Framework For Technological Innovation System




December 10, 2021

A technological innovation system explains the rate and quality of technological change. It is a part of the bigger theoretical school, the Innovation system approach. Technological change is the process of invention, innovation, and diffusion of a newly-developed technology or gadget. Knowing and understanding its rate falls under the system of technological innovation.

Analyzing a technological innovation system helps evaluate the structures and processes of a technological field that support and develop it. The central ideology behind this system states that the factors which determine technological change are present in both individual firms and societal structures. Stats suggest that 70% of customers prefer it when companies collaborate on their behalf.

Structure of the Technological Innovation System

A structure is one of the components involved in the innovation system. There are three structures of this system:


The actors in the innovation system are responsible for generating, diffusing, and utilizing different technologies. Actors play the role of developer, adopter, regulator, financier, or another role in the innovation system. Actors may vary from private actors to public actors as they are not bound to work in a specific industry. The interrelations between actors directly affect the development of the innovation system.


Institutes are the rules decided by an authority or a group of actors. Authorities define rules for formal institutions, while a group of actors define rules for informal institutions. Informal institutions have further two categories, normative or cognitive. Normative rules value moral significance, and cognitive rules denote the collective mind frames.

Technological Factors

Features involved in the technological structures, such as artefacts and technological infrastructures, help understand the feedback from a technological and institutional perspective. All types of technological changes and inventions affect the working of institutions and firms, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.

Seven System Functions

The structures discussed above remain stable over time, making them the perfect components in an innovation system. However, these structures do not completely satisfy the latest emerging technologies. In such cases, scholars felt the need for different and better frameworks to fulfil the latest technologies. One such framework is the seven system functions by Hekkert. As the name suggests, it has seven functions explained here:

Entrepreneurial Activities

An entrepreneur is someone who converts knowledge to business opportunities through experiments. This function uses projects like experiments and demonstrations to depict the value of new technology in a commercial environment.

Knowledge Development

This function focuses on learning activities regarding the new technology. Some of the types of learning activities are learning-by-doing and learning-by-searching.

Knowledge Diffusion

The network works on the exchanging of knowledge among all the actors. This exchange can happen through collaborations, partnerships, meetings, conferences, and workshops. The spread of the new technology ensures its usage and popularity.

Search Guidance

Actors support the new technology, and the search guidance function depicts the activities that construct the requirements and expectations of the actors involved so that they continue supporting the technology. This function can be positive or negative, depending on the actors.

Market Formation

The market formation function ensures that there is a demand for the new technology so that it does not disappear in the crowd of existing competing technologies.

Resource Mobilization

Activities involved in this function help in the development of other technologies, like subsidies and investments for new developments.

Support from Coalitions

To ensure that the actors from other technology groups do not oppose the new technology, this function introduces political lobbies to support it.

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