Deepen administrative system reform and promote independent innovation and building an innovative country
To build an innovative country, systemic and mechanical innovation are key. North thinks that it is not technology but systems that play a decisive role in economic growth. To realize technological innovation, we must first make institutional innovations, which is the basis for institutions and mechanical innovation. Only through rational and effective institutional arrangements can we obtain long-lasting incentives and protection for innovation activities, and find effective institutional paths for the transformation and application of scientific and technological achievements. After the government has promoted the modernization of China, it has a decisive influence on the reform and innovation of the system, which in turn depends to a large extent on its own reform and improvement. Therefore, the construction of an innovative country should start with the reform of the government’s own administrative system, gradually eliminating some of the institutional obstacles in the field of public administration and establishing a management system and operational mechanism conducive to the transformation of the growth mode and the effective promotion of independent innovation.
Orientation of government function in building innovative country
The construction of national innovation system and capability requires that the government’s administration and related systems be adjusted and optimized first. General Secretary Hu Jintao pointed out, in the report to the Seventeenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, that
We will deepen reform of the system for managing science and technology, optimize the allocation of relevant resources, and improve the legal guarantee, policy system, incentive mechanism and market conditions to encourage technological innovation and the application of scientific and technological achievements in production. We will implement the strategy for intellectual property rights. We will make the best use of international resources of science and technology. We will continue to create conditions conducive to innovation, work to train world-class scientists and leaders in scientific and technological research, attach great importance to training innovative personnel in the frontline of production, inspire the creative wisdom of the whole society and bring forth large numbers of innovative personnel in all areas.
Resources do not automatically lead to the emergence of independent innovation activities. The key is to solve environmental problems, create an ambience conducive to independent innovation by clearing institutional barriers, create conditions for the accumulation of resources, and promote such activities. Therefore, it is inevitably required that the government make adaptive changes so as to bring functions back to the market and mature various factors such as capital, talents, and information.
The construction of an innovative country is an extremely extensive and profound kind of social change that not only sets new demands on government functions but infuses new contents into them. To promote the transformation of these functions, the key is to change from an “all-round” government” and “government control” to “limited and service-oriented” government, and to create a good environment for innovation and development. The government should shift from focusing on direct organizational innovation activities to macro-control, creating favorable conditions and environment, providing public services, and supporting and guiding independent innovation in various ways.
Firstly, we should strengthen strategic planning and policy formulation, and implement necessary and reasonable macro-control and guidance, so as to lead and guide the direction of innovation and development. Primarily by formulating and implementing a national strategic plan. Creating this regulates the time, steps, tasks, and targets of the construction of an innovative country, which will help improve the efficiency of the construction of the national innovation system. Secondly, we should look at drawing up policies and measures to encourage independent innovation. Under market economy, the government must rely on economic and industrial policies, including the formulation of preferential tax policies to encourage enterprises to carry out independent innovation; the implementation of procurement policies to promote it; the improvement of financial support policies; the formulation of industrial policies to promote the transformation of scientific and technological achievements and high-tech industrialization; the improvement of the high-tech industrial development zone policies, etc., so as to form a policy system that leads and encourages independent innovation. Thirdly, implementing network coordination management. Innovation is a complicated system, which includes two major parts: technological and non-technological innovation. The latter includes management and organization innovation, innovation in service, etc. This calls for the establishment and development of an open network that ensures close ties and cooperation among the many sub-systems engaged in the production, diffusion, and application of knowledge to form a harmonious and integrated system. The government must play a macro-control role and even implement necessary administrative coordination to ensure the effective operation of the system.
The second is to develop fundamental education and basic research, cultivate scientific and technological innovation personnel, and provide an innovative public service platform. Talent is the first resource of science and technology innovation, the foundation of which, in turn, is education. It is the government’s duty to develop educational undertakings and cultivate human resources. Under the market economy, private capital lacks incentives for education and personnel training and must rely on the dominant force of the government. At present, China should step up the reform of its education system, in regards, particularly to teaching, etc., and should also improve personnel management as w'ell as evaluation and incentive mechanisms; pay attention to the cultivation of innovative talents; and, in particular, focus on the training of talent and provide a large amount of human resources to build an innovative country. At the same time, China should vigorously strengthen basic research and provide sources. The former is the forerunner of technological invention and is the source of application and development. Generally speaking, since basic theoretical research is large scale and a long-term investment and since it is difficult to achieve economic benefits in the short term, both enterprises and private individuals lack the capability and willingness to invest in it; hence, the task can only be undertaken by the government. This will inevitably require the reform of the national scientific research system and the transformation of scientific research institutes in application and development into enterprises. The governmental scientific research institutes should mainly engage in basic research, cutting-edge high-tech research and social welfare studies. Basic research should also change the research direction and objectives, and focus on economic and social development so as to serve technological innovation and application development.
Thirdly, we should improve the legal environment and the system of intellectual property rights, and promote and protect knowledge innovation. Under the market economy, in addition to supporting and promoting innovation activities through development plans, the government should control and protect innovation by promulgating relatively sound and practicable laws and regulations. An intellectual property system is the basic system for developing and utilizing knowledge resources. It encourages innovation and promotes economic development and social progress by reasonably determining the rights of people for knowledge and other information, adjusting the interest of different people in the process of creating and applying knowledge and information. In today’s world, with the deepening development of knowledge economy and globalization, intellectual property has increasingly become the core element of a country’s strategic resources and international competitiveness. It has become the key to building an innovative country and mastering initiative in development. The international community attaches great importance to intellectual property rights. For example, the U.S. government has successively enacted the Technology Innovation Law, Technology Priority Law, and National Cooperative Research Law, with innovation as the main driving force to promote economic development, and making full use of the intellectual property system to maintain its competitive advantage. After years of development, China’s laws and regulations on intellectual property have been gradually improved as has the level of law enforcement. The ownership of intellectual property rights has been rapidly growing and the benefits of this have become increasingly apparent. The ability of market players to use intellectual property has been incrementally raised. International contacts in this field have been increasing and China has slowly enhanced its international influence. The establishment and implementation of the intellectual property system has standardized market order, stimulated inventions and cultural creations, promoted the opening up and the introduction of knowledge resources, and played an important role in economic and social development. However, as a whole, the system in China is still not perfect. The level and ownership of independent intellectual property rights still cannot meet the needs of economic and social development. The awareness of it in the public is still weak. The capability of market players to use intellectual property is not strong and the phenomenon of infringement is still quite prominent. The abuse of these rights has occurred from time to time. The construction of supporting systems for intellectual property services and of qualified personnel still lags behind. The role of the intellectual property system in promoting economic and social development has not yet been brought into full play. Therefore, it is necessary for the China to strengthen the construction of this system; vigorously enhance the capability to create, use, protect, and manage intellectual property; implement a national strategy for this; and comprehensively improve the system, so as to allow all creative energies to burst forth, innovative talents to fully develop, and innovations to be respected. It has become an inevitable choice concerning the future of the country. We should implement a national strategy of intellectual property and closely integrate it with the strategies of rejuvenation through science and education, strengthening the country by employing qualified personnel, and sustainable development, by encouraging the creation, effective use, and protection of intellectual property according to law and scientific management.
Fourthly, we should create a good environment and atmosphere for innovation, to vigorously develop and carry forward an innovative culture. This includes the scientific spirit of seeking truth, being pragmatic, and tolerant team cooperation; the ideology of respecting academic freedom, democracy, and equality; and the scientific and social ethics and responsibility of scientists and technicians, etc. Silicon Valley is a solid foundation for the national innovation system in the United States. Studies show that its success is a cultural phenomenon. The innovative culture in Silicon Valley that encourages innovation and tolerates failure is a key factor in its success and sets it up as a model for high-tech industry clusters world over. Through this, it can be seen that an innovation and entrepreneurship culture plays an important role in the construction of an innovation system. The development of this culture needs to be mobilized jointly by the scientific, cultural, and educational communities. It also requires the government to actively perform its functions in cultural construction. It should adhere to the principle of “letting all flowers bloom and one hundred schools of thought contend” and should protect the freedoms of thought, expression and press, in accordance with the law to prevent and combat rights trading, money trading, academic misconduct (including plagiarism, data fraud, unstandardized endnotes, etc.), low-level academic repetition, etc., so as to create a good social environment for the main bodies of innovation to maximize their talents. China should enthusiastically promote a spirit of reform, innovation, daring to be pioneers, risk taking, courage in innovation and competition, and celebrating innovation. We should also cultivate a tolerance of failure in the whole community and innovative awareness, and popularize science, so as to form a social fashion of respecting science, advocating innovation, and encouraging citizens to forge ahead.