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Policies for Innovation in Times of Digitalization (Andersson et al.)

Policies for Innovation in Times of Digitalization: A comparative report on innovation policies in Finland, Sweden and Germany by Lars Fredrik Andersson, Antti Alaja, Daniel Buhr, Philipp Fink, Niels Stöber published by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (2017)

“Digitalization is one of these terms that everybody knows and connects with while it is, at the same time, hard to pin down what it actually means. According to current research on digitalization, one thing is certain: it has changed work places, work-life balances and worker’s position in the labour market and will do so in future while simultaneously creating booming markets in a more and more globally networked society. Much has been written about the need for economic policy to foster and develop innovations in this new digital framework as a means for growth and employment. At the same time concerns over possible detrimental impacts on employment and income have been voiced. A more socially inclusive innovation path calls for innovation policy to focus not only on the technological dimensions of digitalization. Instead, digitalization should be seen as a social innovation, enhancing social progress. Hence, this study analyses three national innovation systems in their quest to harness the digital age. By doing so, it envisions a progressive and cross-national innovation policy framework that takes the idea and need for innovations beyond growth-parameters and singular competitiveness issues towards a socially inclusive, sustainable and just understanding of state-driven innovation policy. This study has been realized by a broad cooperation of progressive think tanks, including the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Stockholm and Berlin, Sorsa Foundation in Finland and ArenaIdé in Sweden. In several workshops the core group of authors discussed their angles and ideas with national experts from Germany, Sweden and Finland which resulted in this study – many thanks to all participants in these workshops and especially to the authors Antti Alaja, Lars Fredrik Andersson and Daniel Buhr. We hope to give an insight into the central questions concerning the social and technological aspect of innovation policies in an increasingly digitalized society. We need an open discussion among progressive political actors and across national borders, especially within the EU. A broad policy framework is required that focuses not only on growth statistics and competitiveness, but on society and the workers most affected by digitization.”

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