About the lecture: Increasingly urgent societal challenges are changing the demands on innovation policy. At the same time, and partially as a result, the theoretical approach to innovation policy is shifting from a predominantly market or system failure rationale to a system or transformative change approach. Consequently, government efforts to promote innovation are moving from a more generic, reactive character – in which implicitly all innovation was seen as potentially contributing to economic growth and competitiveness and therefore 'good' – towards a more directional nature, with policymakers seeking to channel innovation efforts and support towards addressing challenges or issues such as climate change, ageing populations, urban development etc. In parallel with these ongoing changes in innovation policy, the recent adoption of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has put forward a global holistic and integrated agenda for socially, economically and environmentally sustainable development challenging national governments to revisit and reframe their policy orientations, frameworks and processes. In this paper, we establish an important conceptual link between innovation policy and Agenda 2030. Using the example of Sweden, we show how innovation policy and the implementation of the SDGs both depend on and shape each other. Thus, innovation – in a broad sense and on many levels (policy innovation, business innovation, market innovation, organizational and governance innovation as well as technological innovation, and innovation at local, national and global levels of administration) – will be an essential requirement for implementing the SDGs at the same time as Agenda 2030 will require a fundamental rethinking of innovation policy, interms of its goals, instruments and processes. About the speaker: Sylvia Schwaag Serger has been working with innovation policy at the national and international level for the past twenty years. She has worked with strategic issues at the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise and the Prime Minister's Office, she has run an independent think tank and since 2008 she is Executive Director for International Strategy at the Swedish Government Agency for Innovation (Vinnova). She has been commissioned by the European Commission, the World Bank and the OECD as China and/or innovation policy expert. Her research focuses on innovation policy and governance and on China's economic and scientific development. She has an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a PhD in economic history from the London School of Economics and Political Science and is Adjunct Professor of research policy at the University of Lund. The lecture will be given in English.
Sylvia Schwaag Serger