The overcoming of policy models that could be applied indiscriminately in different places and countries brings the challenge of adopting new policy frameworks capable to deal with the opportunities of different territories - especially those less developed, recognizing their diversity and specificities.

The Local Innovative and Productive Systems - LIPS methodological framework is based on the conceptual approach of National Innovation Systems. It was developed in the 1990’s by RedeSist and nowadays is broadly used by governmental and private institutions in Brazil. LIPS framework represents an analytical and normative instrument that is used to characterize and foster local development emphasizing learning and capacity-building. It departs from the understanding that knowledge is the result of interactive learning processes which are context specific and localized. Consequently, the territory is an active element in development process given the importance of its embedment and attributes regarding the historical, cultural, social, economic and political environments. In that sense, the policy requirements differ according to geography leading to the need of qualifying production and innovation policies giving priority to territory development. 

According to RedeSist (2007) definition, LIPS are primarily a frame of reference from which one seeks to understand the processes of generation, dissemination and use of knowledge as well as the productive and innovative dynamics. Such an approach offers a new instrumental to understand and guide the industrial and technological development. The production and innovation are understood as systemic processes that result from the interactions of different actors and skills. Such a systemic view includes actors and productive and innovative activities:

i)  with different dynamics and trajectories, from the most knowledge-intensive to those using traditional or indigenous knowledge;

ii)  of different sizes and functions, originating in the primary, secondary and tertiary and operating locally, nationally or internationally. 

This approach allows understanding the environment in which the learning processes take place. Covering micro, meso and macro elements influencing the evolution of local systems, the methodology focuses mainly on the analysis of how productive and innovative capabilities of selected systems are acquired and developed. This includes the investigation of how knowledge (including tacit) is assimilated and used by firms and diffused within the systems; the form and level of interactions among actors, the competence structure of the system; as well as policies and other incentives more appropriate for mobilizing and developing these capabilities.

 This methodological approach is particularly useful to capture the specificities of innovation processes in less developed countries where a significant amount of innovative activities take place in informal settings. Understanding the dynamic interactions among different actors – formal and informal, public and private, large and small scale -, and the learning processes that take place among them is crucial to improve the effectiveness of STI policies in less developed contexts.  

Therefore the LIPS framework was selected as the main methodological input for carrying out the case studies planned in the scope of the RISSI Project. LIPS framework will be discussed, refined and adapted during the workshop in South Africa planned to March 2012. The idea is to share and adapt the LIPS framework in the light of BASIC+ countries experiences and contexts. In addition, LIPs methodology for field research will be reformatted to the focus on local innovation systems characterized by high levels of informality and weak linkages with the formal institutionality of the BASIC+ national innovation systems.

For more details see Conceptual and methodological framework