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Should “open innovation” change innovation policy thinking in catching-up economies? Considerations for policy analyses

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This paper provides a review of the current state of academic and policy-level debates on “open innovation” by elaborating on the relevance of the concept of open innovation for innovation policy-making in catching-up economies. The paper shows that paradoxes and contradictions exist between the “mainstream” innovation discourse and the development challenges of the catching-up countries that have lead to “de-contextualization” of the innovation policy discourse. The paper argues that applying the concept of open innovation in its ideal-type form to the catching-up context is likely to reinforce these de-contextualization tendencies. This problem can be remedied by more conscious attention to the basic contradictions and paradoxes, which requires a more comprehensive and systemic analytical focus on innovation and technological development at the levels of firm, industry and policy.

Keywords: catching-up economies; developing countries; innovation policy; innovation theory; open innovation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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