The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is launching a project to support Lithuania’s effort to increase the effectiveness of Lithuania‘s innovation policy and system. The project is funded by the Structural Reform Support Programme of the European Union and implemented by the OECD in cooperation with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support. The project is aimed at fostering consensus among the participants of the country’s innovation system and provide recommendations for improvement of the innovation system and public policy, better implementation of existing measures, initiation of new necessary measures and more effective change management.

According to the Government Strategic Analysis Center (STRATA) director Giedrius Viliūnas, the main problem that is to be solved during the implementation of the project is the limited use of the results of the science and innovation system on the Lithuania’s economic growth, efficiency of public administration and on other aspects of public life. “Both we and other experts who have performed several evaluations of the country’s innovation system note that Lithuania‘s innovation system is fragmented, it lacks a strategic approach and coordination both within the system itself and with other areas of the economy. The consequences of this are: lower economic productivity, prolonged solution of the country’s social and economic challenges,” says G. Viliūnas.

Effective policy and a well-functioning innovation system are a prerequisite in the situation of a rapidly changing economy. As new knowledge and innovations become more and more important in the transformation of the economy, the speed and efficiency of their application determines the country’s competitive advantage.

The project includes two main activities. As part of the first activity, OECD innovation policy experts will identify implementation gaps based on an assessment of the policy actions undertaken in response to the recommendations of the 2016 OECD Review of Lithuania’s Innovation Policy. It will identify progress made in Lithuania‘s innovation policy and system, key remaining obstacles and, for some key policy areas, assess options, design and implementation of policy instruments. The second activity will focus on three new approaches and policy options that have gained much in importance – the wider application of innovative public procurement, the transition to Industry 4.0 and the industrial use of artificial intelligence, and, finally, innovation policy focused on country’s specific economic and social challenges (missions). These increasingly relevant topics of public administration make new knowledge and innovation inseparable from economic and social change in society. Therefore, the project will explore the possibilities, perspectives in these areas and, depending on the country’s context, propose application solutions based on international good practice.

“We hope that after implementing the recommendations created during the project and discovering the consensus among the participants of the system, the impact of innovations will become more noticeable and will have a greater impact on the social and economic development of the country. In the long term, this could lead to a better economic situation in the country and increase the quality of life,” says G. Viliūnas.

The project will be implemented in cooperation with the Office of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, the Government Strategic Analysis Center (STRATA), the Ministries of Economy and Innovation and Education, Science and Sports. Throughout the implementation of the project, a wide network of participants of the innovation system will be mobilized and consensus and commitment will be sought on the directions for the improvement of innovation policy.