Technology, Knowledge and the Firm

Technology, Knowledge and the Firm

Implications for Strategy and Industrial Change

Edited by Ken Green, Marcela Miozzo and Paul Dewick

There is a long-standing tradition of research that highlights the importance of differences in the organizational and technological capabilities of firms and their effect on economic performance. This book expands on this theme by exploring the role of knowledge and innovation in firm strategy and industrial change. Underlying the volume is the belief that firms have distinctive methods of operation and that these processes have a strong element of continuity.

Chapter 1: Craft and Code: Intensification of Innovation and Management of Knowledge

Mark Dodgson, David M. Gann and Ammon Salter

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, organisational innovation, innovation and technology, innovation policy, knowledge management, organisational innovation


1. Craft and code: intensification of innovation and management of knowledge Mark Dodgson, David M. Gann and Ammon Salter 1. INTRODUCTION The recent application of a range of new technologies used in simulation and virtual modelling techniques in design and prototyping activities has had significant implications for the innovation process (Dodgson et al., 2002; Schrage, 2000; Thomke, 2001). The use of these new tools, and the means by which these are integrated with other productive technologies in manufacturing and operations, have resulted in what we call the intensification of the innovation process, producing economies of effort and greater definiteness of aim in innovation. In order to solve their design problems, engineers draw upon a vast body of knowledge about how things work (Vincenti, 1990). Even seemingly simple design requirements often have complex intellectual implications drawing upon routine knowledge used in ‘normal’ design coupled with the largely unknown experimentation carried out in ‘radical’ design activities. In this chapter we explore the implications of the new electronic toolkit for innovation, based upon the ways in which designers and engineers work in design, development, testing, production and coordination. We argue that detailed design relies upon tools that automate routines in stable areas of engineering. But we also contend that added value in design and development processes comes from creative and schematic work where designers produce radical solutions that are beyond the calculations embedded in routinized software programmes. They do this through ‘conversations’ and the use of ‘visual cues’,...

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