National innovation system

The National Innovation System (A.k.a. NIS, National System of Innovation) is the flow of technology and information among people, enterprises and institutions which is key to the innovative process on the national level. According to innovation system theory, innovation and technology development are results of a complex set of relationships among actors in the system, which includes enterprises, universities and government research institutes.


Origins of term

The term National System of Innovation originated at the same time in the work of Christopher Freeman and Bengt-Åke Lundval in the late 1980s. Freeman's research drew heavily on political economy of Friedrich List and was historical account of the rise of Japan as an economic superpower. Lundval's work explored the important social interactions between suppliers and customers and their role in encouraging innovation in Denmark. Apart from a general definition, as above, there is no canonical definition of national innovation systems. A few dominant definitions are listed below (quoted by the OECD publication National Innovation Systems, 1997) which overlap quite a bit:

A national system of innovation has been defined as follows:

  • .. the network of institutions in the public and private sectors whose activities and interactions initiate, import, modify and diffuse new technologies.[1]
  • .. the elements and relationships which interact in the production, diffusion and use of new, and economically useful, knowledge ... and are either located within or rooted inside the borders of a nation state.[2]
  • ... a set of institutions whose interactions determine the innovative performance ... of national firms.[3]
  • .. the national institutions, their incentive structures and their competencies, that determine the rate and direction of technological learning (or the volume and composition of change generating activities) in a country.[4]
  • .. that set of distinct institutions which jointly and individually contribute to the development and diffusion of new technologies and which provides the framework within which governments form and implement policies to influence the innovation process. As such it is a system of interconnected institutions to create, store and transfer the knowledge, skills and artefacts which define new technologies.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Freeman, C. (1995), “The National System of Innovation in Historical Perspective”, Cambridge Journal of Economics, No. 19, pp. 5–24
  2. ^ Lundvall, B-Å. (ed.) (1992). National Innovation Systems: Towards a Theory of Innovation and Interactive Learning, Pinter, London.
  3. ^ Nelson, R. (ed.) (1993), National Innovation Systems. A Comparative Analysis, Oxford University Press, New York/Oxford.
  4. ^ Patel, P. and K. Pavitt (1994), “The Nature and Economic Importance of National Innovation Systems”, STI Review, No. 14, OECD, Paris.
  5. ^ Metcalfe, S. (1995), “The Economic Foundations of Technology Policy: Equilibrium and Evolutionary Perspectives”, in P. Stoneman (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Innovation and Technological Change, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford (UK)/Cambridge (US).

Further reading

  • EDQUIST, C. (1997), Systems of Innovation: Technologies, Institutions, and Organizations, Pinter, London.
  • FREEMAN, C. (1987), Technology and Economic Performance: Lessons from Japan, Pinter, London.
  • MIETTINEN, R. (2002), National Innovation System: Scientific Concept or Political Rhetoric, Edita, Helsinki.
  • NAWAR, ABDEL-HAMEED (2005), NIS in Egypt: The Need for A Strategic Shift, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, manuscript
  • OECD, (1997), National Innovation Systems, OECD Publications, Paris.

See also

External links

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