This abstract describes an integrated theoretical innovation policy framework to support technological change and industrial transformation through the entrepreneurial process. It describes part of “Technology Innovation Challenges for 2030 Strategy” (TIC 2030 Strategy), a cross-cutting institutional project started at the beginning of 2019 and aimed at providing support to policies to tackle the technological and innovation challenges and risks until 2030 in addressing the strengths and the weaknesses of the European industry.
We aim at providing a new conceptual perspective on technology policy and entrepreneurship that incorporate technology and industrial specificities to maximize the opportunities deriving from them. We are experiencing a new industrial revolution – the so called fourth industrial revolution – that could completely shape the economy and the societies, which brings the need for developing a framework to guide the upcoming policy challenges and rip the benefits from the new technological opportunities.
From the one hand, new firms and industries linked to the new wave of innovation emerge; from the other, existing industries get transformed by the diffusion of these innovations (e.g. electrical or, more recently, digital and bio technologies). The entrepreneur, an innovator who implements change in an economy, is a key player and both a creative and disruptive force in the economy. Actually, there is a coexistence of firms with different innovation and business strategies and sources of profitability.
Also, there is a ‘new type entrepreneurship’ whose activities are necessary to create or carry on an enterprise where not all the markets are well established or clearly defined and/or in which the relevant parts of the production function are not completely known. We call such figures the technology-based entrepreneur(ship) and focus on its link and place within technology policies.
An appropriate growth policy depends on the distance to the technological frontier and some policies work better for some sectors favouring specific patterns of structural change, and countries may benefit from them according to their relative industrial mix.
In the proposed approach, we sort four patterns of structural change considering their intrinsic radicalness and associated uncertainty, considering that different patterns of structural change can be associated to specific technological dimensions. This allows us defining the associated threats and opportunities and the entrepreneurial profiles better suited to deal with it. In doing so, we define specific characteristics of start-up and entrepreneurship which could be conducive to success along specific science and technology phases. Moreover, we will also contribute in better understanding and profiling the role of government as entrepreneur, promoter of the co-creation and in shaping the direction of innovation-lead industrial change. Technological, sectoral and socio-economic specificities can produce a tension among different objectives. The choice of policy instruments may lead to differentiated impacts across economies, depending on their sector mix, because of dissimilar territorial needs and capacities.
We plan to complement the work with case studies and quantitative analyses based on firms’ data to empirically validate the proposed theoretical framework.
Below we indicate the themes of the transformative innovation global research that, in our opinion, most apply to our project.
- New ways of defining and conceptualising transformative change and its relationship with policy
- New approaches of framing science, technology and innovation (STI) policies for transformative change
- The role of experimentation with policies and niche innovations for transformative change
- Governance and politics of transformative innovation policy in connection with SDGs
- The role of specific actors in transformative change: Governments, businesses, scholars, civil society organisation