In 2003 the Norwegian government launched an action plan for a comprehensive innovation policy. Although Norway has had a satisfactory economic development, there is still room for improvement in the innovative area. The process of developing a comprehensive innovation policy was initiated after various pressures. Today, however, there is little activity in this political area. Following, the action plan can be considered a failure when it comes to initiating coherent, coordinated and horizontal innovation policies. This paper will discuss the various factors that might have contributed to this failure. These are knowledge and a common understanding of innovation policy, path dependencies, inertia and coalitions within government, government instruments for policy learning and political leadership. It further emphasizes that lack of anchoring of the plan can explain the failure of the Norwegian action plan for a comprehensive innovation policy.
Key words: Innovation policy, knowledge, policy learning, path dependency, inertia, coalitions and political leadership