There is no correlation between TIMMS and PISA test scores and economic growth

Policy makers in the West often believe that the test scores of pupils and students in TIMMS and PISA says something about future wealth creation.

New research shows that for the rich, industrialized countries there is no correlation between these tests scores on the one hand and innovation and economic growth on the other.

I would argue that these policy makers mix the terms knowledge and competence. Many of the “best” students know the facts needed to score well on TIMMS tests. They have the factual knowledge. Competence on the other hand is the ability to do something in a useful and relevant manner.

Companies need people who have the ability to learn and adapt to a changing environment. Knowing how to score well on tests in school is a different skill altogether.

Moreover, from the discussion of the Nordic Model and Nordic economic success, we see that there are other framework conditions that contribute to innovation and wealth creation, such as a stable socio-economic environment, trust in public institutions and social welfare.

I have written a blog post on this topic for Innovation Norway’s innovation policy blog.

The blog post is in Norwegian, but the New Scientist article I refer to can be found here.

New blog on international governance of science, technology and innovation for global challenges

I have had the pleasure and honor of being chair of OECD’s steering group on the governance of science, technology and innovation for global challenges — STIG for short.

The project combined the skills of social researchers with the knowledge of savvy policy makers from many countries, including — among others — Germany, Austria, Korea, China, France, the UK, South Africa and Norway. The Germans initiated the project, which was also given strong support from the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.

The project delivered its report this summer and recently the OECD also published a popular policy brief describing the findings and the recommendations.

Many policy makers and experts associated with STIG would now like to make the project more visible. Others have started planning more work in the area. In order to keep track of this work I have today set up a new blog called Beyond STIG. Visit the blog to read more about STIG, find links to the policy brief and the report and much more.

New web home for NIFU/STEP projects: GoodNIP, PUBLIN and more

When I worked at the STEP institute, later to be known as NIFU STEP, I
was part in setting up web sites for various research projects on
research and innovation.

NIFU STEP has now been renamed NIFU, The Nordic Institute for Studies
in Innovation, Research and Education.

During this change, the old projects have gotten new URLs:

Here are the ones I took part in:

FOTON
Foreign takeovers - competence gain or competence drain (FOTON, for
Foreign Takeovers in the Nordic countries), a project under the Nordic
Innovation Centre’s Forum for Innovation Policies.

GOODNIP
The main objective of Good Practices in Nordic Innovation Policies was
to develop a survey and an analysis of Nordic innovation policy
instruments that directly or indirectly are targeting small and medium
sized enterprises.

PUBLIN
The EU project Publin aimed to study policy learning and technical and
administrative innovation in the public sector, and to get a better
understanding of behavioural changes, learning processes and the
implementation of new or improved technologies in public
organisations.

Originally posted on April 20 2011

On policy learning and innovation in STI governance

Originally posted on April 12 2011.

Innovation policy is normally about innovation in industry. Lately the policy field has expanded to include the public and civil sectors. But what about the innovation policy makers themselves? Do they innovate.

In this Powerpoint presentation, which was originally prepared for the science polcy Gordon Conference in 2010, I look at how policy learning must be seen as part of a larger arena consisting of policy makers, researchers, stakeholders and politicians.

Much of this thinking is based on research done in STEP/NIFU STEP and the EU 5th Framework Programme Project PUBLIN, as well as on my own experience as a civil servant and research and innovation policy maker.