6. Value Creation and upscaling
KEMs mediate between technology and its use and application, including in (design for) services of goods or in broad social applications at the level of cities, regions and societies or even internationally. All this mainly to stimulate transitions that are of value to society as a whole or a significant part of it. This includes new forms of value creation that are not only effective in an economic sense, but have just as much influence in a cultural sense, or are at the service of ecological information (cf. Rutten et al., 2019, 100-117). Its nature is reflected in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but also in its mission-driven innovation policy. Current societal challenges require effective interventions in the short term. The urgency of the present tasks is great and makes rapid upscaling of innovations necessary.
In the value creation and upscaling category KEMs help to structure this process, and to validate and test it at an early stage. They answer questions such as: how can economic, cultural, societal (such as sustainability) and social values be combined and integrated? How can thinking shift from transaction and product thinking to thinking in terms of sharing, services and access? How can value be protected and cashed in? How do you ensure upscaling and acceleration of value creation and how is new knowledge optimally converted and used?
Value and policy frameworks The way in which the concept of value functions in the context of the mission-driven innovation policy shows a shift compared to previous policy frameworks. According to Schot and Steinmueller (2018), there have been three framings since WWII from which science, technology and innovation policy has been shaped. Specific and time-bound innovation systems have been cultivated and set up from each of these policy frameworks.
The initial starting point, in the first distinct policy framework, was that new knowledge development, in particular in the field of technology, should serve the development and growth of the (competitive) strength of companies that thereby create economic value and bring about social prosperity. In the second framework, which developed from the era of the oil crisis, the emphasis was on the promotion of national innovation systems. The aim was to promote (national) competitive clusters of activity, based in part on an excellent knowledge infrastructure, which generates economic value and ensures prosperity for citizens within countries and regions. In this context, the main focus was on competition between countries. The primary focus in these two first frames is economic, whereby certain negative externalities, for example in the social field or environment, are mitigated or perhaps even removed with the help of ex post interventions. The problem here is that the returns resulting from the upscaling of innovations are collected long before possible ecological effects manifest themselves. In that case, the proceeds of innovations are privatised, while the costs that fall later have to be borne by the community. Schot and Steinmueller (2018) argue that this is no longer tenable today. Economic value is no longer central in the new framing of science, technology and innovation policy. It is mainly about bringing about social transitions that encompass the economy, but also focus on other forms of value. In particular social and cultural, but also and especially ecological (Schot & Steinmueller, 2018). The mentioned authors therefore state:
‘Our core proposition is that the existing R&D and national systems of innovation frames for science, technology, and innovation policy, are unfit for addressing the environmental and social challenges’. (Schot & Steinmueller, 2018, 1561-1562).
They argue in favor of an innovation policy aimed at transitions (transformative innovation policy), but note that the policy frameworks that were dominant before, are still present in the current policy field and are of value in certain cases.
In the Netherlands too, the mission-driven innovation policy shows the development of a policy aimed mainly at strengthening primary economic value creation. Although the objective to strengthen the competitiveness of our country is still high on the cabinet agenda. In the context of the mission-driven innovation policy, companies and sectors, just like citizens and civil society organisations, are held accountable for their ability to contribute, in a broader sense than just economically, to innovations that are necessary to tackle urgent social themes and challenges. The knowledge development required for this requires a multidisciplinary approach, investments that go beyond technology development and are aimed at, among other things, social and cultural aspects that enable the broad application of that technology in socially supported solutions. The focus on innovation processes (agency) of (networks of) companies broadens to a broad social system of sometimes changing actors, depending on the mission and the domain that is central. Value creation is broader than the realisation of economic returns of (networks of) companies or an increased gross national product, while upscaling takes the form of realising transitions at the level of society or important parts of it and is seen much less in terms of for example economies of scale. This means that upscaling approaches the nearby concept of diffusion, which can take all kinds of forms and has been developed in line with the work of Everett Rogers (1962). The role of the government is also changing. It will play an important coordinating and guiding role in determining and defining missions and the targeted investment of resources in knowledge development to enable social transitions. Citizen engagement plays an important role in the definition of missions in this process (cf. Mazzucato, 2014; Mazzucato, 2019).
Missions have been formulated that relate to energy transition and sustainability, agriculture, water and food, health and healthcare and security.