Futuribles Journal n° 255

Entreprises, travail - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Entre recherche et développement... À propos du rapport Guillaume sur la nature du " paradoxe " entre production scientifique et performances économiques

There are frequent criticisms of the fact that in France, scientific achievements are perfectly satisfactory but they have little economic impact, and that the country is remarkable for its inability to translate ideas into actions. Such, for example, was the diagnosis of Henri Guillaume in his report on technology and innovation (La Technologie et l'innovation), which came out in 1998, though the handicap had already been pointed out by OECD in 1978 and again in 1986 in its report on innovation policy in France (Paris: OECD, 384 pp.).
However, Pascal Byé and Robert Magnaval (who died in August 1999) argue here that the relationship between research and development is far more complex than people usually realise, that the causal links cannot be considered as direct and unambiguous, and that in any case scientific research operates within a different time-frame to industrial development, and the conditions are not so simple.
In particular, they show that factors related to the dynamics of organisations and markets affect the application and spread of the results of public research, and even more for private research. And, rather than endlessly criticising the paradox, it would probably be better to treat the process of innovation differently, according to its own logic.

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