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Title: A Systems Approach to Identifying and Managing Opportunities and Constraints to Delivering Innovation Policy for Agriculture: An Analysis of the Australian Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program
Contributor(s): Sandall, Jean (author); Cooksey, Ray W  (author); Wright, Victor  (author)
Publication Date: 2011
DOI: 10.1080/1389224X.2011.596418
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Abstract: In this paper we outline an analytical approach to identifying points in the policy process where management intervention to adjust organizational design could enhance delivery of innovation policy over time. We illustrate this approach using an example from native vegetation policy in the state of Victoria, Australia. We then use this approach to interpret recent reviews of the Australian Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program, a policy instrument aimed at enhancing national economic growth by fostering innovation in research and development. The approach described in this paper is grounded in the idea of policy as a complex and adaptive organizational system. From the findings it was apparent that reviews of the Australian CRC Program have recognized some of its complex and dynamic properties. However, they have been limited in their capacity to translate this recognition into practical recommendations for organizational design to improve delivery on innovation, particularly in relation to the uptake of research outputs by industries such as agriculture. We propose that this is likely to reflect the bureaucratic foundations of innovation policy and the difficulties associated with changing processes and ways of managing them that have become locked in to the organizational system. The design of policy instruments to deliver innovation, such as the CRC Program, should be informed by a detailed understanding of the dynamics that are mediating between policy objectives and outcomes over time. Dynamics such as the impact of bureaucratic constraints on the flexibility of policy processes and the participants engaged in them. In the absence of this sort of understanding, dynamics that critically affect the capacity of policy instruments to deliver innovation are likely to go unidentified and left to run their own course to an unpredictable and potentially counterproductive end. While the idea of policy as a complex organizational system is well known, there remains a substantive gap in knowledge as to how thinking about policy in this way might be applied to generate practical options for improving organizational design. The analytical approach described in this paper addresses this gap in knowledge. In the absence of such approaches, the effectiveness of policy instruments such as the CRC Program, which are intended to foster innovation, will continue to be limited by deficiencies in organizational design.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 17(5), p. 411-423
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: London, United Kingdom
ISSN: 1389-224X
Field of Research (FOR): 150312 Organisational Planning and Management
150307 Innovation and Technology Management
160511 Research, Science and Technology Policy
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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