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31.
AUG
2022
Posted by Andres

Doctoral defence: Liina Joller-Vahter “The government as an enabler and accelerator of diffusion of radical innovations“

On 31 August at 15:00 Liina Joller-Vahter will defend his doctoral thesis The government as an enabler and accelerator of diffusion of radical innovations“.

Supervisor:
Professor Urmas Varblane, University of Tartu

Opponents:
Jari Romanainen, Technopolis Group (Finland)
Senior Research Fellow Veiko Lember, Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia)

Summary
“How to support innovations that could help to solve the societal grand challenges?” – this question has been actively on the innovation management scholars’ agenda for the past decade. For long, the support for innovation has mainly been provided in the form of fiscal incentives and it has focused on the research and development phase. During the last decade the demand side measures supplemented the toolbox, and the focus has broadened to also cover the commercialisation and scaling up of the innovations. But could the government take an even more proactive role?

The thesis in holds three case studies that showcase how the Estonian government has taken a role that extend the traditional innovation policy approaches. The first case shows the motivations, setup and outcomes of the Estonian electromobility pilot programme ELMO. An innovation that spans across sectors and challenges well-established consumption patterns requires innovativeness also in the innovation governance. A small and agile country can become a living lab for experimenting with such solutions.

The second case takes a closer look at the pilot project of the electric cars short-term rental service’s first users. Unlike the survey-based studies about the intention to buy an electric car, there is more variety in the short-term rental service users, especially among those who have made 1-2 trials. The profile of repeat users is more similar to those of the potential electric cars’ buyers. Hence, in addition to piloting the car-as-a-service business model, the pilot project serves also as the risk-free test and demonstration platform for potential buyers.

The third case focuses on the international vaccination certificate, but similarly the focus lies on the government’s role in enabling and accelerating its diffusion. The current WHO-governed yellow booklet is in place already since 1962. But its digitalisation is technically much easier than achieving its global acceptance. The adoption requires international collaboration at various levels, and the key success factor is the ability to create and uphold trust among the stakeholders. As all innovations require trust for their diffusion, the government’s role as a trust credit provider can be crucial. Additionally, all these cases provide insights for innovating the innovation governance itself.

The defence will be held in Narva Rd 18–1018

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