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Innovation, Growth and Social Cohesion

The Danish Model

Bengt-Åke Lundvall

Written by the scholar who, together with Chris Freeman, first introduced the concept of the innovation system, this book brings the literature an important step forward. Based upon extraordinarily rich empirical material, it shows how and why competence building and innovation are crucial for economic growth and competitiveness in the current era. It also provides a case study of a small, very successful European economy combining wealth creation with social cohesion.
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Chapter 10: Inter-firm Collaboration

The Danish Model

Bengt-Åke Lundvall


In Chapter 8 we saw how firms react to situations of increased competition by developing greater functional flexibility in their internal organization.1 The purpose of these organizational changes is to increase transformation ability and to ensure that signals from external partners are quickly converted into action. Another way of increasing the capacity for transformation and change is to forge closer ties to these partners. Well-established networking relationships make it easier to sort through and use the growing flow of external information and to use that knowledge in product development. In this chapter, we shall examine more closely the collaboration between firms in the development of new products. We base our analysis on comprehensive telephone interviews with a representative cross-section original sample of 1022 manufacturing firms. In these interviews, which were carried out in two steps, we determined which types of Danish and foreign partners firms collaborate with in connection with the development of new products. The first part of the study involved a total of 531 firms that have collaborated on product development in the last two years. The second part of the study, in which we focused on the firm’s most important development project, included 297 firms, 256 of which were also asked about their entire line of product development projects (a total of 3254 product developments). The survey should be seen on the basis of the theoretical understanding of the innovation process that was referred to in Chapter 3. This view takes into account that the innovation process...

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