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Harald Bathelt

This chapter presents evidence that trade fairs play a substantive role in industrial innovation and knowledge generation processes. First, based on interviews conducted at trade fairs, it is illustrated that most exhibitors systematically use these events to present innovations to visitors and acquire information about new products and technologies. Second, findings from an industry survey confirm that trade fairs are consistently ranked among the important information sources for product and process innovation. While not the only or most important influences, these events provide a unique and crucial platform to present innovations, to acquire information about changes in user needs, to collect information about changes in the market, technology and policy environment, to gather information about competitor innovations, and to search for and find problem solutions.

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Harald Bathelt and Caroline von Bernuth

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Temporary Knowledge Ecologies

The Rise of Trade Fairs in the Asia-Pacific Region

Edited by Harald Bathelt and Gang Zeng

Temporary Knowledge Ecologies investigates and theorizes the nature, rise and evolution of trade fair knowledge ecologies in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides a comprehensive overview of trade fairs in this key world region applying a comparative perspective that involves highly diverse developed and developing countries. The book identifies (i) knowledge generation and transfer processes through trade fairs, (ii) interrelationships between industrial specialization and trade fair specialization, and (iii) linkages between economic development, industrial policy and trade fair development.
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Johannes Glückler and Harald Bathelt

This chapter explores the interrelations between institutions, defined as stabilized interaction patterns, and innovation, since successful innovation rests on the design of institutional contexts and since inconsistent institutional contexts constrain or even impede successful innovation. Such situations require processes of adjusting innovations to the institutional context (robust design), circumventing resistant institutional contexts (peripheral dominance), or creating new institutional contexts that fit the innovation process (institutional entrepreneurship). The chapter criticizes studies that focus on formal legislation and regulation as indicators of national institutional variety, while neglecting institutional practices and how these also differ at the sub-national level. From a relational perspective, supportive innovation policies need to respond to geographically and temporally varying institutional contexts even within a single legal and regulatory regime. It is argued that policy needs to understand the interrelationships between institutional practices and innovation, rather than viewing rules and regulations as determinants of innovation outcomes.

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Harald Bathelt and Sebastian Henn

This chapter discusses national (NIS) and regional innovation systems (RIS) as approaches that have been successfully applied since the 1980s to describe patterns of innovation and knowledge creation within specific territorial boundaries. However, as will be argued, the relationship between both approaches has received little attention in the literature and remains under-conceptualized. To address this deficit, we utilize the notion of the ‘social system’, which describes the capability of a system to constantly reproduce itself, and conceptualize NIS as systems that are able to define the boundaries between internal and external structures and to drive and sustain distinct internal innovation dynamics. In contrast, RIS do not routinely share these characteristics, as ‘normal regions’ do not have a sufficient localized economic base and/or governance capacity to establish self-referential innovation processes. While the NIS approach is a conceptual tool to analyze and understand the nature of innovation systems at the national level, the RIS approach is better understood as a normative political device to mobilize innovation in localized contexts.

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Sebastian Henn and Harald Bathelt

This chapter discusses how transnational entrepreneurs contribute to the global transfer of knowledge and initiate regional development processes. Transnational entrepreneurs are conceptualized as one type of diaspora entrepreneur who, unlike other types of entrepreneurs, set up highly competitive firms that rely in their day-to-day business on dense linkages between two or more locations. Being part of families or closed ethnic communities, these entrepreneurs are capable of developing trust-based networks that allow for fast and low-cost knowledge exchanges and knowledge generation processes at a worldwide scale. This generates important competitive advantages compared to firms that do not have such linkages. By presenting case studies of self-employed migrants in high-technology industries (so-called New Argonauts) and in the diamond sector, this chapter demonstrates that transnational entrepreneurs are an important phenomenon in different countries and industries with varying knowledge intensities, and can be analyzed at different scales.

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Edited by Harald Bathelt and Gang Zeng