The main argument of this work is that innovation flourishes and emerges in a creative environment where the actors interact freely, to the extent that this environment is a complex adaptive system. Public or institutional policies, trying to induce innovation, must be careful to not stifle or interrupt the emergence of novelties in the path from creation and conception to market involvement. Our proposed model argues that innovation emerges wherever evolution, learning, mutation, and competition between individuals and firms are permitted, without restrictions or pre-defined paths to the market. We describe two cases of innovation by way of example: the first case shows how several—and sometimes anonymous—elements interact and compete in a typical environment of innovation, while the second case shows how continuous policies to foment innovation may create results to the contrary. In addition, we show technology clusters as cases where the emergence of innovation can be fostered by policies that observe the complex adaptive system characteristics.
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