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Research with innovation policy makers

making an impact - at what price?

Professor Jari Kuusisto

Lappeenranta University of Technology • Finland
University of Sussex • United Kingdom

8th Annual Open and User Innovation Workshop • 2010

1 Jari Kuusisto
Research setting

Analysis of 5 completed research projects for the OECD, EU

Commission and several national governments on
•  User innovation
•  Service innovation

Literature analysis
Qualitative business case studies
Telephone surveys quantitative
and qualitative

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Research setting

5 completed research Policy impact analysis

projects on •  How research has influenced
•  User innovation innovation policy
•  Service innovation

Literature analysis Innovation policy documents

Qualitative business case studies Minutes of the meetings
Telephone surveys quantitative Telephone surveys with policy
and qualitative makers

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How to maximize policy impact

1.  First you need to develop common language and understanding

with the policy makers
•  It takes time, most often longer than expected
•  Hard lessons learned as a result of hundreds of meetings with policy makers in
the contexts of service - and user innovation policy

2.  It is important to listen policy makers and try to understand their

motivations and broader needs
•  What is realistic - e.g. time frame? Room for new initiatives
•  What is the ‘hidden’ agenda?

3.  Purist research approach may not always be practical

•  Need to be flexible according to changing needs
•  Find a balance between accommodating research and practitioner needs

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Things to remember in policy context

3  Decision makers require solid evidence based research to support

policy development
•  Final decisions of new policy actions may be based on the research results, or

4  Innovation policy tends to be quite conservative

•  User innovation is a new topic that will not automatically be on the agenda despite
the research based evidence

5  It is not productive to be very critical, or push forward a narrow

•  You tend to offend your paymasters who often have much wider agenda

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Contributions so far…

•  Better understanding on the interaction process between

researchers and policy makers
•  Systematic analysis on how researchers can make an impact by
working closely with the policy makers
•  Reveals drivers, bottlenecks and timing related issues
•  Existing value systems and institutions tend to resist change

•  Evolving innovation policy is constantly opening very

good opportunities for researchers
•  Good knowledge of policy domain is often as important as research
related skills
•  Often success comes as a result of several related research projects

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