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Innovation Space and the Cumulative Nature of Technological Progress: A Case Study of Singapore

Innovation Space and the Cumulative Nature of Technological Progress: A Case Study of Singapore

Knowledge of their existing technological strengths and the adjacent technological areas that can leverage these strengths is important for economies seeking to upgrade their innovation capabilities. To enhance understanding in this area, we create a diagnostic tool called the “Innovation Space” to (i) analyse the technological capabilities of economies over time, (ii) benchmark the technological capabilities of economies against one another, (iii) assess economies’ ability to build new technological capabilities based on their existing technological strengths, and (iv) identify opportunities for innovation collaborations between countries.

In Singapore’s case, we find that its areas of innovation through the years have complemented its economic needs and productive capabilities. Reflecting its progress in developing technological capabilities, Singapore has seen healthy growth in its patenting activity and forged stronger international innovation collaborations over the past decade. Its patents also generally have higher technological influence and are advancing from more recent technology.

Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise plans and Industry Transformation Maps play important roles in deepening the linkages in its innovation ecosystem, strengthening the research-industry nexus, and growing its indigenous innovation capabilities. In the area of intellectual property (IP), Singapore’s continued investments in patent analytics and tech forecasting capabilities will help to sharpen national research and development (R&D) and innovation decisions. The strengthening of IP management capabilities will also facilitate the translation of public-funded R&D into economic and societal outcomes. Such efforts will build on Singapore’s existing competitive strengths and help to drive its progress towards a knowledge-based, innovation-driven and value-creating economy.

The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), National Research Foundation (NRF), Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) or the Government of Singapore.

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