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How can we know if mission-driven innovation really makes a difference?

A new report from the Stockholm School of Economics draws on recent literature to develop a framework for evaluating mission-driven innovation environments and the work principles that guide their development.

Governments increasingly attempt to address fundamental but complex societal challenges by trying to influence the directionality of innovation. Policies developed in this vein are sometimes called Mission-driven innovation (MDI) policies. But are MDIs truly effective?

A recent report, published as a Working Paper by Anna Essén, Anna Krohwinkel, and Karl Wennberg at the Stockholm School of Economics, focuses on one instance of MDI policy executed by Sweden’s innovation agency, Vinnova. The policy in question is called ‘Vision-Driven Health’ and was initiated in 2019 to improve the Swedish health care and life science sector.

This report draws on the available but scarce literature on MDI to offer a framework for evaluating Mission-driven innovation and the subsequent environments that emerge as a result of such policies. One dimension of this framework is the assessment of eight “Work Principles” designed to guide the development of the mission-driven environments.

“Our empirical studies show that there is great variety in how mission driven environments implement the work principles suggested. That means that evaluation methods and indicators must be flexible enough to capture different kinds of activities and results”

– Anna Essén

House of Innovation Development Governance Innovation Legislation Politics Strategy Working paper