Platforms of Innovation

Platforms of Innovation

Dynamics of New Industrial Knowledge Flows

Edited by Philip Cooke, Carla De Laurentis, Stewart MacNeill and Chris Collinge

This ground-breaking book offers a coherent theoretical analysis of contemporary industrial knowledge flow dynamics. Furthermore, it advances wide-ranging and varied empirical findings from international comparative research which demonstrate that knowledge cross-pollination, often from industrially unrelated business sectors, is now commonplace in the economics of innovation. This, the authors argue, represents the rise of an externalized ‘matrix’ of knowledge flow dynamics among firms and industries. The book also examines related economic governance research that reveals the catalytic role that leading innovation policy agencies play in animating knowledge flow dynamics, particularly at the regional level. The chapters address various sectors including food and drink, biotechnology, ICT, new media, the automotive industry and tourism.

Chapter 11: Platforms of Innovation: Some Examples

Philip Cooke and Carla De Laurentis

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, industrial economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Philip Cooke and Carla De Laurentis INTRODUCTION 11.1 We have seen from the preceding finely textured case material from key European industrial sectors that there are two main kinds of innovationlinked knowledge flows typically in operation. The first and more traditional of these is broadly intrasectoral, which we here term ‘cumulative’, while the second is newer and accordingly more interesting, which we here term ‘combinatory’. Cumulative knowledge acquisition and application occurs within either lead-firms or their sectoral system. The term ‘system’ denotes repeated historic interactive relations with, for example, preferred suppliers. Thus even though it is well known that a complex sector such as automotives habitually procures from other sectors such as rubber or glass, such suppliers are likely to exist in a systemic relationship over time with their prime customer(s). Hence, knowledge flows are cumulative and systemic; we are obviously alluding to something akin to that described by Breschi and Malerba (1997) as a ‘sectoral innovation system’. The more recently observed combinatory knowledge flows that are engaged in with respect to innovative interactions are extrasectoral, non-systemic and often involve combinations of distinctive, possibly unexpected interactions. These may, for reasons to be discussed, have elements of a more regional innovation system character. For introductory purposes it is helpful to reflect upon the strong and necessary new knowledge flow networks occasioned in the automotive and agricultural industries by the rise of the twin forces of heightened oil prices on the one hand, and widespread intergovernmental concerns about the contribution that...

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