Monday, November 7, 2016

Partnerships and resilient regional economies

For some time I've maintained that partnerships are a key unit of analysis for the development of a robust innovation economy. More to the point, we need to foster and encourage public+private partnerships for research and development - or P3RD. The P3RD Participatory Innovation model provides a mechanism to understand and support the innovation carrying capacity of national economies: the ability to proactively create value from public investments in basic research by fostering private sector receptivity and engagement to the public science and technology (S&T) and private research and development (R&D) systems.

The function of innovation intermediaries are core to Public+Private Partnerships for Research and Development (P3RD). We can best understand this function by looking at how national governments measure R&D and innovation activities. For this we can turn to the OECD Frascati Manual, which outlines Basic research, Applied research, and Experimental development as the continuum of R&D – from idea to invoice.
Basic research
“…is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.”
Applied research
“…is original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge . . . directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective.”
Experimental development
“… is systematic work, drawing on existing knowledge gained from research and/or practical experience, which is directed to producing new materials, products or devices, to installing new processes, systems and services, or to improving substantially those already produced or installed.”
(OECD Frascati Manual 2.1.64)
This continuum matters, and the goal in standing up P3RD is to locate the activities undertaken within this context. The continuum from basic and applied research through to experimental development constitutes the types of activities that make up the innovation carrying capacity of national economies: the ability to proactively create value from public investments in basic research by fostering private sector receptivity and engagement to the public S&T systems. 

Here is a useful article on the value of partnerships, and the author's perspective on this uniquely Canadian approach. I've called this barn raising the innovation economy. P3RD enacts a participatory innovation and creates resilient regional economies and clusters. More on this in the months to come.

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