Towards a unified conceptualisation of innovation systems
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In this paper an attempt will be made to identify what has been explicitly recognised as central and peripheral within the systems of innovation concept; the inclusion or exclusion of the factors that are important in understanding the political economy of innovation systems; the themes, issues and range of actors and spaces that must be included in NSI types of appreciative theory or modelling. We suspect that those who focus narrowly tend to exclude important variables that must be included in the understanding of the making and development of innovation systems. Conversely those who focus broadly may include factors that may not be helpful in creating clarity of conception and understanding of the innovation systems application to the problems and challenges of development. It is thus important to reflect and review the variety of ways the system of innovation has been used by the economists who have used the NSI perspective in their search to develop alternative frameworks to understand the problems and challenges of economic system dynamics in general and economic development in particular. We will probe how the search for an alternative economic framework for economic development through the NSI perspective have been applied with a view to advance an argument for its judicious application as an intellectual conceptual tool to help understanding and explanation of the problems and challenges of development and underdevelopment. A unified conception of systems of innovation that includes not only history and culture but also the critical political factor that closely impinges and shapes policies on the economics of innovation will be attempted with a view to valorise the explanatory analytical power of the NSI framework in the context of its value in generating new insights, practices and applications to the general problem of economic development.