theme. Policy
systems and processes need to be able to identify and assess strategic
challenges. The public sector is an especially challenging context for such
assessments. The well documented hazard of lock-in in large complex
organisations is especially salient to a governmental policy system with its
multiple interconnections and dispersed and divided authorities.
Interdependence, on the one hand, between political and administrative
structures and, on the other, between administrative organisations and
agencies augments the potential for conflict. This can work perversely to
suppress attention to issues or to constrain the range of solutions (March,

Item Type: Report (Discussion Paper)
Authors/Creators:Marsh, I and Edwards, L
Publisher: Australian Business Foundation
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