"Innovation economics," growing field of research

From a New York Times article on innovation: in economically difficult times, the "innovation imperative" is more urgent than ever. As for what "innovation economics" is, a growing body of research wants to find out.

In universities, interest in 'innovation economics' is surging. And foundations, experts say, could help advance innovation research.

'Innovation itself is a field in need of innovation,' said John Kao, a former professor at the Harvard Business School and an innovation consultant to governments and corporations. 'What we really need is more original thinking about how innovation works in society, and that could come from the philanthropic sector as well as universities.'

Others make grants in the innovation field, but the Kauffman Foundation has made the broadest commitment. Its support and focus in recent years are helping push 'innovation' from being a vague admonition in policy speeches to the basis for a growing discipline of serious research.