Development, innovation, sustainability and policies: Chris Freeman’s legacy

Author(s): Helena Maria Martins Lastres
Working Paper No.: 2017-02
Keywords: Innovation, national systems of innovation, development and innovation policy, social and environmental sustainability, local innovation and production systems, Chris Freeman, Latin American Structuralist Approach, RedeSist, Brazil.

Revisiting Chris Freeman’s main legacies, this paper highlights those considered as fundamental for the comprehension of the present challenges and opportunities posed to development. It attempts to recuperate some of his seminal contributions, focusing on: the importance of a broad and contextualized understanding of development, innovation, and national systems of innovation; changes of techno-economic paradigm and the role of government policies; financialization, sustainability, and crises; usual biases in innovation research and policy agendas; the need to contextualize analytical and policy frameworks; and the threats of alienation of economic theory. Arguing a substantial enlargement and refinement of both research and policy agendas was achieved; the paper stresses the importance of fostering and consolidation of national, regional, and international research cooperation on these issues. The conclusion addresses the possibilities to improve innovation research and policy agendas, accentuating the role of lecturers, researchers, and policy-makers, particularly those participants of the regional and national networks and related research activities on learning, innovation, and competence building systems.

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