How can Public Policy Encourage Innovation and Entrepreneurship?

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The Rueschlikon Conference on Information Policy, chaired by Professor Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger, just released its latest conference report on Innovative Entrepreneurship and Public Policy. The report, authored by Kenneth Cukier, includes recommendations for what public policy can do to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. The executive summary suggests five recommendations.

  • Entrepreneur: The Individual – Innovation starts with a “random walk” in “design space,” where ideas can be incubated and challenged. Investing in education is crucial, as is softening the consequences of failure.
  • Social Networks: The Group – The relationships among people, firms and nations help determine the degree of diversity they are exposed to, which influences inventiveness. Supporting the interactions across groups is essential.
  • Organizing R&D: Universities and Firms – A networked-model based on connections, collaboration, flat hierarchies, modularity and constant “re-writing” is required. This enables groups to respond successfully to discontinuities.
  • Creating Clusters: Geographic Areas – Places where finance, technical talent, legal, accounting and marketing support intermingle aids the innovation process. Yet it should ideally be technology-neutral, and not reliant on one technical domain.
  • Public Policy: The Role of Government (Municipal, Regional, National) – Reengineering society for a networked economy requires resources, patience and ceding control International cooperation with new stakeholders is imperative.

The full report with the title Hero with a Thousand Faces is available online.

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