Experimentation Needed for More Effective Policy

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría travelled to Washington, DC, this month to join World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim in co-launching a publication on experimentation in policy design and implementation: Making Innovation Policy Work: Learning from Experimentation. A topic discussed throughout the recent Research + Policy Summit of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress as participants sought to connect impact evaluation and better policy, the book strives to legitimize experimentation as an approach in policymaking.

Innovation policy could not set this new concept in a better context to make the approach come to life. The book clearly conveys that what is true for innovation is also true for pro-innovation policymaking. Like entrepreneurs seeking to take a new technology to market, policymakers need to develop a proof of concept, learn from trial and errors and be able to take appropriate risk-taking.

Making Innovation Policy Work defines experimental innovation policy as that which “integrates monitoring and feedback at the policy design stage, and occurs continuously to improve impact and implementation.” This approach, the authors argue, should help improve both the quality and efficiency of public expenditures supporting innovation policy.

Building on concrete examples of public-sector led programs and regulations (e.g. those constraining Tata in developing the Nano car model for India), the book encourages using an experimental policymaking approach for new and emerging innovation domains, namely: innovative entrepreneurship, green innovation and pro-poor or base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) innovation.

While downloading the full publication requires purchase, viewers are able to read online for free: 

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