Knowledge Creation and Innovation in Medium-technology Clusters
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Chapter 5: The Approach of Knowledge Networks in Innovation Policy with Staszek Walukiewicz
5. The approach of knowledge networks in innovation policy Riccardo Cappellin and Rüdiger Wink with Staszek Walukiewicz* 5.1 CLUSTER POLICY IN THE EUROPEAN UNION The transition to the model of the knowledge economy implies a distinct change in the industrial development strategies and in the approach to innovation policies, focusing more on knowledge creation than on technology diffusion, more on networks with respect to individual firms and also more on a European perspective in innovation policies for mediumtechnology sectors. The internationalization of markets and production processes indicates that innovation and new knowledge are the key factors of international competitiveness for European firms and regions. In fact, in the long term, the real factors of international competitiveness are neither taxes and corporate profits nor labour flexibility and labour costs, but rather productivity changes, innovation capabilities, knowledge and know-how. Innovation is not only the key factor in competitiveness and success of the existing firms, but also the factor explaining the survival or crisis of firms or the factor leading to the creation of new firms. There are different factors of innovation, such as finance and entrepreneurship capabilities, but the role of knowledge, technological and organizational capabilities and know-how is becoming crucial. However, knowledge and innovation lead not only to economic and employment growth, but also to international division of labour, agglomeration and exclusion phenomena. In fact, the major factor of growth disparities between countries is the gap in technology and knowledge. Thus, regional industrial and innovation policies should aim for a...
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