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Innovation Policy Outlook (IPO)

What is an IPO?

The UNECE Sub-regional Innovation Policy Outlook (IPO) is an ongoing project that assesses the scope and quality of innovation policies, institutions, and processes across up to six countries in the region. The IPO’s ultimate goal is to improve innovation policies, institutions and processes, and enhance their productivity and competitiveness while serving to enlarge the evidence base for mutual policy learning.

The IPO was already successfully conducted in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine), with the ongoing requests from participating member States to follow up on its recommendations with capacity building and national Innovation for Sustainable Development Reviews (I4SDR). The IPO methodology may also be used in other sub-regions, such as countries in Central Asia and the Western Balkans.

Learn more about the IPO in this flyer.


IPO Methodology

The Sub-regional IPO is composed of 50 indicators structured around three pillars: Innovation Governance, Innovation Policy Tools, and The Innovation Policy Process. These three pillars combined capture not so much input and output measures for innovation policy, but rather central mechanisms that translate inputs to outputs, such as institutional capacities and policy design:

  • Innovation Governance: assesses the overarching strategic, institutional, and legal framework for innovation policy, as well as the competences of and co-ordination among government bodies involved in innovation policy.
  • Policy Tools to Foster and Support Innovation: takes stock of policy tools that are put in place to support innovation demand and supply. The pillar does not merely examine the scale and scope of these policy tools, but also their quality and implementation status.
  • The Innovation Policy Process: examines the underlying process for innovation policy. It looks at the details and the evidence of data-driven consequences in decision-making and subsequent policy design. It follows the policy-making path from its outset (agenda-setting and rationale) through policy design, implementation, evaluation and learning.


The indicators are further transposed into questionnaires, containing multiple questions per indicator. These questionnaires are filled out in the self-assessment form by government bodies coordinated by a National Government Focal Point in each country; in parallel, they are also filled out by the UNECE with the support of independent, local experts. Ultimately, the filled-out questionnaires form the assessment basis of the Subregional IPO, driving the findings behind the countries’ performance and enabling cross-country comparisons.


Upcoming publications

Second full-fledged Innovation Policy Outlook (2024-2025)

UNECE intends to develop the second full-fledged IPO in 2024, allowing EESC countries to evaluate and monitor their progress since the first IPO iteration in 2020, learning from what worked and what did not, in order to set priorities for future strategies and initiatives.


Latest publications

Interim Sub-regional Innovation Policy Outlook for Eastern Europe and South Caucasus (2022)
IIPO thumbnail

To complement the analysis from UNECE’s first full-fledged Sub-regional Innovation Policy Outlook (IPO) assessment for the EESC in 2020, this Interim IPO (IIPO) provides an update on sub-regional developments and outlines actionable policy recommendations based on national and sub-regional priorities indicated by the participating countries. It takes a deep dive into two topics that partner Governments identified as central to sustainable development in the EESC: strengthening relationships and knowledge linkages between science and businesses for innovation-led growth as well as improving the use of innovation-enhancing procurement to create demand for and incentivize innovation for sustainable development.


Summary - Sub-Regional Innovation Policy Outlook for Eastern Europe and South Caucasus (2020)
IPO publication

This booklet summarizes key insights and recommendations from the Innovation Policy Outlook (IPO) 2020 across 17 pages. It is also available in Russian here.


Sub-Regional Innovation Policy Outlook for Eastern Europe and South Caucasus (2020)
IPO publication

The Innovation Policy Outlook (IPO) 2020 is a new UNECE flagship publication, which supports innovation policy reform efforts in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) by assessing and benchmarking the scope, quality, and effectiveness of innovation policies, institutions and processes, and by providing actionable policy recommendations and good practice case studies. The IPO complements international composite indices, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Index and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, by looking more closely at the role that policies and institutions play in promoting innovation and by focusing on a group of countries with shared economic, structural, legacy and institutional features. The results can inform policy dialogue, reform processes, joint initiatives, donor-funded programming, investment and support the transition to a circular economy.