Table of Contents

Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion

Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion

Edited by Paul L. Robertson and David Jacobson

This important book is about the origins and diffusion of innovation, in theory and in practice. The practice draws on a variety of industries, from electronics to eyewear, from furniture to mechatronics, in a range of economies including Europe, the USA and China.

Chapter 1: Knowledge Transfer and Technology Diffusion: An Introduction

Paul L. Robertson and David Jacobson

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


Paul L. Robertson and David Jacobson DIFFUSION AND DEVELOPMENT 1. For present purposes, diffusion can be defined as the spread of knowledge from an original source or sources to one or more recipients. From an economic standpoint, the efficient diffusion of knowledge on new technologies is an essential characteristic of growth and development. In itself, new knowledge has no economic value until it has been used productively – the more widely a particular bit of knowledge can be used, the greater its value becomes (Robertson and Patel, 2007). This is, of course, hardly a secret. Diffusion, along with innovation and implementation, is one of the three building blocks of the influential Linear Model of Innovation (Godin, 2006), but it remains a nebulous field in many respects despite a vast literature on various aspects. The problem is not conceptual so much as practical because, while diffusion is easy to define, it is often difficult to accomplish. As a result, knowledge that might be broadly useful tends to be restricted to narrow areas for unnecessarily long periods of time, retarding economic performance.1 Although the Linear Model of Innovation has been discredited in many respects (Kline and Rosenberg, 1986), its basic building blocks of innovation, diffusion and production or implementation remain central to technology studies. Nevertheless, much as was true in the early postWorld War II period when the model was originally developed (Godin, 2006), the general thrust of conceptualization and empirical research remains heavily focused on the innovation stage, without much attention given...