Lab for Innovation Science and Policy

Systematically studying the practice of moving ideas from inception to impact

The MIT Lab for Innovation Science and Policy is an Institute-wide laboratory established to help develop the area of ‘innovation science’ — an emerging field that can be thought of as applying the scientific method to the practice of innovation.

Using a diversity of methods, the lab empirically investigates how innovation occurs, and pioneers more systematic assessments of possible interventions (such as policies, programs or incentives) to achieve desired innovation outcomes (such as the creation of innovation-driven enterprises, and in the longer run, job creation, economic and social impact, and a vibrant innovation economy).

The Lab for Innovation Science and Policy aims to become the place that policymakers, senior executives, and entrepreneurial leaders turn for evidence-based guidance on the design of innovation-focused job policies and programs in their organizations, local regions and nations.

Areas of focus

  • Innovation Metrics: The measurement, evaluation, and visualization of metrics for innovation, including those that trace the linkages among key ecosystem stakeholders (e.g. universities, corporations, government, entrepreneurs and risk capital providers).
  • Innovation Policies: Exploration of the impact of policies (e.g. taxation of early-stage investment, visa policies for entrepreneurs, intellectual property rules, broader legal frameworks for startups) on innovation-driven entrepreneurship and ecosystems.
  • Innovation Programs: Exploration of the impact of programs (e.g. accelerators, prizes, entrepreneurship education programs, etc.) on innovation-driven entrepreneurship.
  • Innovation Boundaries: Defining and understanding the factors that enable innovation practitioners to work most effectively across boundaries (e.g. universities with large corporations and with entrepreneurs, including ‘good practice’ on rules and policies for conflict of interest, IP ownership, licensing terms, etc.).
  • Innovation Scale-Up: Working collaboratively to understand the role of manufacturing and production in the innovation process, particularly for capital-intensive innovations, across global supply chains, and how ‘innovation diplomacy’ can help with such global approaches to innovation.

For a list of policy briefings, case studies, and reports published by the Lab for Innovation Science and Policy, visit the Documents Library

To learn more about the lab, contact