Knowledge Flows in National Systems of Innovation

Knowledge Flows in National Systems of Innovation

A Comparative Analysis of Sociotechnical Constituencies in Europe and Latin America

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Edited by Roberto López-Martínez and Andrea Piccaluga

The search for the key to economic growth has proved elusive and contentious. This book uses new empirical evidence to propose an integrated approach for achieving strong industrial and technological capabilities to form the basis for regional and national economic development.

Chapter 1: Introduction: the meso-foundations of national innovation systems

Roberto E. López-Martínez and Andrea Piccaluga

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy


Roberto E. López-Martínez and Andrea Piccaluga 1.1 Today, a high level of consensus exists regarding the importance of scientific progress and technological innovation for the growth and competitiveness of firms and for the improvement of national economic performance. Indeed, since the early 1970s the economics and management literature has paid special attention to two essential aspects of this phenomenon. The first concerns the formulation and revision of synchronic and diachronic models1 in an effort to identify and explain the constitutive elements as well as the dynamics of technological change. The second concerns the identification and analysis of the macro- and micro-level factors influencing and conditioning the innovative performance of firms. Among these, the systemic approach to innovation has emerged during the 1990s as a particularly useful conceptual framework to understand the determinants and consequences of innovation in a useful way (Edquist 1997). The research works presented in this book deal with the analysis of various patterns of developing and using technology capabilities – encompassing the process of innovation in different national and sectoral contexts in Latin America and Europe. The first distinctive feature is that they explore the relationship between micro- and macro-level processes on a comparative basis, through the analysis of fairly heterogeneous cases. The commonalities lie in the level of observation. At the micro level, technology transfer, implementation and diffusion are considered as organizationally complex processes of knowledge flows and transformations, which pose crucial challenges in terms of the management of expertise (Fleck 1983)...