Perspectives on innovation governance: challenges and dilemmas

Tiago Brandão (Publisher), Mónica Edwards-Schachter (Editor), Hector Gonzalo Ordoñez-Matamoros (Guest editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


Innovation governance has risen to prominence as a central theme in nurturing and framing contemporary debates surrounding innovation policies. This Special Issue features contributions that critically examine the “complexities of governance and the governance of complexity” (Jessop, 2020), aiming for a deeper understanding of innovation governance processes. The selected papers build on some discussions from the inaugural international NOvationOnline Forum (held from 15 to 17 September 2021) around innovation policies and governance practices. The issue focuses on a critical approach to dilemmas and challenges associated with innovation governance in the context of sustainability transformations and its intricate relationships with ethical, social, economic, and environmental concerns.

Over the past few decades, the concept has gained significant traction, particularly in the corporate sector, as organizations seek to enhance their innovation governance practices. This shift reflects a broader trend toward proactive and anticipatory policymaking designed to effectively address complex challenges and uncertainties (Stoker, 1998; Diercks et al., 2019; Tõnurist & Hanson, 2020). Prominent examples include the emergence of Claims to Responsible Innovation (RI) and Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP), both of which are regarded as essential tools for addressing societal issues and driving systemic change toward sustainability (Diercks et al., 2019; Ludwig & Macnaghten, 2020). Additionally, there is a growing emphasis on enhancing civil society participation through a surge in Public Engagement (PE) initiatives. These endeavors are connected to the proliferation of governance labs and methods aimed at fostering optimistic discussions on participatory citizenship within public policy and innovation processes (e.g., the role of governance labs and Public Sector Innovation Laboratories, PSIL).

In summary, innovation governance encompasses a wide spectrum of perspectives on innovation, mostly focused on innovation systems and interrelationships and the conditions that facilitate thriving innovation. It involves the establishment of decision-making processes and structures that support the management of innovation activities, encompassing the definition of clear roles, responsibilities, and guidelines for innovation, as well as ongoing monitoring and evaluation of innovation performance.

The following papers provide different aspects of governance that are not generally taken into account in the literature, paying attention to the barriers and conundrums that arise in innovation processes and practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)1-146
Number of pages150
JournalNOvation - Critical Studies of Innovation
Issue number2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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