Problem-Oriented Innovation Policy: Key Organizational Dynamics and Issues

Susana Borrás, Professor, Department of Organization

Alan Irwin, Professor, Department of Organization

Christoph Grimpe, Professor, Department of Strategy and Innovation

Signe Vikkelsø, Professor, Department of Organization

Charles Edquist, Professor, Lund University, Sweden

Course Coordinator
Susana Borrás

The participants are required to submit and present orally a power point presentation during the course. The presentation is a reflection of the participant’s use of the theories and material discussed in the course, as well as the assigned readings. Deadline for submitting the presentation (the PowerPoint file) is one week before the course begins.

The participants have to attend the whole course and have to make the above-mentioned presentation as a precondition for receiving the course diploma.

The aim of the course is to provide the students with a theoretical and conceptual framework for the analysis of most crucial organizational dynamics and issues associated to problem-oriented science, technology and innovation policy. The PhD students must be working on a research project involving aspects of science, technology and/or innovation policy design and policy-making, or if this is not the case, be interested in exploring this topic. The aim of the PhD course is to make the students reflect upon their own research projects from the theoretical and analytical perspective of problem-oriented innovation policy.

Course content
This course focuses on some of the key organizational dynamics of problem-oriented innovation policy. Societies and economies are today confronted to a series of economic challenges like sustainable economic growth, job-creation, and competitiveness, as well as challenges that have to do with broad social issues like poverty, ageing societies, deforestation, neglected diseases, or climate change. Several countries have started to introduce elements of problem-oriented approach into the formulation and implementation of their research and innovation policies. However we still lack a proper framework to analyze such trends and dynamics, as well as to understand the transformative capacity and organizational dilemmas associated to such policy initiatives. This course aims at presenting and discussing the newest and most relevant theoretical, conceptual and analytical frameworks to study such fundamental policy approach and the organizational dynamics associated to it. The course will start by defining what a problem-oriented innovation policy is about, thereafter it will examine several specific aspects like the inter-organizational and managerial dilemmas, the difficulties and dynamics about inter-organizational coordination, mechanisms and limits of stakeholder integration in innovation, or the organizational problems and barriers in science-industry interactions. The course will also examine the governance context where innovation policy is embedded, and will look in particular at the different roles of the state and the capacities of public and private organizations in the governance of socio-technical change and transformative processes, as well as the instruments of transformative and problem-oriented innovation policies. Cross-national comparison is crucial, for that reason the course will pay attention at dynamics of policy learning and isomorphic differences in some of the most R&D and innovation intensive countries. The course will open up issues of responsible research and innovation in the context of problem-oriented innovation policies.

Teaching style
Lectures with an active engagement of the students in a dialogue and discussion. Student presentations with feedback from teachers and other participants.

Lecture plan
Day/ Time 9th Dec 10th Dec 11th Dec 12th Dec 13th Dec

Introductory session

Susana Borrás
Intra-organizational and managerial dilemmas in innovation models/policies - Signe Vikkelsø Isomorphic differences in science and technology policies – Alan Irwin

Problems and dynamics in science-industry interaction

Christoph Grimpe

Innovation policy instruments: Design, choice & implementation issues – Susana Borrás

Coffee break
11-00-12.30 Problem-oriented innovation policy. A holistic approach  – Charles Edquist What inter-organizational coordination challenges are there in purpose-driven innovation policy? – Signe Vikkelsø Responsible Research and Innovation: old themes in a new framework? -Alan Irwin

Stakeholder integration in innovation -

Christoph Grimpe
Policy mixes for transformative innovation policy: Concepts & measurement – Susana Borrás
Lunch 12.30-13.30
13.30-15.00 Demand-driven innovation policy: new issues  – Charles Edquist

Organizational capacity & innovation policy learning  - Susana Borrás

The transformative roles of the state in the governance of socio-technical change – Susana Borrás Innovation policy in the era of digital transformation – Susana Borrás Students’ presentation– Susana Borrás
Coffee break
15.30-17.00 Students’ presentations – Susana Borrás Students’ presentations - Alan Irwin Students’ presentations–Alan Irwin Students’ presentations - Susana Borrás Closing session – Susana Borrás
After 17.00 Welcome reception       Course dinner (18.00)   

Learning objectives
Upon completion of the course, the students:

• Will have a good understanding of the different theories that are the basis for the rationales and design of science, technology and innovation policies.

• Will have acquired a good insight into the key concepts and analytical frameworks for conducting organizational studies of innovation policy.

• Will have acquired a good overview and deep knowledge of the key themes and specific topics related to problem-oriented innovation policy.

• Will improve their skills in terms of oral presentation and discussion at academic level.


There are 7 no-fee places reserved for PhD students from EU-SPRI institutions. Check here if your university is member of EU-SPRI: http://euspri-forum.eu/member-organisations/. Please contact course administrator Katja Høeg Tingleff (kht.research@cbs.dk) if you wish to apply for one of the no-fee places.

Start date

End date




Course Literature
The participants are requested to read the mandatory literature before the classes. The final list of readings will be provided before the course starts. The list will include among others, the following mandatory readings:

Borrás, S. and Edquist, C. (2019) Holistic Innovation Policy: Theoretical Foundations, Policy Problems and Instrument Choices (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Chapters 1, 2 and 6

Kuhlmann, S. and Rip, A. (2018) 'Next-Generation Innovation Policy and Grand Challenges'. Science and Public Policy, Vol. 45, No. 4, p.pp. 448-54.

Edler, J. and Georghiou, L. (2007) 'Public procurement and innovation--Resurrecting the demand side'. Research Policy, Vol. 36, No. 7, p.pp. 949-63.

Breznitz, D., Ornston, D. and Samford, S. (2018) 'Mission critical: the ends, means, and design of innovation agencies'. Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol. 27, No. 5, p.pp. 883-96.

Dougherty, D. (2008) '"Managing the 'Unmanagables' of Sustained Product Innovation" af (p. 173-191) '. In Shane, S. (ed.) Handbook of Technology and Innovation Management (London: Wiley).

Pfotenhauer, S. and Jasanoff, S., 2017. Panacea or diagnosis? Imaginaries of innovation and the ‘MIT model’ in three political cultures. Social Studies of Science 47(6), 783-810.

Czarnitzki, D., Grimpe, C. & Pellens, M. 2015. Access to research inputs: open science versus the entrepreneurial university. Journal of Technology Transfer 40, 1050-1063.

Franzoni, C. & Sauermann, H. 2014. Crowd science: The organization of scientific research in open collaborative projects. Research Policy 43, 1-20.

Olsen, A.Ø., Sofka, W. & Grimpe, C. 2016. Coordinated Exploration for Grand Challenges: The Role of Advocacy Groups in Search Consortia. Academy of Management Journal 59, 2232-2255.

Paunov, C. and Guellec, D. (2018 ) 'Perspectives on innovation policies in the digital age'. In OECD (ed.) OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2018. Adapting to Technological and Societal Disruption (Paris: OECD).

Plekhanov, D., Keenan, M., Galindo-Rueda, F. and Ker, D. (2018) 'The digitalisation of science and innovation policy'. In OECD (ed.) OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2018. Adapting to Technological and Societal Disruption (Paris: OECD).

Suggested readings
Before the course starts, the students will get a list of suggested further readings, as a resource for the students (not mandatory readings).

DKK 6,500 (covers the course, coffee/tea, lunch and one dinner).

Minimum number of participants

Maximum number of participants

Copenhagen Business School
Kilevej 14A
2000 Frederiksberg
Room: K4.74

Contact information
The PhD Support
Katja Høeg Tingleff
Tel. +45 38 15 28 39
E-mail: kht.research@cbs.dk

Registration deadline

In case we receive more registrations for the course than we have places, the registrations will be prioritized in the following order: Students from Doctoral School of Organisation and Management Studies (OMS), students from other CBS PhD schools, students from other institutions than CBS.