On September 28, 2020, Pujiang Innovation Forum · 2020 International Science, Technology and Innovation Think Tank Forum themed “Innovation Systems and Sources of Innovation” was held in Shanghai. Hu Zhijian, President of Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, and Zhu Qigao, Deputy Director of Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality addressed the Forum. In addition, Hu Zhijian, Steven Popper, Senior Economist at Rand Corporation, Mu Rongping, Secretary of the CPC Committee of Institutes of Science and Development, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guo Zhe, Director General of Department of Research and Publicity, China Association for Science and Technology, Xu Heping, President of National Science and Technology Society for the Revitalization of City Economy, Miao Qihao, Former Deputy Director of Shanghai Library (Shanghai Institute of Science and Technology Intelligence), Robin Williams, Director of Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation, University of Edinburgh (ISSTI), Yang Jian, Deputy Director of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, Knut Koschatzky, Senior Researcher of Fraunhofer ISI, Germany, Quan Heng, Secretary of the CPC Leadership Group and Full-time Vice Chairman, Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations, Petra Ahrweiler, Professor at School of Social Science, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany, and Shi Qian, Director of Shanghai Institute for Science of Science, delivered keynote speeches successively. Here we will present the wonderful opinions of the guests the first time (in order of guest speeches).
Site of the 2020 International Science, Technology and Innovation Think Tank Forum themed “Innovation Systems and Sources of Innovation”
▼Hu Zhijian, President of Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development
Promoting the Construction of the National Innovation System with the "Dual Circulation" Development Pattern Centered on the Domestic Economy, and Aimed at Integrating the Domestic and Global Economies
1.According to the “2020 Global Innovation Index” (GII 2020) released by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), our country is now mainly faced with the following innovation challenges: the inadequacy in innovation capability building, the imperfection of market mechanism for the free flow of knowledge elements, the lack of innovations that reflect both efficiency and fairness; and the insufficient exertion of the role of leading opening-up and operation.
2.Currently, General Secretary Xi Jinping has proposed to “gradually form the new development pattern with the big domestic circulation at the main position and the mutual promotion of the “dual circulation". To be specific, for the dual circulation, the domestic one and the international one shall be of equal importance with the domestic on centered. The domestic circulation may be carried forward initiatively through the small circulations in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Yangtze River Delta Region, and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
3.We shall integrate and optimize the allocation of scientific and technological resources, with a focus on promoting the pooling of innovative resources among enterprises and facilitating the deep industry-university-research integration. In addition, we shall vigorously promote the resource coverage in rural areas, rather than constructing science and technology cities or science cities indiscriminately
4.The difference in the degree of openness determines the economic level of a region, and the comprehensive strength of a country. Our country shall strive to promote scientific and technological cooperation into the global big circulation, accelerate the construction of the innovation network with a higher degree of division of labor, and higher value creation.
▼ Steven Popper, Senior Economist at Rand Corporation
China and the US: the Potential and the Propensity for Innovation
1.Innovation is a behavior of combining the known to explore the unknown. We have proposed two concepts: innovation potential and innovation propensity. Then it comes to the question: if two countries have the equal innovation potential in the terms that we usually measure, will we necessarily see equal innovation results? It can be said that innovation propensity is the tendency of a system to encourage innovative behaviors to support innovation processes. Thus, innovation propensity is right the essence of innovation systems.
2.An important feature of technology is that it is a concept that affects people’s work and life with a focus on knowledge sharing, which is essentially a social process subject to the impacts exerted by formal and informal institutions. As related knowledge is not extensively communicated in the early stage, close cooperation and contact will facilitate the knowledge sharing and thus promote innovation.
3.There are three kinds of important factors that influence the innovation propensity, namely, institutions (including structure, policy and informal institutions), innovation processes (including R&D, invention and communication), and precursors to innovation (including investment, incentives and knowledge and skills). Through various tools, China and the United States can observe the innovation systems of each other, and learn about the key factors that determine the innovation propensity, and further clarify the directions of innovative development of their respective systems, to realize mutual learning.
4.Actually, in many fields, China has taken a strong lead over the United States in the overall level of patenting. However, in terms of the fields and concentration of patent applications, the two countries vary greatly. This is the result of some of the institutional factors and signatures of different innovation systems, and doesn’t suggest that one innovation system must necessarily be better than the other. The two innovation systems both reflect their societies, and so may be well suited to the circumstances of each.
▼Mu Rongping, Secretary of the CPC Committee of Institutes of Science and Development, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Evolution of the Global Innovative Development Pattern and China’s Opinions over Innovative Development
1.From the perspective of the pattern of global innovative development, China’s innovation capability is inconsistent with its level of innovative development. China’s level and efficiency of innovative development are relatively low while the innovation capability is relatively high. In this sense, China is an unconventional innovation catch-up country just like Turkey.
2.The innovative development of China shall focus more on how to shape the future. We should consider the future within our reach that can be realized with efforts, rather than take a large effort in solving the current problems. Visions may make the fate of innovation actors related. Hence, we should establish aligned visions and reach consensuses on innovative development, to further improve the innovation efficiency.
3.Think tank research shall focus on the general situation and the pattern, and follow the different features and demands in each stage of development. China has gone through the stage of Taylor Theory, and is now in the transition to stages of higher needs in Maslow's Hierarchical Theory of Needs. As the contradiction between the supply and demand in economic and social development becomes more and more acute, we should establish innovative policies to solve those problems in economic and social development, and accelerate the transformation from the “demand-pull” mode to the “vision-driven and demand-driven” mode.
4.Our innovation policies shall be transformed into innovative development policies, to promote better coupling of innovation and development, and a “five-in-one” policy system for innovative development integrating the policy for scientific development, the policy for technological innovation, the policy for industrial innovation, the policy for development of social innovation, and the policy for development of environmental innovation shall be established.
5.The urban development shall go with plans. However, our current plans only look to the next 5 to 10 years. We should take a longer view over the urban development.
▼Guo Zhe, Director General of Department of Research and Publicity, China Association for Science and Technology
A Systematic Perspective on the Formation of Sources of Innovation
1.By analyzing the background of scientific and technological innovation reform of the world, we have found that the essence of competition is the systematic competition across fields and borders. As innovation trends do not zigzag toward a desired future, but will expand and create new fields like an expanding sphere, we should learn about the innovation systems from an evolutionary perspective, and collective advantages and collective wisdom will become the decisive factors.
2.Metcalfe's Law tells us that the charm of innovation lies in linkage instead of ownership. Seeing from the surface, it is the superposition of nodes of innovation elements (the larger the overlap, the higher the entropy value); behind the surface is the convergence, collision and radiation of information flow, capital flow and innovative thoughts. Attention should be paid to the peripheral nodes of the siphon and the leading and guidance over them. In addition, external linking is of much greater significance than internal management. Our country shall be able to gather global wisdom and expand boundaries with an open mind, to get all players incorporated.
3.We should stick to the development strategies in the polycentric ecological pattern, and try to become the igniter setting off the creative singularities, the arterial traffic for communication of multi-dimensional information, the integrator of trans-boundary innovation benefits, the leader of a diversified culture of innovation, and the balancer between innovation transformation and social benefits. The prominent hybridization effect of heterogeneous integration of our country has become an important mechanism for the emergence of innovative thoughts.
4.The journey to become an innovation power will go through stages of repetition, supplementation, regularity, systematization, and scientificity. During this dynamic process, the key lies in the construction of an innovation ecosystem. The new planning with innovation ecosystem as the center shall avoid “division of projects, division of resources, and discrimination” and respect the decisive role of the market in allocating resources, rather than say one thing and do another.
▼Xu Heping, President of National Science and Technology Society for the Revitalization of City Economy
Key Factors in Reshaping the Industrial Chain
1.As the scientific and technological transformation and industrial revolution continues to accelerate, the focuses of global changes all lie in science and technology innovation actually. Currently, with the end of the US-led globalization, how to reshape the global industrial chain and supply chain has become a core issue for world economy and international politics. It can be said that the China-US relation determines the fundamentals of global industrial reorganization, and multiple factors including technical strength, industrial competitiveness and national strategies will shape a new global industrial pattern.
2.The global industrial chain and supply chain are facing great impact from non-economic factors. Against this background, the key to China's urgent development lies in two aspects. On the one hand, China shall construct a modern industrial system, reshape the industrial chain, supply chain and value chain, and foster new growth points and new drivers of growth; on the other hand, China shall adhere to the “dual circulation” development pattern with domestic circulation as the focus, and induce new drivers of growth through science and technology innovation.
3.Key factors that affect the reshaping of the industrial chain mainly include industrial characteristics, market capacity, technical competence, competition pressure, and development strategies. Taking market volume as an example, without sufficient market support, circulation is hard to be realized in new technological industries. Hence, the huge investment in high-tech industries shall be based on the global market, in which China shows great advantage.
4.The main idea for China to upgrade the modernization level of the industrial chain shall be as follows: firstly, make breakthroughs in core and critical technologies, and establish a relatively complete industrial technology system; secondly, improve the industrial production system, integrate the innovation chain, capital chain, value chain and supply chain, and raise the integrity and stability of the industrial chain; thirdly, develop new industrial forms and models, establish a new system for the coordinated development of all industrial links and relevant industries; fourthly, promote the digital transformation of the industry, and improve the level of digitalized governance of the industrial chain.
▼Miao Qihao, Former Deputy Director of Shanghai Library (Shanghai Institute of Science and Technology Intelligence)
From Think Tank to Decision Support System: Findings, Thoughts and Implications from the Research into Science and Technology Think Tanks of Other Countries
1.The research into the think tanks of other countries has revealed the diversity of think thanks. Think tanks can intervene in the decision-making process either at different stages of decision-making to form a serial relationship with each other, or from different topics and industrial fields to form a parallel relationship.
2.Science and technology think tanks essentially conduct policy research around science and technology, which is the policy feature of think tanks. From the perspective of political science, there shall be interest groups to voice their opinions through different channels to reflect the appeals of different groups.
3.After finding the diversity and realizing the policy feature of think tanks, we should understand them in a systematic way. The decision support ecosystem shall include legislative bodies that are responsible for formulating policies, strategies and regulations, and governmental thinks tanks, civil think tanks and consulting firms. In addition, supervision and inspection bodies, media and lobbying agencies shall also be included, with the support of services in terms of information data, talent education, academic research, as well as tools and methods.
▼Robin Williams, Director of Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation, The University of Edinburgh
Why S&T Innovation Policies Require Science and Technology Studies?
1.The S&T research (science and technology studies) and innovation research vary in some perspectives, mainly in their focus on methodology and epistemology. The innovation research emphasizes the methodology and epistemology of positivism in order to generate inductive knowledge and thus promote policy making, while the S&T research underlines interpretivism, the interaction between local actions and the contingency of the knowledge generated.
2.Currently there are two views with regard to the theory of national innovation system. One view advocates learning by doing, learning by using and interactive learning, accentuating the close link and knowledge flow between technology suppliers and users, as well as the critical role of such knowledge flow in developing capabilities and promoting successful innovation; the other view focuses on the exploitation of research and R&D in public sectors, and believes that the S&T capability is the key driver of innovation processes.
3.Learning from failure is a key feature of innovation. If we cannot predict a successful outcome, we shall instead implement a vast number of different initiatives, explore different results, and choose the ones that really work and use them. Therefore, we need to formulate multiple supporting structures and incentives in the hope that one of them can work.
4.The relation between innovation systems and S&T research has become increasingly close. On the one hand, the innovation system will incorporate a broader sense of innovation in the future and take into account the problems, orientation and speed of innovation, which will stimulate the innovation systems to obtain practical results via S&T research; the S&T research in turn involves the inspiration, formulation and implementation of innovation policies on an increasing basis.
Yang Jian, Deputy Director of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies
Where Will the US Policy on China Lead the World? Compatibility or Isolation?
1.As the intense international situation has not yet become stable, we should not just act like a by-stander. To monitor the impact of US policy on China from a global perspective, we must pay attention to the changes in global technology ecosystem and the global market ecosystem, and consider whether we will give aid to or place barriers to the next industry revolution and the current economy recovery?
2.Compatibility is a value that the destinies of all mankind are intertwined and blended together. Adhering to the value of compatibility at present is conducive to promoting the common progress of mankind and solving the governance problems of mankind in the era of globalization. Hence, we need compatible technologies to jointly promote the development of knowledge and tools, and compatible equipment, compatible codes, and compatible systems to jointly monitor global climate changes, maritime dynamics, and biological changes. It is our shared responsibility.
3.The US is unwilling to accept a future where non-western and non-US technology companies will become peer competitors in advanced technologies, so it “encircles” and “suppresses” Huawei by means of rude blocking methods, destroys the arrangement and division of labor for the future digital world made by International Telecommunication Union, and dismantles the efficient supply chain of electronic products. The highly globalized supply chain is gradually breaking up, with the following main negative effects on the world: the rise in global equipment price and technical service price, the decrease in the global total investment in innovation, the increase in macroeconomic costs, and the further decline in the pace of digital economy development plans in some countries. So who will pay for the dismantling and reorganization of the supply chain and the inefficiency of development? The answer is all of us.
4.Although the future orientation of Chinese companies like Huawei is compatible competition, the rejection by Americans will divide the global market into two incompatible groups, which will force other countries and companies to take sides between the US and China in a technological cold war. The "Digital Non-aligned Movement" will be the only way for developing countries that are unwilling to choose between China and the West to promote the establishment of a free and open digital ecosystem across the globe.
▼Knut Koschatzky, Senior Researcher of Fraunhofer ISI, Germany
Regional Transformation and Structural Change: Implications for Innovation Policies
1.Discuss and interpret the new geographic viewpoints on regional transformation from the perspective of innovation geography and transformation geography which become a current topic, focusing mainly on how to transform or create new regional development paths through ideal regional systems, with sustainable transformational development, environmental issues, and issues related to national and global challenges and missions as the very core. Relevant studies show that transformation is location-specific, which means that all changes originate in certain regions, perhaps a garage, a platform, a laboratory, a city, or other forms of close social interactions.
2.Combining the traditional methods and strategies of geography of innovation with new methods promoting transformation, we may find that the new paths to promote the development of regions and cities mainly include regional transformation, experimentation space, new public governance models, etc. In any case, however, we should keep the historical law of development firmly in mind, and maintain the competitiveness and flexibility of policy tools, so as to realize the transformation and further improve the existing development path, especially the level of sustainable development.
3.During the regional transformation, the widely-used policy tools mainly include transformational governance, strategic niche market management that promotes the joint development of technologies and the society, self-reflective governance based on continuous learning, behavior change and assessment, and the traditional innovation system policies supporting the regional or urban exchange, interaction, and institutional structure.
4.The learnings we may get from the innovation policies mainly include: 1. In the process of transformation and innovation, cooperation, network interconnection and knowledge transfer play an important role in innovation; 2. The combination of traditional and new methods may facilitate the transformation and the structural change; 3. We should facilitate the development of niche markets as the experimentation, innovation and incubation spaces; 4. We should give a better play to the important role of public governance in supporting the experimentations, providing the transformational regions, facilitating learning and behavior change, etc.
▼Quan Heng, Secretary of the CPC Leadership Group and Full-time Vice Chairman, Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations
New Impetus for Source of Science and Technology Innovation, High-end Leading Industries and High-quality Development of Shanghai
1.A city may have a good performance both in the speed and quality of development. The focus for Shanghai to realize rapid and high-quality development is to give play to the leading role of the source of urban science and technology innovation and high-end industries. The resource allocation efficiency and total factor productivity may be enhanced during science and technology innovation by increasing investment in human resources and R&D of technologies, industrializing innovation and other methods, so as to enable the rapid and healthy development of Shanghai.
2.Currently, Shanghai still lags behind the global science and technology innovation center in terms of labor productivity, innovation level, overall competitiveness as a core city, GDP per capita and other indicators, indicating the lack of agglomeration and radiation capacity of urban elements due to Shanghai’s low industrial energy level.
3.During the industrial transformation to service economy, the development and upgrading of the manufacturing industry should not be ignored, because the transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry may facilitate the development of the service industry, and their development complements one another internally.
4.Currently, the relatively low industrial energy level of Shanghai is also reflected in the lack of leading force of high-end service industry, so it is necessary to promote the development of human capital-intensive, knowledge-based and innovation-based service industry. In addition, Shanghai should solve the problem of incorrect allocation of resources and enhance labor output quality and efficiency through the reform of systems and mechanisms, so as to finally realize the rapid and high-quality development of Shanghai.
▼Petra Ahrweiler, Professor at School of Social Science, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany
Policies for Leapfrog Innovation
1.Leapfrog innovation is jump innovation. It is not diffusion, or adaptation or imitation, but a radical innovation that jumps off of the usual pattern. Jump innovation in the grand challenges is complex and urgent, i.e. the innovation with a potential to change the world, including changing the way markets and economies operate in the future. To deal with leapfrog innovation, we should further change and open up the entire market and emerging industries, and take various actions to adapt to the development of different regions, environments and industries.
2.To deal with and solve the complex systems and complex problems brought by leapfrog innovation, we need not only the new technologies, but also transformation processes for society as a whole, and both of them involve behavior change of innovation actors and the corresponding new political and economic models. In this respect, metropolitan regions are gradually becoming transformation laboratories of the complex interplay of technological, social and organizational innovation for the grand challenge areas.
3.Nowadays, we have complex innovation problems with high ethical and societal implications for the future of our global societies, and we always have questions in where we will end up, and in the social values on which technology development is based. One individual alone or one subsystem of the society cannot solve all problems, so the science or industry solutions require the participation of experts and co-design of all social groups.
4.Innovation is not limited to technological innovation. In the field of major challenges, social innovation is also an indispensable part. Both urban and metropolitan areas need a learning innovation network with high knowledge generation and dissemination capability, which has high-level knowledge generation and distribution as well as good performance in the field of responsible innovation and sustainable technology production. To achieve this, close cooperation and support of all actors, politics, economies, NGOs, civil societies and urban communities are required.
5.Communication and networking are the core of the innovation culture. The urban and metropolitan areas need a participatory approach to ensure that the necessary steps are completed in collaborative innovation. Industry plays a very important role in this regard, as a city cluster needs a world-class innovation cluster with strong technology and innovation management capabilities, which cooperates with cutting-edge scientific research and technology production institutes.
▼Shi Qian, Director of Shanghai Institute for Science of Science
Ideas and Countermeasures for Strengthening the Sources of Science and Technology Innovation
1.In order to strengthen the function as a source of science and technology innovation, Shanghai should focus on fundamental research, talent incentives, achievement commercialization, fintech, etc.
2.In terms of fundamental research, Shanghai should grant more governmental funds, and fully mobilize social capital to strongly support the fundamental research in Shanghai and improve the science and technology innovation capacity of the city.
3.Shanghai should vigorously promote the incentive policies for talents to focus on both “introduction” and “cultivation”, and deeply inspire the innovation vitality of talents by using diversified incentives and improving the introduction system for science and technology innovation talents at home and abroad. In addition, the implementation of the incentive policies for talents will also play a positive role in the structural optimization of the age, academic qualification and professional background of the science and technology innovation talents.
4.Shanghai needs to further open up the commercialization chain of scientific and technological achievements. Currently, Shanghai already has a complete set of mechanisms and policies for institutions, the innovation service system, the realization of terminal value, etc. However, the collaborative innovation among universities, scientific research institutes and enterprises is still inadequate, leading to the failure of the commercialization of a large number of valuable scientific and technological achievements.
5.During the construction of the science and technology innovation center, Shanghai has not yet given full play to its advantages as a financial center, so it needs to deeply facilitate the organic combination of science and technology and finance. The government should soundly use innovation policies to encourage early investment in science and technology innovation, enhance the Sci-Tech Innovation Board effect, deeply promote the reform of state-owned enterprises, optimize the innovation ecological environment, and fully integrate into the global innovation network.
This article is compiled by the Strategic Planning Laboratory of Shanghai Institute for Science of Science.
The opinions in the article do not represent the stand of the hosting organization.