Technical Innovation Systems
Faculty of Geosciences Utrecht University


Innovation System and System Failures

The most important insight that has dominated the field of innovation studies in recent decades is the fact that innovation is a collective activity. It takes place within the context of a wider system. This wider system is coined ‘the innovation system’ or ‘the innovation ecosystem’. The success of innovations is to a large extent determined by how the innovation system is build up and how it functions. The concept of the innovation system stresses that the flow of technology and information among people, enterprises and institutions is key to an innovative process. It stresses the interaction between actors who are needed in order to turn an idea into a successful process, product or service in the marketplace.

The Innovation System can be valuable for government and companies because this approach enables the identification of system failures. Many innovation systems are characterized by some flaws that greatly hamper the development and diffusion of innovations. These flaws are often labeled as system failures or system problems. Intelligent and evidence based innovation policy therefore evaluates how innovation systems are functioning, tries to create insight in the system problems and develops policies and strategies accordingly.

Technological Innovation System

This website introduces the Technological Innovation System (TIS) approach that helps researchers, policy makers and managers to understand and improve the functioning of technological innovations.

Utrecht University

The Technological Innovation System is a concept developed within the context of the Innovation System approach focusing on explaining the nature and rate of technological change and is used for analysing emerging technologies. The Technological Innovation System approach is developed by Utrecht University in cooperation with other European institutes like Chalmers University in Sweden and EAWAG in Switzerland. The purpose of analysing a Technological Innovation System is to analyse and evaluate the development of a particular technological field in terms of the structures and processes that support or hamper it. The basic steps of a TIS-analysis can be found here.