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Eight European Urban / Regional Studies Conference Repositioning Europe in an era of global transformation 15-17 September 2010 Vienna,


Foresight as an instrument to create regional advantage. The case of Polish regions

Anna Rogut, Bogdan Piasecki
Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Research Institute (EEDRI) Spoeczna Wysza Szko Przedsibiorczoci i Zarzdzania w odzi, 121 Gdaska St. 90-519 d, Poland tel: 0048 42-66 42 243 fax 0048 42-66 42 246

According to the report of the European High Level Group on Key Technologies, Europe faces the need for a revision and restructuring of its socio-economic model. The European economy is based on old paradigms and its research and development activity is insufficiently commercialized. To move forward, it is necessary to implement creative disorganisation of the system based on long-term, coherent investments in key technologies, which involves a more pro-active, intelligent approach to accomplishing long-term objectives. This goal may be furthered by making use of those assets where Europe has already established its position and is able to maintain and consolidate it to pursue leadership. The same may be said about Polish regions, which, despite the lack of unique assets, represent enormous potential accumulated in their intellectual, scientific, research and material resources, tradition and industrial culture. The adequate exploitation of this potential may lead to developing an exceptional new quality and thus may provide foundations for a boosted international position of the regions. This new quality should draw on traditional and emerging areas of regional competence, which are continuing to expand and encompass new, related fields of activity. To implement this vision, it is necessary to take bold decisions with respect to transformation directions for the regional socio-economic base. The debate on the future taking place in the context of a number of recently launched foresights may be a point of departure for such decisions. The objective of the paper is to present the results of this debate in the context of seeking new regional development paths (revolutionary vs evolutionary), supporting the regional authorities in shaping economic structures effectively (managing the transformation of resources to take advantage of tradition, industrial culture, and the intellectual, scientific, research and material potential, and to prevent the lock-in effect), and fostering the development of mechanisms enhancing resilience to regional socio-economic shocks.

Diagnosis of innovativeness in Poland has led to a series of statistical analyses, reports and programme documents1 which revealed a considerable technological gap in Polands economy. This is in particular reflected by the low ranking of Poland and its regions (Figure 1) in the European Innovation Scoreboard (Hollanders, Tarantola and Loschky 2009, PRO INNO Europe 2010). Admittedly, Poland has moved in recent years from catching-up countries to moderate innovators but it still has a low synthetic innovation indicator and ranks only 27th out of the total 33 states2. Poland comes ahead of only Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, and Latvia among the EU countries and Croatia, Serbia, and Turkey among the non-EU countries. The low level of innovation has been also confirmed by the latest Global Competitiveness Report ranking Poland 21st among European Union members3 and 24th in the technological readiness pillar (Schwab 2009).
Figure 1: Innovation position of Polish provinces against EU27

Source: Hollanders, Tarantola and Loschky (2009), p. 6

1 The latest documents include: Kierunki zwikszania innowacyjnoci gospodarki na lata 2007-2013 (MG 2006), Narodowa Strategia Spjnoci (MRR 2007a), Strategia rozwoju nauki w Polsce do 2015 roku (MNiSW 2007), Strategia rozwoju spoeczestwa informacyjnego w Polsce do roku 2013 (MSWiA 2008), Krajowa Strategia Rozwoju Regionalnego (MRR 2010), Nauka i technika w Polsce w 2008 (GUS 2010) and the report Polska 2030. Wyzwania rozwojowe (Boni 2009).

The survey involved 27 members of the European Union as well as Croatia, Serbia, Turkey, Island, Norway, and Switzerland. Out of the total 133 countries, Poland ranked 52nd in terms of the innovation indicator and 48th in terms of the technological readiness indicator.

It is true that over the last two decades Poland has achieved considerable progress; however, this has taken place mainly in "traditional" sectors and for the most part thanks to increased employee expertise and technical competence, and not because of intensified research or faster commercialization of research results (MG 2006, MRR 2007b, Weber, Meske and Ducatel 1999). The key technology sectors of Polands economy remain poorly developed (Wojnicka et al. 2006, GUS 2010). This places the country closer to the so-called low road to industrial restructuring, which takes advantage of production costs differences rather than technological development and innovation as a source of international competitive advantage (Pyke and Sengenberger 1992, Davis 1995, Rogut 2008). A simple extrapolation of the current trends seems to offer a pessimistic scenario in the medium term (to 2020) and in the long term (to 2030) for the structure of the economy, which is going to remain dominated by sectors of medium-low and low technologies and less knowledge-intensive services. Such a scenario would confirm recent concerns of the European Commission that the technological process of catching-up with the old members (EU15) by the new members (EU10) would be a two-speed process, setting the Baltic countries, which are quickly approaching the EU average, apart from the other new members, including Poland (Bureau of European Policy Advisers 2006, see also: Armbruster et al. 2005). Moreover, according to this scenario it might take decades to close the innovation gap completely in relation to the EU27 average (PRO INNO Europe 2008). Hence, the Polish regions should very seriously consider the warning formulated by the European High Level Group on Key Technologies about the need to revise and restructure social and economic models and about transferring from old to new paradigms to dramatically intensify R&D commercialization. 'The way forward () depends on a creative system disruption based on long-term coherent investments in Key Technologies' (European Commission 2006a, p. 5), which involves a more pro-active, intelligent approach to accomplishing long-term objectives (Carlsson 1997). For Polish regions this may be all the easier since the enormous potential accumulated in their intellectual, scientific, research and material resources, tradition and industrial culture is already available. The adequate exploitation of this potential may lead to developing an exceptional new quality and thus may provide foundations for a boosted international position of the regions. This new quality should draw on traditional and emerging areas of regional competences, which are continuing to expand and encompass new, related fields of activity (Rogut and Piasecki 2008). This might prove extremely difficult, taking into account the evolutionary nature of local development, characterized by strong path dependency and possible lock-in effects (Balmann et al. 1996, Capello and Nijkamp 2009, Frenken and Boschma 2007, Hudson 2007, Lee and Mason 2008, Mathews 2002, Puffert 2004, Rafiqui 2009, Reimer 2007, Thomas 2005). However, it is possible, especially if path dependence and lock-in are phenomena that obtain under particular conditions, and are themselves the result of more fundamental evolutionary mechanisms, such as selection and adaptive learning (Martin and Sunley 2006, p. 11) and the development of the region is an ongoing, never-ending interplay of path dependence, path creation and path destruction that occurs as actors in different arenas reproduce, mindfully deviate from, and transform existing socio-economic-technological structures, practices and development paths (ibid., p. 11, see also: David 2002, Garud and Karne 2001, Maskell and Malmberg 2007, Martin 2009, Martin and Sunley 2007). Thus, it is realistic to assume that revising the regional socio-economic-technological structure is to a large extent a matter of strategy rather than path dependence (Lipsey and Carlow 2002, Manic 2008). The condition for this is to develop dynamic capability defined (in the case of regions) as the ability to identify and shape opportunities using organizational search and exploration processes (Malik 2008, p. 221, see also: Eisenhardt and Martin 2000, Teece 2009, Zhou and Li 2010), as well as the critically important capacity to purposefully create, extend, or modify regional resource base (Helfat et al. 2007) or the capacity to construct regional ad-

vantage (Asheim, Boschma and Cooke 2007, Cooke and Leydesdorff 2006, European Commission 2006). The development of dynamic capability in the region is fostered by what some call the regional development platform or strategic policy intelligence. In the first case, this means regional resource configurations based on the past development trajectories, but presenting the future potential to produce competitive advantage existing in the defined resource configurations (Harmaakorpi and Uotila 2006, p. 779) whereas in the second case the set of actions to search, process, diffuse and protect information in order to make it available to the right person at the right time in order to make the right decision (Clar et al. 2008, p. 2). In both instances, the purpose is to provide political decision makers with comprehensive, objective, politically unbiased and forward-looking information and knowledges. And in both cases foresight is a central activity. It is difficult to pinpoint the region which was first to initiate such measures, with the pioneers including Andalusia, Catalonia and Valencia in Spain, Uusimaa in Finland, Stuttgart in Germany, West Hungary, Lombardy in Italy, Flevoland in Holland, Yorkshire, Humberside, North East England, West Midlands and Wales in Great Britain and Grand Lyon in France (FOREN 2001, STRATA-ETAN Expert Group 2002, UNIDO 2005). In the recent years, a number Polish regions have joined in. While some of them have already initiated the foresight debate, some are in the process of acquiring their first experiences. The remaining part of the paper presents the results of this debate in the context of seeking new regional development paths, supporting the regional authorities in shaping economic structures effectively, and fostering the development of mechanisms enhancing resilience to regional socio-economic shocks. The empirical part of the paper discusses achievements of these foresight projects, paying particular attention to foresight of advanced industrial and ecological technologies for the sustainable development of the country4.

Path dependence, path creation and path destruction. Foresight results

First endeavours to launch foresight activities in Poland were undertaken simultaneously with the development of Regional Innovation Systems (RIS). Though assessment of the future was not the main goal of RIS projects, they paved way for methods (and in particular scenarios) characteristic of foresight (EEDRI 2004), promoting a new style of debate concerning the paradigms of future development. The debate is focused on two axes: aspiration/motivation and targeted output, the former involving the area between mapping out diversity and reaching consensus, and the latter concerned with the area between democratisation and advising (Figure 2). The Sectoral Operational Programme Improvement of the Competitiveness of Enterprises (Journal of Laws Dz.U. 2004.166 1744) provided an opportunity to use foresight more extensively as ten regional technological foresights were undertaken. They have proved that Polish regions have a significant potential, which is, however, focused on already existing assets with a long tradition and an established position. This position can and should be further enhanced so as to gain technological leadership in certain areas. These areas include: IT, mechatronics, eco-business, environmental technology, the construction and building materials industries, food-processing, the aviation industry, the chemical industry, the pharmaceutical industry,
Project financed under the Innovative Economy Operational Programme, contract no. UDA-POIG.01.01.0100-012/08-00.

Figure 2: Directions of the debate over the future of regions

Democratisation: fostering conditions under which participants might use their own knowledge to formulate and express their judgements, opinions and views on matters which concern them directly and which require undertaking public measures, with the results being of considerable importance and possibly binding. Advising: soliciting the participants opinions and ideas, which may be vital in decision-making. The results achieved through particular methods may be used further on in the decision-making process. Mapping out diversity: generating an option/information package or testing alternative strategies in a neutral environment. Consensus reaching: making a decision on a particular issue by mutual consent.

Source: Steyaert and Lisoir (2005), p. 13

biotechnology, the power industry, the creative industries, broadly defined health care services, educational services sand business and knowledge process outsourcing. So far, considerable progress has been observed in these areas, but still insufficient for them to become competitive on the European scale (Grysa and Ponecki 2007, Hausner 2008, Malik and Dymek 2008, Mieczkowski et al. 2007, Rogut and Piasecki 2008, Woniak 2008). The obstacles include insufficient absorptive and development capacity (Mahroum et al. 2008), which means that the dissemination of technologies with the greatest developmental potential is too slow, and it is unclear around which technological niche a significant competitive position and technological leadership may be built. The latter was confirmed by the recently completed sectoral foresights (Czaplicka-Kolarz 2007, Gambin, Wojkowski and widerska-roda 2010, Rogut and Piasecki 2010) and the national foresight (NPF Polska 2009, Kowalewska and Guszyski 2009). They drew attention to the fact that in Poland a lot of interesting scientific research projects are being conducted in such fields as nanotechnology, spintronics, surface physical chemistry, aviation technologies, robotics, etc. Unfortunately, the majority of these projects lack adequate intensity and continuity to move from the laboratory scale, through semi-technical stage to full commercialisation. Furthermore, Poland does not have an industrial base that would be ready to invest in the commercialisation of these technologies (Bendyk 2009). The aforementioned conclusions are borne out by the first results of the ongoing foresight of advanced industrial and ecological technologies for the sustainable development of the country aimed at identifying the directions of research/technologies, out of those proposed by the national foresight, in which Poland may gain a significant competitive position or technological leadership by 2030. The study is based on expert methods focused on the assessment of technology readiness level and the competitive position of Poland in five fields covering altogether twenty one integrated (Table 1) and seventy six specific directions of research.

Table 1: Fields of research/technology assessed as to their technology readiness level Field Specialised research and testing apparatus Integrated research directions Apparatus for non-destructive testing Apparatus for testing the wear characteristics of materials and machines Specialised systems and devices for testing and certification Information technologies for designing, testing and calibrating of measurement apparatus and specialised research devices Optomechatronic technologies and systems Specialised mechatronic technologies and devices Information and communication technologies, diagnostic and control systems Coatings and layers for particularly demanding applications manufactured with the help of surface engineering methods, including solgel methods Hybrid layer manufacturing processes Devices and systems for advanced plasma surface engineering technologies Materials for advanced surface engineering technologies Advanced computer methods for the design and technology of surface processing and for the optimisation of layer/coating properties Technologies for manufacturing more environmentally friendly supplies for machines Technologies for achieving more efficient consumption of resources and materials Recycling and waste management technologies Low-waste technologies for the manufacturing, maintenance and repairs of machines and devices Environmentally friendly technologies for manufacturing energy Logistic systems in waste and energy management Technical systems improving the safety of facilities and technical processes Monitoring and diagnosis of technical processes and facilities Systems increasing environmental safety

Mechatronic technologies and control systems supporting manufacturing and maintenance processes

Advanced material technologies and nanotechnologies and technical systems supporting their design and application

Environmentally friendly technologies, more efficient utilisation of raw materials and resources; renewable energy sources

Technologies for technical and environmental safety

Source: Rogut and Piasecki (2010)

To assess the technological readiness level (TRL), the project uses a modified TRL index consisting of 10 levels (Table 2) that indicates the advancement of particular research directions and commercial applications (the lower the number, the lower the technological readiness level is). The TRL index serves as a proxy measure to assess the criticality of certain research directions/technologies, that is, the degree to which they correspond to the criteria of generic and precompetitve technologies5. The former denote technologies with great potential for versatile applications in a wide range of products and processes used in various industries, which result in external effects not restricted to individual applications. The actual utilisation (commercialisation) of generic technologies requires further research and development works (Keenan 2003, Kuusi 1999). The term precompetitive defines a certain stage in the innovation process rather than technology as such, and is applied to actions undertaken before the actual commercialisation of a particular technology (market research, prototypes).
Table 2: Technological readiness level Technology cycle Basic/applied research Early commertialisation (modeling/testing) Full commertialisation (prototyping/testing/demonstration) Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 TRL (description) Basic principles observed and reported Technology concept and/or application formulated Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof-of concept Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment (ground or space) System prototype demonstration in a space environment Actual system completed and flight qualified through test and demonstration (ground or space) Actual system flight proven through successful mission operations Market success


Source: On the basis of: Armbruster et al. (2005), Homeland Security Institute (2009), Mankins (2009), Wonglimpiyart i Yuberk (2005)

The results show that all integrated research directions/technologies are relatively advanced, positioned between the stage of early commercialisation (modelling/testing) and full com-

5 A popular definition of critical technologies describes them as technologies crucial to the future of a certain area, sector, region, country, etc. (Mogee 1991). In practice, this term may denote any of four different approaches: critical technology as the state of the art, critical technology as a component of national selfsufficiency, critical technology as a pace-setting factor for specific applications or critical technology as generic and precompetitive. If one examines these approaches with respect to policy relevance, clear differentiation between critical and non-critical technologies, and the reproducibility of results, then the interpretation of critical technologies becomes narrowed down to a pace-setting factor for specific applications and generic and precompetitive technologies (Popper, Wagner, Larson 1998). However, as the former interpretation (technologies as a pace-setting factor for specific applications) is limited to the results of technology implementation, so under the Advanced Technologies Project critical technologies are understood as generic and precompetitive technologies.

mercialisation (prototyping/testing/demonstration). In the case of specific research directions/technologies, some of them have even reached the diffusion stage. In assessing the competitive position, the co-evolutional model of technological and institutional change was used (Fatas-Villafranca, Jarne and Sanchez-Choliz 2009), which interprets competitiveness and technological leadership as arising from the relationship between the scientific and research base and technological, institutional and market factors. Hence, attention was drawn to the assessment of the competitiveness of Polish research and development potential, the production potential of Polish companies and the quality of business support organisations (Table 3).
Table 3: Competitive position The most important factors for the competitive position Scientific and research potential Personnel Quantity and quality of qualified and highly qualified science and research personnel and technical staff allowing for advanced interdisciplinary research and development works International recognition and reputation, active international cooperation and international staff exchange Science and research infrastructure Funding Openness to the needs of the economy and cooperation with industry Production potential of Polish companies Institutional potential/ environmental quality The level of basic and specialist research infrastructure and equipment and the degree of its consolidation allowing for the completion of substantial scientific and research programmes Availability, diversity, and funding level necessary to run R&D and technological activity Cooperation with domestic R&D units and industry, the focus is on problem solving in the national, regional and sectoral context Production and financial resources; technological, organisational and market competence, business and R&D networks Science, technology and innovation policies, infrastructure for the commercialisation of research results, fiscal policy for commercialisation, education for commercialisation, the development of technologically advanced products and services Description

The assessment was made with the use of a nine-point scale where 5 denoted the position of the leader/main competitor, 1 to 4 an inferior position in respect of the leader/main competitor whereas 6 to 10 a superior position in respect of the leader/main competitor. The results show that in all categories, except for personnel, our position was evaluated as worse or much worse than that of the leader (Table 4).

Table 4: Polish competitive position Integrated direction of research/technologies Human capital Apparatus for non-destructive testing Apparatus for testing the wear characteristics of materials and machines Specialised systems and devices for testing and certification Information technologies for designing, testing and calibrating of measurement apparatus and specialised research devices Optomechatronic technologies and systems Specialised mechatronic technologies and devices Information and communication technologies, diagnostic and control systems Coatings and layers for particularly demanding applications manufactured with the help of surface engineering methods, including sol-gel methods Hybrid layer manufacturing processes Devices and systems for advanced plasma surface engineering technologies Materials for advanced surface engineering technologies Advanced computer methods for the design and technology of surface proc5,0 5,1 4,9 4,6 Assessment of competitive position Scientific and research potential Infrastructure Financing Needs of B&R poteneconomy tial (average) 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,0 1,6 1,4 1,2 1,1 2,1 2,1 2,0 1,9

Potencja produkcyjny firm 3,2 2,4 2,8 3,7

Potencja instytucjonalny/jako otoczenia 1,7 1,5 1,4 1,6

3,38 4,00 4,25

2,81 3,00 3,94

1,90 2,08 2,00

1,81 2,50 2,56

2,47 2,90 3,19

1,94 2,67 2,13

1,75 2,25 2,38

3,00 4,33 5,92 4,75 6,80

4,90 6,00 5,00 3,25 5,00

3,50 4,33 3,25 2,13 5,00

3,80 4,08 2,75 1,75 4,30

3,80 4,69 4,23 2,97 5,30

2,50 2,83 2,42 1,38 3,63

2,20 2,00 2,00 2,00 1,00

essing and for the optimisation of layer/coating properties Technologies for manufacturing more environmentally friendly supplies for machines Technologies for achieving more efficient consumption of resources and materials Recycling and waste management technologies Low-waste technologies for the manufacturing, maintenance and repairs of machines and devices Environmentally friendly technologies for manufacturing energy Logistic systems in waste and energy management Technical systems improving the safety of facilities and technical processes Monitoring and diagnosis of technical processes and facilities Systems increasing environmental safety

2,67 3,32 4,12 4,20 4,65 2,10 4,6 4,7 3,9

4,60 5,40 4,04 4,47 4,77 3,40 2,6 2,4 2,1

3,33 3,00 2,96 3,67 3,73 1,50 1,8 1,9 1,8

2,07 2,56 2,60 3,93 3,05 1,50 5,5 5,4 3,2

3,17 3,57 3,43 4,07 4,05 2,13 3,6 3,6 2,7

3,20 3,60 2,08 3,00 4,00 2,10 3,1 3,6 2,0

2,33 2,72 2,60 2,20 3,60 1,00 2,7 3,5 2,6

Source: On the basis: Rogut and Piasecki (2010)


In summary, the studies and analyses which have been conducted so far do not afford clear recommendations as to paths of innovation development or, in a broader sense, of technological development in Polish regions (lock-in vs. path creation). In this context, some fundamental issues crucial to constructing regional advantages need to be resolved. They include: (i) readiness to change the strategy for technological development; (ii) appropriate model of technological learning; (iii) need to redefine clusters in the innovation policy and (iv) the scope of utilizastion of market mechanism in the innovation policy. These issues are discussed at length in the subsequent section.

How to construct national advantage? Radical or incremental innovation, or, are we ready to change the strategy for technological development?
Technology can be defined as the knowledge necessary to produce particular goods or services and/or attain some target results (products or process technologies) and all the organisational patterns under which these processes are conducted (organisational technologies). The framework for the discussion on changing the technological development strategy6 consists of: the thesis on backwardness rent (Gerschenkron 1962, Landesmann, 2003), the model of economic growth in an open economy (Fagerberg, Srholec i Knell 2007, see also: Aghion and Hewitt 1998, Greiner 2005, Hagemann and Seiter 2003, Salvadori 2003, Zhang 2005, and others) and the model of technological progress (The Word Bank 2008). The backwardness rent thesis states that the technological gap between technology leaders (countries at the technological frontier) and late innovators (catching-up countries) is beneficial for the latter ones, as it provides them with an opportunity to catch up with the technology leaders through the exploitation of their technologies (i.e. transfer of knowledge and technologies from technology leaders to late innovators). The rate of catching up (bridging the technological gap) is a function of the initial distance: the wider the gap, the faster the rate of catching up. However, there is a difference between the actual and the potential catching up rates, which is a derivative of meeting the conditions determined in the model of growth in an open economy. These conditions are as follows: intensity of creation of new knowledge (technology) in the country, the potential for exploiting knowledge developed elsewhere, and growth in the capacity to exploit this knowledge, change in relative prices in common currency, and growth of world demand weighted by the ratio between income elasticity for exports and that of imports. As regards each of these factors, it is not their absolute but relative values that are taken into account (compared with innovation leaders/major competitors). The first condition may be considered in the context of so-called technology competitiveness (which means the capacity to develop and commercialise more radical innovations), while the next two conditions in the context of so-called capacity competitiveness (that is, technological and organisational competence, access to financial institutions and markets and their quality, as well as the quality and efficiency of the government and administration).

6 Where technology () is the idea set specifying all things that assist in creating economic value. This includes the specifications of all outputs of goods and services (product technologies) and all the processes used to create them (process technologies) and all forms in which production processes can be organised both on the shop floor and in management (organisational technologies)" (Lipsey 2000, p. 6)

On the other hand, according to the model of technological progress, technology (technological progress) is at the same time the driving force and the result of economic growth. This means that the degree of technological competitiveness of individual countries depends on their current wealth; thus a high potential for the creation and commercialisation of new technological knowledge (radical innovations) is primarily the domain of the richest countries. This is the basis for defining two fundamental strategies for technological progress (Acemoglu, Aghion and Zilibotti 2006, Ancarani 2009, Rodrik 2003, Vandenbussche, Aghion and Menhir 2004): Investment-based strategy. This is a strategy based on the economic tradition advocating (strong) state interventionism as a fundamental development impulse for the lessdeveloped economies and as a factor correcting market inefficiency. Innovativeness means here the capacity to absorb/adapt innovations developed by the innovation leaders (competence competitiveness). The main thrust of initiatives undertaken within this strategy includes promoting capital investments in domestic companies (sectors) with a view to adapting already existing (foreign) technologies. The basic instruments of promotion include direct state intervention including grants, subsidies, low-interest loans and other forms of direct support to business, the promotion of domestic leaders and support for and protection of the domestic market against foreign competitors. Innovation-based strategy. Along with catching-up with the leader, the effectiveness of the investment strategy declines, because the increasing technological level of the domestic companies gives rise to demand for new instruments and qualifications as prerequisites for further technological progress. Under the new conditions, innovativeness begins to be understood as the capacity to develop and implement own technologies superior to the best technologies available in the market (radical innovations) rather than the capacity to absorb foreign technologies. Consequently, the innovation strategy becomes more effective (through development of technological competitiveness) with the declining role of the state, the growing position of the markets (as autonomous, efficient mechanisms of selection) and the focus on maximisation of innovation at the cost of investment. This strategy promotes so-called creative destruction, with the leading position attained by new companies (especially in the field of high technologies and knowledge-based services), which forces other companies to enhance the intensity of their innovation (lest they be eliminated from the market), with the crucial role of the education system (and in particular of high-quality university education with a view to producing engineers, researchers and scientists) and with a market-based financial system including a strong presence of venture capital. The choice between investment and innovation strategies depends on the technological gap between individual countries and technological leaders. As regards the catching-up countries, the investment strategy is the most effective. However, in the course of catching up with the leader, it should be smoothly replaced by the innovation strategy. Unfortunately, the opposite most often happens, as institutional solutions and instruments implemented under the investment strategy tend to consolidate. Consequently, market unreliability becomes replaced by system unreliability (Lipsey and Carlow 2002). The system becomes inflexible and immune to reforms, thus widening the gap rather than bridging it (non-convergence trap). History shows that the investment strategy worked well in Japan, Europe, and in particular in the case of the so-called Asian tigers. In Europe, however, it is becoming self-evident that this strategy has lost its effectiveness. Europe cannot catch up with the United States and Japan in respect of innovation and no longer maintains an innovative advantage over its new competitors the BRIC countries (Ancarani 2009, PRO INNO Europe 2010). This situation


results from a late (or failed) shift from investment strategies focused on incremental innovation to innovation strategies focused on radical innovation. A similar diagnosis is true of Poland, as proven by the lack of a fundamental change in the assessment of Polands international competitive position7 as well as by the declining efficiency of ongoing initiatives aimed to enhance innovativeness (Rogut 2008). Thus, time has come to abandon the investment strategy (at least in the sectors which have been able to narrow the technological gap) initiated in the early 1990s and shift to the innovation strategy, thus avoiding the non-convergence trap. The above conclusion is further motivated by the fact that: a high degree of innovativeness requires a balanced level of competence and technological competitiveness (PRO INNO Europe 2010), the pace of competence competitiveness convergence (the main pillar of the investment strategy) is higher than the pace of technological competitiveness convergence (Fagerberg, Srholec and Knell 2007, The World Bank 2008). This is fuelled by the nature of international technology transfer between leaders and catching-up countries (including Poland), which primarily involves obsolete technologies (Manic 2008). Thus, competence competitiveness no longer gives Poland a good competitive position (in this respect Polands position becomes similar to other catching-up countries) or a long-term growth rate. Accordingly, it is difficult to accept the opinion that Poland should abandon its dreams of groundbreaking innovations and focus on fostering incremental innovations. In short, it is better to develop the already existing technologies than invest in technological revolutions (Bendyk 2009). Quite the opposite, Poland should pursue its dreams of groundbreaking innovations. Moreover, Poland should fulfil these dreams on the understanding that this is possible only in some niches (where Polands existing potential is sufficient) and seek success in new generic technologies which, unlike mature technologies, are still open to new competitors (Prez 2001).

Which model of technological learning?

The adoption of a new strategy involves the modification of the prevalent technological learning model, i.e. the process of producing, acquiring, accumulating, implementing and diffusing the latest scientific and technological knowledge together with economic, management and institutional knowledge. The quality and pace of this process depends on the learning capacity as well as on the environment in which it is taking place (i.e. opportunities). Various combinations of these elements constitute six models on a continuum from strategies based on 'the low road' to those based on the high road to technological restructuring, including traditionalist slow learning, passive FDI-dependent, active FDI-dependent, autonomous, creativeisolated and creative-cooperative strategies (Table 5).

For example: Global competitiveness report (Schwab, Porter and Sachs 2002, Schwab et al. 2009), Global entrepreneurship monitor (Bosma and Levie 2010, Reynolds et al. 2002) or Doing business (IFC 2009, The World Bank/IFC 2006).


Table 5: Models of technological learning Models Traditionalist slow learning Characteristic relying mostly on traditional technologies low S&T learning capacity minimal S&T learning opportunities low international competitiveness high risk of further economic marginalization most urgent need of international S&T assistance passively relying on FDI to bring in new technologies low S&T learning capacity no or week government technological strategy limited opportunities for technological learning high risk of losing in economic competition with poorer, lower-wage countries

Passive FDIdependent

Active FDIdependent

relatively high S&T learning capacity active government strategy aimed at building national human capital and accelerating national technological learning from FDI active targeting of the most beneficial FDI much wider opportunities for technological learning from FDI lower risk of losing in economic competition with lower-wage but lowerskill countries high S&T learning capacity and favorable international environment active government strategy aimed at building national human capital and accelerating national technological learning via open sources, foreign consultants, contract manufacturing, licensing, copying & re-engineering, own R&D, even outward FDI minimal reliance on FDI or international S&T cooperation aspiring to compete with technological leaders high S&T learning capacity, but unfavorable international environment or isolationism limited opportunities for S&T learning from foreign sources aspiring to produce most of the needed technologies inside the country low international competitiveness of high-tech industries high risk of lagging further behind in technological and economic development capacity for both, generating and absorbing S&T knowledge among the highest in the world global technological leadership in at least some niches of the global economy active government S&T strategy directly linked to global competitiveness strategy extensive R&D and efficient NIS active participation in and control over international S&T cooperation the fastest S&T learning




Source: On tha basis: Subbotic (2006), pp.10-11


Based on the prior diagnosis, one could argue that the Polish model of technological learning has been evolving from a passive FDI-dependent model towards an active FDI-dependent model. However, this evolution is insufficient to avoid the non-convergence trap (Manic 2008, Soubbotic 2006). FDI plays a positive role but cannot ensure the growth-related benefits. The prerequisite for achieving maximum benefits from such investment includes the preservation of the local industrial base and the promotion of ties between domestic companies and foreign investors. Otherwise, a dichotomous industrial structure may develop, with an efficient fast-growing high-tech sector dominated by international companies on the one hand, and a considerably less competitive local industry on the other. This happens when the efficiency of the domestic manufacturers in the sectors where FDI is directed does not exceed the efficiency of foreign competitors sufficiently to offset the advantage which the latter ones may achieve due to the local wage rates. In such cases, domestic companies fall short of international efficiency standards and lose (Buigues, Ilzkovitz i Lebrun, 1990, Porter 2001). Thus, it is necessary to promptly develop the right conditions to foster further evolution towards the creative-cooperative model.

Clusters or (self-organising) networks which model of cooperation promotion?

Clusters are among the most popular instruments used for enhancing the innovativeness of companies, sectors, regions and economies (OECD 2001, OECD 2007). Thus, cluster promotion is a crucial element of any innovation policy, with the two prevailing approaches being the administrative-political model and the market-endogenous model. The models are defined by two criteria (Figure 3): The sources of initiatives (policymakers/public sector vs private sector) and funding (public vs private). They are of critical importance in the formation and development of clusters. In this respect, cluster promotion may take the form of either a top-down or a bottom-up approach. Top-down initiatives typically involve political initiatives and public programmes which intentionally stimulate, and at least for some time (co)finance the development of clusters. In contrast, bottom-up initiatives are undertaken by the private sector (mainly companies), which implements, co-finances and coordinates them. The relation to the cluster concept (regardless of the definition8). In this respect, cluster promotion may take the form of explicit or implicit initiatives. In their intentions, assumptions, names, objectives, etc., explicit initiatives invoke the concept of the cluster and are primarily associated with top-down initiatives. On the other hand, implicit initiatives are concentrated on accomplishing objectives typically pursued by clusters, but

8 The concept of the cluster remains unclear and leaves ample room for interpretation (Martin and Sunley 2001). Narrowly defined, a cluster denotes a geographical concentration of companies. In its advanced form, it also encompasses a wider range of external benefits resulting from mutual links of companies with their specialised suppliers and service providers, with other companies in related sectors as well as with other specialised institutions operating in different fields (Porter, 1998 and 2003). In such cases, clusters coincide with (sectoral) innovation systems (Adame-Sanchez and Escrig-Tena 2001, Asheim and Coenen 2004, Becattini et al. 2003, Breschi and Lissoni 2000, Mytelka and Farinelli 2000, Smith 2000) and encompass knowledge, skills, technologies, outlays as well as actual and potential demand. The participants include individuals and a whole array of organisations such as businesses, universities, R&D units, business support organisations, and public authorities, within which unique learning processes, competences, organisational structures, beliefs, objectives and behaviours develop (Malerba 2004). The mutual influences of the system participants take place in the course of the processes of communication, exchange, cooperation, and competition, shaped by system-specific institutions. Such a system is subject to constant transformation inspired by the co-evolution of its elements, which is conducive to enhancing innovativeness.


they focus on networking and cooperation and are associated with bottom-up initiatives.
Figure 3: Cluster promotion

Source: On the basis of: Fromhold-Eisebith and Eisebith 2005

Practice shows that both models can be used to enhance innovativeness of the economy, but the administrative-political model is more effective in the case of initiatives focused on the material base and localisation economies of a cluster, while the market-endogenous model is more suitable for developing the non-material foundations of cooperation (community of interests, objectives, problems, etc.) and produces better results as regards the development of functional links, intensification of cooperation and enhanced innovativeness of businesses (Fromhold-Eisebith and Eisebith 2005). Thus, the administrative-political model is more useful in investment strategies for technological development while the market-endogenous model is better suited to innovation strategies. Polish cluster strategies seem to come close to the administrative-political model, and clusters are usually operationally defined in a narrow sense as groups of enterprises and possibly universities or R&D units which adopt a particular organisational and legal form and officially declare the formation of a cluster. Clusters understood in this way may suffer from such negative consequences as lock-in or non-convergence trap, resulting from excessive cognitive, social, organisational and institutional proximity (Boschma 2005). Moreover, such an approach may in future turn out to be a barrier to radical technological development, especially in respect of smaller companies which, just as their larger counterparts, have a capacity for radical innovations (Lee 2003, Malerba and Montobbio 2000, Poti and Basile 2000, Symeonidis 1996) but may find it difficult to efficiently manage the entire innovation process (which is usually the case) (European Commission 2004, Lee et al. 2010). Therefore, as regards innovation strategies for technological development, what smaller companies need is not so much closed clusters as access to open innovation systems, including R&D networks formed by a limited number of participants facing the same or similar problems (Bresnahan, Gambardella and Saxenian 2001, Chesbrough 2006, Chesbrough, Vanhaverbeke and West 2006, Cooke 2005, Dahlander and Gann 2010, Lee et al. 2010, Spithoven, Clarysse and Knockaert 2010, van de Vrandea et al. 2009). The duration of such net-


works is determined by the period necessary to find and implement desired solutions. The network gives rise to a variety of interrelationships between the participants which further determine the area of mutual adjustments between them (Corrocher and Fontana 2006, DETR 2000, DTI 2001, European Commission 2003, Hadjimanolis 2006, Heikkinen and Thtinen 2006, National Commission on Entrepreneurship 2001, Sadler 2004, Slvell, Lindqvist and Ketels 2003). This is typical of every network, regardless of whether it is geographically concentrated or dispersed, homogeneous or heterogeneous in respect of business activity conducted by the participants, concentric (initiated by one of the participants) or social (created as a result of actions, reactions and interactions undertaken by many prospective network participants who are in no position to dictate to others their conditions).

How much market in the innovation policy?

As a result of the spread of endogenous and evolutionary theories of economic growth, the 1990s constitute a turning point in innovation policy making. It was then that the systemic approach to innovation was developed (Acs and Varga 2002, Edquist 2005, Lundvall 1992, OECD 1997 and 2002a, Rotwell 1994). Furthermore, it was accompanied by policy reorientation from the science policy (rooted in classical linear innovation models) to the technological policy to the current innovation policy, defined as a set of measures aimed at increasing the quantity and efficiency of innovative, production and adaptation-oriented activities, and at implementing new or upgraded products, processes and services (Cowan and van de Paal 2000). It is the company and its innovative potential that constitute the foundations of this policy, which means that (i) the classical set of measures intended to support knowledge production (i.e. research and development) should be augmented with activities designed to develop the institutional environment to support companies in respect of adaptation and implementation of this knowledge (business support organizations) and (ii) a new approach should be adopted with regard to the objective of the innovation policy and the role of the public authorities, which ought to provide and develop a friendly institutional environment rather than engage in direct intervention (as it happened before) (Kuusi 1996, Navarro 2003, Qur 2004). The above is concurrent with the consolidation of a new consensus, which is also observed in the innovation policy9, focused on the market mechanism as a primary stimulator of technological progress. Under the consensus, the government should first and foremost ensure systemic conditions necessary for the efficient operation of the markets. However, at times markets fail10, providing a pretext for direct intervention by the government (Atkinson and Wial 2008, Dodgson et al. 2010). This, in turn, gives rise to a storm of controversy (Jaffe, Newell and Stavins 2005) over direct support for research and development activities, i.e. knowledge and technology production and related technological infrastructure (such as data collection and dissemination, training of scientists and engineers, etc.), and, in particular,

So called Washington Consensus (Kanbur 2004, Rodrik 2006, Williamson 1990 and 2000).

In the neoclassical tradition, market failure is understood as a situation where the market mechanism does not ensure efficient allocation of resources (according to the definition offered by Paret). A typical example of such failure is the lack of funding for innovative enterprises because of their indivisibilities, inappropriability and uncertainty. (Arrow 1962). In evolutionary/structuralist-evolutionary tradition, however, market failure means, first of all inefficiency of the market mechanism in accomplishing a desired and attainable state (Lipsey 2000).



over direct support for the adaptation and implementation of knowledge and technology. What is the source of controversy over these innovation policy instruments? As regards research and development activities, controversy primarily concerns rejecting the notion that new knowledge is a pure public good. According to the latest consensus, knowledge is neither just another private good nor a pure public good (Fagerberg, Srholec and Knell 2007, Lipsey 2000). Therefore, neither the free market nor government intervention can guarantee economically efficient allocation of resources for innovation. The situation is slightly different with respect to adaptation and implementation, as in this case knowledge most frequently becomes a private good. Consequently, an efficient market should ensure economically efficient allocation of resources for innovation. However, a complication arises due to external effects, characteristic of public goods, and occurring in particular at the early stages of technological development (so-called dynamic increasing returns), which justifies the need for some kind of intervention. How to accommodate market failure in the structure of the innovation policy? The above demonstrates that an effective innovation policy requires efficient market mechanisms as well as direct public interventions, but in proportions which would reflect the fact that different kinds of knowledge may be closer to a public good (and require direct intervention) or to a private good (and require efficient markets). The point of departure for the determination of these proportions may be a matrix of the sources and the nature of knowledge/innovations, where the former refers to the distinction between absorption of available knowledge/technology and production of new knowledge/technology, while the latter refers to the distinction between incremental and radical innovation (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Principles of structuring innovation policy instruments for stimulating technological progress

Source: Own work

For the operationalization of the first axis (continuum: absorption of available knowledge/technology to production of new knowledge/technology), traditional measures may be


applied11. For the purpose of operationalization of the second axis (continuum: incremental to radical innovation) the following indices may be used: the technology readiness index (see. Table 2), R&D difficulty index, which shows the degree of difficulty of the R&D activities necessary to gain maturity of research and applications, and the index of innovativeness of particular technologies, determined on the basis of analysis of the presence of the four categories of knowledge deficit: technological uncertainty, technical inexperience, business inexperience and technology costs (Table 6). It is also necessary to maintain reasonable proportions between non-market intervention (subsidies, grants, other forms of direct public assistance) addressed only to a selected number of participants in the innovation market, and systemic intervention (e.g. fiscal) affecting everybody. It is only special social interest (radical innovation presented in the upper right corner of the matrix of sources and nature of knowledge/innovations (see Figure 4) or social innovation that might justify the former. In all other cases, it is recommended that public intervention be systemic, which reduces the costs and enhances efficiency of the innovation policy. This is confirmed by the results of the last assessment of the relationship between funding for R&D and the intensity of the implementation of its results in SMEs (ECORYS 2010). Furthermore, it would be recommended to introduce regulations under which the public sector would be allowed to conduct innovative activity only on condition that it does not provide any profits whatsoever (e.g. basic research). In all other cases, such activity should be carried out by the private sector and/or in private-public partnership (which would increase the likelihood of its successful adaptation and implementation), and supported with public intervention designed to offset the external effects and train the staff necessary for conducting the innovative activity (Jeffe, Newell, and Stavins 2000). What should be done with the special case of technology companies? The turn towards innovation strategies for technological development implies an increased pace of commercialisation of R&D results. Thus, a special role in those strategies is played by technology companies12 which specialise in transforming scientific knowledge into basic technologies and/or directly into application technologies, or in adjusting basic technologies to their individual tasks and needs (Antoncic and Prodan 2008, Hindle and Yencken 2004, Storey and Tether 1998, Thrin 2007). These fields are the domain of knowledge-based and engineering companies, respectively.


See e.g. Oslo Manual (OECD 2005), Frascati Manual (OECD 2002), The Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy (Larkin et al. 2006). Companies established to achieve rapid commercialisation of research results.



Table 6: Operationalization of the axis of nature of knowledge/innovation Research and development difficulty index Level 1 Description A very low degree of difficulty is anticipated in achieving R&D objectives concerning the system concept, as well as its performance, reliability and cost. Only a single, short-duration technological approach is needed to ensure a high probability of success in later applications. Probability of success 99%. Index of innovativeness of particular technologies Category of knowledge deficit Technological uncertainty Description Degree to which the development of products or production processes involves the creation of new knowledge representing substantial challenge (the necessity to engage in the learning through research process). The greater the knowledge creation demands are, the more radical innovations are. The need to create new knowledge within the firm can be measured through indicators related to the costs to do the R&D required to develop the innovation. Degree to which the development of products or production processes involves the use of qualifications/competences (also in respect of operating new equipment) which are not available within the company (the necessity to engage in the learning through education, training and retraining process). The greater the need to acquire new knowledge (through education, training, retraining, and purchasing new equipment), the more radical the innovations are. The need to acquire this type of new knowledge can be measured by e.g. the cost of hiring employees with the skills necessary for the firm to develop the innovation, the cost of training its employees connected to develScale 1 to 5, where 1 denotes a very low degree of uncertainty and 5 a very high degree of uncertainty

A moderate degree of difficulty should be anticipated in achieving R&D objectives. A single technological approach will probably be sufficient, but it may be necessary to develop an alternate approach in order to ensure a high probability of success in later applications. Probability of success 90%.

Technical inexperience

1 to 5, where 1 denotes a very low degree of inexperience and 5 a very high degree of inexperience

oping the innovation, the cost of implementing new technologies that the company did not use before, etc. 3 A high degree of difficulty should be anticipated in achieving R&D objectives, and thus at least two technological approaches will probably be needed. These efforts should be conducted early enough to allow an alternate system approach to be developed to ensure a high probability of success in later systems applications. Probability of success 80%. Business inexperience Degree to which the development of products or production processes involves the creation of new knowledge regarding the development of new business practices (i.e. the development of organizational innovations). The greater the need to acquire such knowledge, the more radical the innovations are. Business experience can be measured by e.g. the cost of changing or defining a new marketing strategy to commercialize the innovation, the cost of replacement of former suppliers, etc. Degree to which the development of products or production processes involves investment in the acquisition of new equipment (the necessity to engage in the learning through using process). The greater the costs of acquisition of knowledge embodied in the equipment, the more radical the innovations are. 1 to 5, where 1 denotes a very low degree of inexperience and 5 a very high degree of inexperience

A very high degree of difficulty should be anticipated in achieving R&D objectives, so multiple technological approaches need to be pursued. These activities should be conducted early enough to allow an alternate system concept to be developed to ensure a high probability of success in later systems applications. Probability of success 50%. The degree of difficulty that should be anticipated in achieving R&D objectives is so high that some basic research in key areas is necessary before a feasible system concepts can be defined. Probability of success 20%.

Technology costs

1 to 5, where 1 denotes very low costs and 5 very high costs

Source: On the basis: Amara et al. (2004), Mankins (1998)


The scope of activity and the development model of science-based companies depends on the level of technological readiness of particular fields of knowledge (see Table 2) and the degree of R&D difficulty (Table 6). The scope of activity of engineering-based companies depends on the innovation level of particular technologies, as determined by analysis of the presence of the four types of knowledge deficit: technological uncertainty, technical inexperience, business inexperience and implementation costs for the technology (Table 6). Therefore, the same rules of development support should apply to technology companies as to support for innovative activities (see the section on accommodating market failure into the structure of the innovation policy). How much market failure in the low efficiency of Polish facilitating infrastructure? Facilitating infrastructure is a term that refers to finances, technology transfer, consulting, training and other types of knowledge-intensive business services. In these areas, the source of market failure, and at the same time the reason for primary intervention is information asymmetry13. In time, however, as intervention unfolds, this justification gradually becomes less relevant (Storey 2008). This is exactly the situation that can be currently observed in Poland, where the intentional development of the support services markets (defined under the SME support policy and financed through public funding) began in the second half of the 1990s (Piasecki 2001) and has not yet ended. It has been accompanied by the dynamic development of private companies that provide similar services. This has led to an impressive increase in the quantity and diversity of business support organisations (on the supply side) and in the demand for those services (on the demand side). However, the efficiency of these markets has not risen significantly, especially in the information, training, advisory and consulting services sectors. This is proven by e.g. (Grabowski et al. 2003, Maik et al. 2010, Rogut and Piasecki 2008b): a major divergence between the actual (low) and potential (high) demand for information, training, advisory and consulting services, current offers poorly reflecting the needs of companies, especially in the area of specialised and highly specialised services, relatively low quality of services, measured in terms of their completeness, level of adjustment to the needs/expectations, availability, lead time and the organisation of service provision. The above problems mainly affect the services/institutions which are fully or partially financed by public funding. The services provided by commercial companies seem to do better. Similar conclusions were drawn in an expert report commissioned by the Minister of Economy, which says that non-commercial organisations manage to survive only on subsidies, and not on money earned by providing services, and that this is an ineffective way of financing innovations. It also seems that it would be much better to channel financial support directly to companies (Sosnowska and obejko, 2007). Similar conclusions are also expressed in the latest OECD review of SME and entrepreneurship issues and policies: It is difficult to

13 Due to high unreliability of innovation investments it is hard to assess, especially for the third parties (people or institutions from outside of the innovators circles), the economic potency of the given knowledge/technology. In the case of financial market (banks and credits) for financing of the (more) radical technological (Bertoni and other authors. 2009, Clarysse, Degroof and Heirman 2003, European Commission 2000, Gansa and Stern 2003, Revest and Sapio 2009).

see how the current policy approach to business support is contributing positively to the development of the market for consultancy services for SMEs throughout the country. It is always important to assess the potential effects of policy interventions on the supply and demand side of the market and the current approach may have a crowding out effect on advice and consultancy delivered through private sector institutions, rather than stimulating it (Potter and Proto 2010, p. 46). In summary, it should be said that the information, training, advisory and consulting services markets in Poland are still prone to failure, but now this is due to their persistent attachment to the old instruments of support, which are inconsistent with the current situation and needs. As a result, the original, classical market failure has turned into market spoilage, which further distorts the allocation of resources for innovation. The situation is no better in the sector of technology transfer (Matusiak and Guliski 2010, Rogut 2007). An exception here is the innovation financing sector, which is confirmed by the latest international comparisons (PRO INNO Europa 2010, Schwab 2009). To recapitulate, currently it is not market failure but systemic failure 14(Martin and Scott 2000, PRO INNO Europe 2008b, Woolthuis, Lankhuizen and Gilsing 2005) that is responsible for the low efficiency of Polish facilitating infrastructure15. Thus, a justification for public interventions would not be market failure but the necessity to reduce the deficit of relations and/or linkages within innovation systems. On the other hand, the excessive attachment to non-market instruments (grants and subsidies) in the innovation policy (see the advantages and drawbacks of the administrativepolitical system and the market-endogenous system in the promotion of network linkages) is one of the causes of the current fixation with investment strategies for technological development. That is why, it would be recommended to redefine the instruments of that part of the innovation policy which supports the development of innovation-facilitating infrastructure in order to restore the leading role of the private sector, market mechanisms and systemic solutions also in this area (see Figure 4). What scope of uniformisation and centralisation of the innovation policy? As it was said before, the beginnings of the systemic approach to innovation were connected to the evolutionary theory of economic growth, which provided a stimulus for yet another revision of the approach to the type of advantages critical to attaining success in the modern world. The first revision had taken place in the mid-1970s and was related to a shift in the focus from comparative advantages to competitive ones (Porter 1990 and 1998). Currently, construed advantages have come to attention, as they are based on the speed and effectiveness of the learning process and achieved with the use of instruments applied simultaneously in several interconnected fields (Cooke and Leydesdorff 2006): in the economy (regionalisation of economic development, integration of knowledge production with commercialisation, open innovation systems, intelligent infrastructure, strong local and global networks), in management (multi-level management of relations between a variety of stakeholders, a strong support policy for innovators, increased funding for research and development,

14 15

Hard and soft institutional failures, strong and weak network failure and capabilities failure. So called x-efficiency (and x-effectiveness) of innovations systems (Niosi 2002).


political governance aiming at achieving a certain vision and at positioning local resources in the global space), in the shaping of knowledge infrastructure (universities, R&D units, intermediary institutions, professional consulting, etc., and their role in creation and commercialisation of knowledge and in increasing the absorptive capabilities of the economy), in the shaping of socio-economic conditions (human capital, culture, social norms etc. which change the behaviour of people and institutions, as well as relations between them). However, learning processes occur in different regions and sectors at different speeds. Different regions may have different degrees of development potential16, while different sectors could be catching up with the technology leaders at different rates. Thus regions and sectors should embrace innovation strategies for technological development at a different pace. And this justifies the broad use of both regional and sectoral innovation systems in the innovation policy (Barca 2000). Sectoral systems are additionally important due to the fact that in different sectors the nature of knowledge and the causes of market and systemic failure of the innovation market may vary (Martin and Scott 2000). The coexistence of national (OECD 1997 and 2002a, Santonen, Kaivooja and Suomala 2007), regional (Asheim and Coenen 2004, Cooke, Heidenreich and Braczyk 2004, Doloreux and Parto 2004, Moulaert and Sekia 2003) and sectoral (Athey et al. 2007, Malerba 2003, Sotarauta 2004) innovation systems within the innovation policy is reflected in international experience. The system consists not only of a narrow set of institutions and organisations involved in research and development and in the commercialisation of technological innovations, but also of: (i) all institutions and organisations that shape the scope, pace and effectiveness of the learning process; and (ii) relations between the system actors (Edquist 2001, Lundvall, 2007). In Poland, however, as it has been proven in practice in recent years, two approaches dominate: centralist (Potter and Proto 2010) and uniformist (MG 2007). The former is reflected in the weakness of regional innovation strategies and systems, the latter in resigning (in 2007) from the sectoral17 approach to the industrial policy. Even though the National Strategy for Regional Development (MRR 2010) stipulates: the need to increase the importance of the regional level in stimulating the development processes and focusing on territoriality, but in describing support for the development of regions competitiveness18 the main stress is placed on the creation of competence competitiveness and technological competitiveness (important for the development of production potential for new advanced knowledge) leaving the innovation strategies (defined and introduced centrally) and the effectiveness of the economy; the necessity to distinguish between the territorial approach and the sectoral approach, as the latter may be burdened with the territorial deficit and with an integrated approach to development processes.

16 17

Thus, the proposal for a polarising-diffusion model of development of Poland until 2030 (Boni 2009).

Sectoral instruments are retained only for strategic (energy and defence) and those undergoing restructuring (hard coal mining and the ship-building industry).

One of the three goals of the regional policy. The other two are: integrity (building territorial integrity and counteracting the marginalization of problematic areas) and efficiency (fostering conditions for effective, efficient and partner-wise realisation of territory-oriented development activities).


The above facts indicate the need for a systemic approach to the innovation policy and for coordination of all the three systems of innovation: national, regional and sectoral. Guidance on how to keep appropriate relations between them may be provided by the aforementioned matrix of sources and kinds of knowledge/innovation (Figure 5).
Figure 5: The rules for coordination of national, regional and sectoral innovation systems in the innovation policy

Source: Own work

The diagnosis of innovativeness of the Polish economy reveals a persisting technological gap. A simple extrapolation of the current trends paints a pessimistic scenario, where in the medium term (until 2020) and long term (until 2030) the economic structure will continue to be dominated by medium- and low-technology industries and not very knowledge-intensive services. At the same time, the available forecast material is insufficient to produce definitive recommendations with respect to future paths of technological development in Poland. However, it indicates a pressing need for an immediate review and restructuring of the socioeconomic model and for a shift to new paradigms substantially enhancing the intensity of R&D commercialization. Such a shift has been thought critical in Poland for a long time, and a number of measures have already been undertaken to ensure an adequate environment to facilitate it, but so far they have failed to fundamentally improve the picture. Therefore, the previously designed paths for the development of constructed advantage remain relevant as they are focused on extensive changes in the structure of industrial production, saturation of the economy with modern technologies, increased competitiveness of science, a greater role of research in economic development, prompt commercialization of R&D results, enhanced efficiency of public spending on R&D and innovative activity, increased effectiveness of innovation markets, and improved utilization of higher education potential (SRK 2006). However, due to the budgetary stringency, which is anticipated to last until 2020 (as a consequence of the financial crisis, the implementation of sustainability and development plans,


and aspirations to join the Euro zone), it should be assumed that the main sources of new financing of R&D and innovative activities will be the private sector and EU funds (structural funds and direct transfers in the form of framework programmes and other EU initiatives). Therefore, emphasis should be placed on the generation of private outlays on development (through further reform of the science sector to reverse the current disadvantageous proportions between the basic research-oriented and innovation-oriented segments as well as review of the structure of the financial instruments for innovation policy) and on full participation in the ERA. Moreover, given the new challenges posed by the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), as well as by other developing nations, it should be assumed that technological competitiveness is going to be the primary vehicle for a strong competitive position of Poland. Thus, more attention should be paid to ensuring the right conditions for the generation of radical, breakthrough innovations (by modification of the technological development strategy, of the technological model of learning and of the cooperation promotion model) as well as to developing a systemic approach to innovation. At the same time, due to the relatively low efficiency of a number of ongoing measures for the enhancement of innovativeness and competitiveness, the principles of evidence-based policy should be followed more closely as regards defining and implementing development and innovation policies and a new approach to the development of infrastructure for innovation ought to be adopted.

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