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Kai Jakobs

This chapter discusses how companies may use the management of their information and communication technology (ICT) standardization activities to improve competitiveness and innovativeness. Case studies are presented to show different approaches to standardization management adopted by different types of companies in different parts of the ICT sector. The cases illustrate the variety of approaches to standards and standardization that firms and organizations might adopt, relative to several essential factors as drawn from the literature on both standards and innovation. This shows how different strategies emerge depending upon the relative importance of various strategic and tactical factors in participating firms. The chapter concludes by illustrating the variety of approaches to standards and standardization that managers in firms and organizations might adopt.

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Knut Blind

This chapter reviews the role of standards in creating new knowledge and applying it to products and services. Participation in standards development can add significantly to the knowledge base of innovating firms, but standards can also generate negative effects. How they are developed has a significant effect on their outcomes in terms of stimulating or retarding innovation. Questions of the legitimacy of standards and the role of institutions and rules in reflecting a legitimate consensus of affected stakeholders are also critical is this regard. The chapter explores such fundamentals in terms of their economic implications for several of the key activities and practices associated with innovation, for example research and development, public procurement, intellectual property rights, technology transfer and the creation of market demand.

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Edited by Richard Hawkins, Knut Blind and Robert Page

Innovation and standardization might seem polar opposites, but over many years various scholars have noted close connections between the two. This Handbook assembles a broad range of thinking on this subject, with contributions from several disciplinary perspectives by over 30 leading scholars and experienced practitioners. Collectively, they summarize and synthesize the existing body of knowledge – theory and evidence – pertaining to standards and innovation, and provide insights into how this knowledge can be useful to scholars, industrial strategists, policy-makers and standards practitioners.
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Henk J. de Vries and Paul Moritz Wiegmann

Most studies of the impact of standardization on innovation focus on manufacturing sectors for which they often report positive impacts. However, in many countries services represent more than 50 per cent of gross domestic product, and while the number of standards for services is small, it is increasing. This chapter addresses service standardization and its impacts on innovation. First, it presents a model that allows to study service standardization and innovation in a systematic way. Next, the authors develop a conceptual model of the impact of service standards and involvement in service standardization committees on service innovation at the level of individual organizations as well as at market level. Testing this model in an empirical case, they show a positive impact of a standard at both levels, which seems to be enhanced by participation in standards setting. However, this is just one case and many categories of service standards and of service innovation apply, so more research is needed; the chapter ends with suggested directions for future research.

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Richard Hawkins and Knut Blind

This introduction explores the conceptual background and definitions that pertain to understanding standards and standardization in the context of innovation. A general overview is provided of the themes explored in the chapters that follow.

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Robert Page

This chapter discusses the history and current development challenges of ISO 14000, one of the largest and currently most high-profile international standards frameworks. Climate change is certainly among the most pressing international social and political issues. One of the major problems in obtaining consensus on how to control or reduce it centers on how industry can manage, measure and monitor progress in meeting national and international environmental targets. The ISO 14000 framework of environmental management standards is an ongoing global effort to facilitate this objective. The chapter shows that although the ISO 14000 framework is an innovation in itself in terms of environmental management, the constant challenge is to ensure that the goals of environmental mitigation though standards also support efforts to innovate more broadly in environmental technologies and practices throughout the industrial spectrum.

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Christian Frankel and Jean-Pierre Galland

In the perspective of political governance, technical standardization is often seen as offering a practical compromise between political regulation and innovation in the market. On one hand, legal regulation is a precondition for markets as regulation provides market actors with relatively stable and calculable conditions. On the other hand, regulation may become a barrier to innovation in the market. A closer look at the history of technical standardization in the European Union (EU) Single Market framework shows that European governance in recent decades has invented modes of regulation that are intended specifically to use technical standardization to spur innovation. This chapter traces this development in policy documents from the EU and from the European technical standardization organizations. The authors conclude that the contradiction of between regulation and innovation has not been removed. Instead, they find a future-orientation of governance that to some degree contradicts the normative function of legal regulation, and they find indications that sometimes the general legal requirements become abstract to a degree that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to tell whether they have been fulfilled or not.

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Michael King, Ray Lambert and Paul Temple

This chapter examines productivity spillovers, defined mostly in terms of learning effects. The authors note that voluntary consensus standards constitute a venue for such spillovers in that they produce a body of codified knowledge which empirical studies have indicated has a close relationship to productivity growth at the level of national economies. However, the mechanisms of this relationship remain less well understood. In addressing this problem, the authors focus on metrology, the most basic and ubiquitous of all standards frameworks. The authors show how the integration of measurement infrastructures into standards can generate productivity growth. Thus, they suggest that the measurement infrastructure is an important subsystem that could indicate empirically many of the relationships between knowledge spillovers and innovation.

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W. Edward Steinmueller

This chapter explores the historical origins and contemporary relevance of ‘platforms’, a term which has evolved from the study of large technical systems and networking. The coordination problems inherent in such systems were central in elevating the study of standards from examination of specific cases in specific manufacturing industries, to more general concerns about compatibility and interoperability of components in highly sophisticated and decentralization technological constructs. This leads to a discussion of the problem of history; specifically, the question of why some standards persist and evolve over long periods of time, whereas others do not. Here it is noted that the political dimensions of standardization assume a central role in defining and controlling the division of labour and in meeting the needs of dominant proprietors to gain control over the development of complex technological systems.

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Claire Stolwijk, Matthijs Punter and Carlos Montalvo

This chapter presents a specific case of industrial development around the concept of “Smart Industry” being championed by several national and regional authorities in Europe. Smart Industry is basically a strategy to link automation and new manufacturing technologies to the exchange of data. It presents an interesting context for consideration of the effects of standards on industrial growth and development. Owing to the fluid nature of the initiative, the authors speculate that both formal and informal standardization will likely play an important role in the success of these initiatives. The case illustrates many of the key issues that pertain to the need to ensure the interoperability of many components through standards, while at the same time allowing for product differentiation within this complex of technologies.