Governments have long attempted to promote innovation. They have done this explicitly to meet perceived societal needs, such as defence and security, as well as more standard economic ones such as supporting trade. With the growth of welfare states, many governments have established initiatives in such fields as health, hygiene and sanitation, and more widely in such areas as societal cohesion and social inclusion.
These initiatives require substantial steering, management and foresight; and as societies become ever more complex, greater attempts at making these initiatives coherent are necessarily required. Does the act of innovation by governments to meet societal needs require a new label or term such as SDI to describe it? This may be justified in the light of the growing use of such terms as ‘citizen driven innovation’. As innovation studies demonstrate the roles of different stakeholders in shaping innovation processes – not least by defining needs which innovation might be applied to – concepts like SDI may be useful for grappling with distinctive processes of influence.
The study identifies what practical steps could make the concept of SDI policy more effective. This includes a discussion of the key actors involved in the formulation of the policy and its implementation, and of how such implementation might be achieved.