The Genesis of Innovation

The Genesis of Innovation

Systemic Linkages Between Knowledge and the Market

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Edited by Blandine Laperche, Dimitri Uzunidis and G. N. von Tunzelmann

The genesis and diffusion of innovation depends upon the density of the cognitive and market relationships among individuals, organisations and institutions at both the micro- and macro-economic level. By addressing the nature of these relationships, which include cooperation, competition and power, this book presents an important and progressive enquiry into the economic and social origins of innovation.

Chapter 6: Theory and Practice in Knowledge Transfer: The Emergence of ‘Interface Structures’

Elena Castro-Martínez, Ignacio Fernández-de-Lucio and Jordi Molas-Gallart

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


Elena Castro-Martínez, Ignacio Fernández-deLucio and Jordi Molas-Gallart 1. BACKGROUND: DEFINING AND CHARACTERISING INTERFACE STRUCTURES The development of innovation systems approaches is closely connected with policy practice. Policy agencies in Scandinavian countries played an important role in their early development (Carlsson 2002). Later, the OECD contributed to the development of the approach and its diffusion among academics and policy-makers (Godin 2004). Our chapter is also rooted in practice. Based on the applied experience of existing organisations, we will define and characterise a new type of structure within an innovation system. Innovation systems approaches focus the attention of policy-makers on the existence of situations where the relationships between different actors in the system are weak, and where divergent cultural traits and organisational practices pose a barrier to the collaboration and coordination among different actors in a system (Polt et al. 2001). There has been abundant research studying these relationships, especially in areas like university– industry linkages where cultural differences and other barriers have hampered a fluid relationship between the universities and their economic environment (Agrawal 2001; Carlsson et al. 2002; Carayol 2003). This literature is often normative, proposing policy instruments to overcome barriers and strengthen the interconnectedness of the system. Yet it usually takes as its subject the problems emerging in countries where there is both an advanced research and industrial infrastructure. Here cultural differences, managerial difficulties, and divergent interests, all pose barriers to technology transfer and other forms of relationship, but there...

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