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: