Organizational Forms and National Institutions
Edited by Marcela Miozzo and Damian Grimshaw
Chapter 3: Outsourcing for Innovation: Systems of Innovation and the Role of Knowledge Intermediaries
Jeremy Howells INTRODUCTION As the phenomenon of outsourcing has continued to expand, its impact is continuing to spread across a wide range of industries in terms of productivity growth, eﬃciency and innovation (Fixler and Siegel 1999; see also Heshmati 2003). This study focuses on the latter aspect, namely the role of outsourcing as it relates to innovative activity, and how this in turn relates to systems of innovation. Various terms have been applied to this activity, namely: ‘research outsourcing’, ‘R&D outsourcing’, ‘research and technology outsourcing’, ‘scientiﬁc and technical knowledge outsourcing’ and ‘innovation outsourcing’. These terms may be divided into two basic forms: those focusing on inputs (knowledge, R&D and technology) that are sourced and those centred on outputs arising from such sourcing activities (innovation). In reality, most studies cover a range of issues associated with what might be termed ‘sourcing for innovation’. There has also been a growing recognition that innovation is not just about speciﬁc R&D and technical requirements, but involves a much wider range of design, engineering and prototyping and testing activities and associated knowledge forms (from traditional forms of scientiﬁc knowledge through to market, ﬁnancial and legal knowledge). This analysis uses the broad and more inclusive term ‘outsourcing for innovation’ to cover all these aspects of innovation outsourcing,1 but also uses more narrow terms, such as research and technology outsourcing in the discussion. This chapter is divided into three main sections. First, the chapter explores outsourcing processes in relation...
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