This paper presents an overview of the Japanese and US national innovation systems. The information is organized, analyzed and discussed in the context of the Triple Helix Model of university-government-industry relationship. Current innovation systems in Japan and the US are in a state of transition. Main drivers behind the adaptation process are globalization of economies and sustainable development. Despite historical and cultural disparities, the innovation systems of these countries are evolving towards a common strategy based on the concept of “innovation ecosystems”. This concept stresses the dynamics of innovation in connection with evolving environments, economies and societies. The analysis indicates that in the history of both systems there is a clear trend to learn from common success and failures. Therefore, the disparities between the systems observed in previous decades are now less evident. The transition process in both systems is guided by concerted national actions. However, the transition in Japan, currently in a more advanced stage, shows a greater systemic approach guided by comprehensive plans and roadmaps for medium and long-term strategies. As an important reflection from this analysis we consider that from a systemic perspective, models of collaboration are less relevant that the benefit implicit in the simple action of collaborating. This is the constant creation, diffusion, and absorption of knowledge as economic and social inputs/outputs within an innovation system. Availability and diversity of collaborations at any time and rate can bring then, the desirable consequence of synergy and the required systemic flexibility to enhance its adaptability to changing environments.
National Systems of Innovations (NIS) in Japan and the US
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Institut für Thermische Strömungsmaschinen, Universität Karlsruhe, 2009