Knowledge Diffusion and Innovation

Knowledge Diffusion and Innovation

Modelling Complex Entrepreneurial Behaviours

Piergiuseppe Morone and Richard Taylor

Modern economies are described as ‘knowledge based’. This book investigates the meaning of such a statement, assessing the relevance of knowledge and the channels through which knowledge is exchanged, both from a theoretical and an empirical perspective.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Piergiuseppe Morone and Richard Taylor

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

Extract

WHY A BOOK ON KNOWLEDGE DIFFUSION AND INNOVATION? Economists, scientists, policy-makers and, more and more often, common people refer to modern economies as knowledge-based because of the growing relevance knowledge is acquiring in everyday life. Indeed, institutions, firms and individuals progressively rely on knowledge as a key component for individual and collective growth. This calls for a clear understanding of knowledge and its sharing patterns. While attempting to define knowledge and investigating the complex process which determines its sharing patterns, we agree with Grant’s (1996) concern that these are long-standing questions which have intrigued some of the world’s greatest thinkers from Plato to Popper without the emergence of a clear consensus. Hence, in this book the focus of the investigation is restricted to the type of knowledge used by firms in the production process and, more importantly, in innovative activities. A firm’s ability to innovate depends largely upon its ability to capture and nurture human intellectual capital effectively. One important part of this process is research and development (R&D), which represents a fundamental activity for creating new knowledge for production and innovation. However, the simultaneous ongoing processes of knowledge deepening and knowledge widening – which leads to a general expansion of the range of available technologies, as well as to a growing specialization of competencies – calls for new, interactive patterns of learning. Individual learning activities – as they are conceived in an R&D laboratory – are no longer sufficient to put together all the required knowledge it takes to be competitive....