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 8: Final Remarks and Future Research

Piergiuseppe Morone and Richard Taylor

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


WRAPPING UP IDEAS In modern societies knowledge is rightly considered a key resource in promoting innovation and economic development. As was emphatically stated in a World Bank report a decade ago: ‘Knowledge is like light. Weightless and intangible, it can easily travel the world, enlightening the lives of people everywhere’ (World Bank 1999, p. 1). However, knowledge sharing is not as simple and straightforward as it would seem at first sight. This is because valuable knowledge is hard to codify and, therefore, requires experience, personal contacts and direct interactions in order to be shared. The classic distinction between tacit and codified knowledge is, in fact, a major issue in understanding knowledge diffusion patterns. If tacit knowledge corresponds to the portion of knowledge that each person possesses but cannot tell,1 then transferring it represents a problem. The magnitude of this problem depends crucially on two issues: first, how relevant tacit knowledge is for innovation (as opposed to codified knowledge) and, second, whether it is possible to improve the codifiability of tacit knowledge. Both issues have attracted the attention of researchers without the emergence of a clear consensus. However, there is agreement on the idea that tacit and codified knowledge flow in rather different ways. This calls for a deeper understanding of knowledge structure when discussing diffusion processes. Another problem associated with knowledge sharing arises from the growing specialization that technical knowledge has undergone over the last 200 years and, even more markedly, over the last quarter of a century. As...

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