Asia-Pacific National Innovation Systems
Online Resource Centre

Asia-Pacific Forum - Diagnosis of NIS


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The concept of an NIS was synthesized about 15 years ago to narrate the complex and interactive web of knowledge flows and relationships between industry, government and academia, and the process of ensuring they work systematically to nurture innovation and underpin science and technology development efforts. It rests on the premise that a clear understanding of the linkages between the actors involved in innovation would lead to improved technological performance. Creating and implementing a responsive NIS requires a holistic policy design and formulation that fosters and encourages collaboration and partnerships among firms, and between public and private institutions 3 . Currently, these collaborations and partnerships are increasingly becoming international, regional and global in the context of globalized technology and economy. With the emerging approach of “Open Innovation” 4 the role of policies and governance assumes greater importance, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). There is a need to mainstream open innovation approach in national science, technology and innovation (STI) policies to bridge the gap between innovation and industrial applications. NIS diagnosis exercises should therefore aim at identifying relevant policy mechanisms and instruments that would promote open innovation to bridge this gap by reducing the barriers for rapid technology development and commercialization both in the private and public sectors.

To diagnose or evaluate the quality and efficiency of an NIS, an evidence-based methodology or approach must be used. This is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of various components of NIS and evolve an informed policy decision and implementation mechanisms. Good analysis of an existing system can provide useful information for policymakers in planning changes to, and strengthening the existing STI systems and strategies relevant to the evolving national context and development objectives. There are several methodologies that can be used for diagnosis of various components of NIS, each with advantages and limitations.

APCTT-ESCAP organized the third NIS Forum focusing on the topic “Diagnosis of NIS and Development of STI Strategies in the Open Innovation Framework”. Experts from key national institutions studying STI policies and diagnosing NIS in Bangladesh, People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand presented their national approaches in diagnosis of their innovation systems and STI strategy development. They shared the challenges and lessons learnt in STI. In addition, resource persons from the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in India, as well as APCTT-ESCAP staff made presentations, participated in the panel discussions and shared their views on the emerging concepts of NIS diagnosis, STI strategy development, mainstreaming of gender and open innovation in STI, and South-South and regional cooperation. An expert from Slovenia also joined the Forum and made an online video presentation.


The objective of the Forum was to foster discussion and exchange experiences among national institutions that study national STI policies, diagnose innovation systems (national, sub-regional, sectoral) and advise on STI strategies in the context of national development goals thus supporting the policymakers to make evidence-based policy decisions. The Forum provided a platform for experts to deliberate on the emerging concept of open innovation as an important element of STI strategy as well as South-South and regional cooperation. These deliberations were aimed to identify best practices and methodologies of NIS diagnosis in the participating countries. The open innovation approach as a national STI strategy would strengthen NIS and it could be deployed to forge regional cooperation for co-development of technologies for mutual benefit.